Inman Real Estate Connect 2013 Recap
Recently Christy Oliver, one of our project managers, attended the Inman Real Estate Connect Conference in San Francisco. Below she shares her thoughts on the conference and how customers, agents and brokerages are more empowered through the use of technology. Enjoy!
The backdrop of historical homes and landmarks for a cutting edge real estate technology conference was the perfect setting for the 2013 Inman RE Connect Conference in San Francisco. Watching presentation after presentation on the newest, flashiest technology, it struck me that we are using technology in its infancy to sell homes that are hundreds of years old, in an industry that is just as established. But as we discussed the nitty-gritty details of how we would actually use the technology to sell the homes, it became apparent how the tried and true aspects of real estate sales were still just as important if not more so.
The conference reiterated the message from our conference last year by kicking off with a theme of empowerment and how empowered the agent, the broker and the buyer are thanks to new technology. I especially enjoyed a panel of recent homebuyers, ranging from first time buyers to investment buyers. They did not appear to be briefed in any way on what they were going to be asked and candidly answered questions from “How did you start your home search?” to “Where did you find your Agent?”
The buyers clearly felt very in control. They wanted to be contacted when they were ready and not sooner. They wanted to use their phone and their computer to find their home and didn’t feel they needed much help until later in the process. I was excited to hear that all of them saw huge value in real estate apps and specifically mentioned the functionality our app offers, including map view and scope search. The buyers also expressed the importance of hearing back immediately, and of being able to communicate through a number of means including text, phone and email. Most importantly, the buyers wanted to feel important as they made such a large investment.
The rest of day one and day two focused heavily on new technology. We learned that disruption was the new normal. That constantly changing technology is something to expect, not be surprised by. Although technology was the focus, the importance of relationships and community knowledge came up in almost every presentation.
One of my favorite examples of this was Richard Silver from Sotheby’s Toronto. He creates beautiful, high production videos for each of his communities. He explained how videos help build trust and tell stories to separate you from others in your market. The videos rely on the technology of YouTube and high-res video, but the enjoyment of watching them comes from his narration that fully conveys his knowledge and love of where he works. This is one of my favorite videos he created:
Day three closed out the conference on a global level. As technology brings us closer together with buyers all over the world, it is important to start seeing the potential worldwide clientele. Our very own Chuck Garrett from Kahala Associates took the stage to discuss the Asian consumer with a panel of experts.
Again there was a heavy mix of old and new. Agents used technology like Google Translate to speak with buyers from other countries, but they stressed the impact of cultural differences and small formalities such as how you handle a business card being of huge importance.
Attending Inman Connect reminded me of the importance of connecting with new people and new ideas. It also reignited my excitement for what’s coming next in this industry that has changed so much already!