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"The Futurist Looks at Technology!"

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John Tuccillo Photo
6/4/04 Interview with John Tuccillo

PO Box 7487
Arlington, VA 22207

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What Consumers Want from RE Pros

  1. The four parts of the consumer value proposition are time, stress, convenience and service; agents should work to cut down the time and stress between contract and closing for the consumer.
  2. Consumers clearly prefer one-stop shopping and are becoming used to world-class service;agents have to match those expectations.
Criteria for Success

  1. Agents need to invest in themselves with revenue from their business to learn technology, customer relationship management, etc.; the very topagents spend inordinately more on education/training than average agents.
  2. The ability to delegate makes the intensive real estate work load manageable; the best agents break the transaction down and delegate to assistants or associates; they operate as teams or firms within firms.
  3. The ability to get listings is golden; demographics indicate that listings will continue to be scarce; specializing as a seller's agent can be lucrative.
  4. An agent must be really good representing buyers to be highly successful in that specialty; many buyers are chasing relatively few properties.
  5. Outgoing people-persons may tend toward the buy side, while more analytical types may fit better on the listing side.
Pricing Systems

  1. More agents are trying to implement fee-for-service compensation systems rather than straight commission or a fixed fee.
  2. This approach will probably never be a majority practice but is beginning to show up in various parts of the country and is likely to become significant.
  3. Agents earn their money between contract and closing, not between search and contract; the new compensation experiments focus on services for managing the transaction to completion in contrast to Help-U-Sell organizations that are focused on the front end (MLS listing, signage, ads).
The Role of Technology

  1. In order to add value, agents need a setup to move transactions along smoothly and quickly; beyond front-end technology tools such as TopProducer, agents need back-end support.
  2. Agents should be learning, implementing and relying on transaction management tools; agents should look for a brokerage company whose tools actually save them and consumers time.
  3. As a prime example, a Web-based system that allows consumers access to track their own transactions (due dates, what steps are complete, snags) saves both agent and consumer communication time.
  4. The Society provides Settlement Room Express to members for free to answer this need for a transaction platform tool.
Brokerage as a Business

  1. Changes and pressures in the real estate industry make it difficult now to generate enough revenue from traditional brokerage services alone.
  2. The big players benefit from high volume; even they have had to restructure to increase dollars-per-transaction (e.g. often assessing new fees).
  3. Alternatives are to remain very small and function as an agent as well as a broker or to diversify into collateral businesses.
  4. Many large real estate firms are taking on a corporate form with as many as six or eight divisions that may include mortgage, insurance, new-home sales, title, inspection, closing services, land development, etc.
  5. This move to corporate form is the emerging trend for brokers; management with strong business training is coming into the industry.
Recruiting Tips for Brokers

  1. There is a huge burst of new real estate licensees; NAR has now gone over1 million members; however, the average age for an agent is still 53 (a babyboomer with a strong commitment and involvement with work) compared to 34 for a first-time buyer.
  2. Priorities of the new wave of agents include nights and weekends off and good benefits; brokers need a package and a new way of doing things to attract new, young agents.
  3. Brokers should become active at the high school and college level to make known the advantages of the real estate profession; it is rewarding, lucrative and doable within the context of one's own preferences.
How to Expose Listings

  1. Use every outlet available; the fiduciary responsibility of the broker is to broadcast sellers' properties as widely as possible.
  2. Choose media appropriate to the property; if the property is high-end, be lavish in advertising in specialty magazines that potential buyers read.
  3. Forge an alliance with local newspapers, which are moving into a technological mode; many offer multimedia packages; newspaper web sites are becoming sophisticated and effective as vehicles for exposing listings.
  4. For most properties, advertising locally is usually best; national sites are good but suffer from time lag; to be current electronically, you need tobe a real time information provider in your local market.
  5. Using print advertising to drive buyers to information online can be powerful; however, be sure that the web site is easily navigable and filled with information; aim to make the site inspiring.
Web Site Power

  1. Top RE pros such as Manhattan agent Barbara Corcoran are finding that an increasing percentage of business comes to them from their web sites; even a few years ago, Barbara's average web-related sale exceeded $1 million; a testament to the caliber of online consumers.
  2. Especially with resort areas and high-end properties, large percentages of residential business (upwards of 25%) come via the Web; many transactions are closed without the agent ever meeting the buyer; the commercial side is experiencing the same phenomenon.
Favorite Web Resources

  1. Goggle remains the premier search site.
  2. Great newspaper real estate sites include the AtlantaJournal-Constitution site and others done by Morris Digital Works; resortsites are also examples of what is cutting edge.
Check of Previous Predictions

  1. The future remains optimistic for the real estate market out to 2008­2009 based on strong demographics feeding demand; interest rates will probably rise but not skyrocket.
  2. Real estate businesses will continue to consolidate and rely more on technology to process transactions.
  3. Brokers have gained a slight edge over agents in control because of developments such as IDX and the emergence of the Internet, which require funding.
  4. Good agents have become much more productive over the last three years, but marginal agents have not yet dropped out; about half of the 1 million REALTORS® are not making enough money to justify remaining in the business; the top 5% are earning into seven figures annually.
Contact Information for John Tuccillo:

(v) 703-629-0770

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Morris Digital Works
Atlantic Journal-Constitution RE site
From ERNIE BRESCIA . . .Realty Times
Century 21
Century 21 corporate intranet
RealNet Learning Services / Sweathogs program

Resources for distance learning: