Hearing it direct from consumers was a bit painful at times. Recently I was one of a few hundred real estate professionals gathered in a room to listen to four consumer panels: a panel of buyers, one of sellers, one of distressed owners/investors and one of Gen Y consumers. These homeowners, sellers, buyers and investors were honest and frank with their feedback on the real estate profession. Although I wasn’t surprised that they generally found “us” inadequate, it still hurt. I walked away with a headache and a heartache.
Here are some themes that were reoccurring among the panels. I’ve picked some of my favorite Tweets from the day to help tell the story. There was lots of Twitter activity and it makes for a great read, just do a Twitter search on #HIDOC.
1. We have to do better at meeting consumers communication needs.
2. Gen Y consumers have a very low opinion of the real estate profession.
3. Today’s consumer not only does their own online research on properties, but they research potential agents online.
4. We are past due in redefining our industries value proposition to consumers.
Why are we doing such a crappy job at meeting consumers needs in this industry? And more importantly how do we change it?
I think the “why” doesn’t matter as much as the “how”. I don’t have a tactical answer to “how” but I do know that it involves listening to consumers and responding to their needs. I do know that it involves letting go of the past and moving forward. And I do believe there are enough real estate professionals committed to the “how” to make it a reality.
I’m fortunate in that I get the opportunity to attend several real estate conferences each year. I enjoy them and always walk away having learned something. I have to share that the Hear It Direct event was one of the best conferences I’ve been to in a long time. It was so refreshing to get the opportunity to engage directly with the consumer in this type of setting. A big congrats to Sue Adler, Rob Hahn, Brandy Saldivar and team. You are all truly moving our industry in the right direction. Thank you!