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"Professional Tools for the Future"

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Sharon Millett Photo
6/4/99 Interview with Sharon Millett

National Association of REALTORS®
155 Center Street, Building B
Auburn, ME 04274

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Initiation to Cyber Technology

  1. Millett came to technology out of need - she realized that long-term survival in the Real Estate industry will require technological knowhow; every facet of the Real Estate business is being changed by technology.
  2. All 30 Agents in her office have a computer and use standard software - email and Agent-productivity software are basic; the decision to network has moved all the Agents forward.
  3. The trend to connectivity is a threat to those who ignore it; technology is an opportunity for Realtors because the industry is responding so strongly in moving forward with it.
  4. The critical first step for Real Estate as an industry was the decision to control real property ads on the Web instead of allowing outside forces to take the lead; the next step will be e-transactions.
  5. As technology changes, there will constantly be new threats and new opportunities, but organized Real Estate has made the commitment to be a continuing player in controlling the destiny of the industry.
Progression of Internet Transactions

  1. Real Estate is just at the cusp between having transactions initiated on the Internet and having them be totally trackable via the Net; mortgage origination has been the first piece to be fully automated.
  2. The real future lies in the e-transaction going from multiple listing all the way through to closure; when a property goes under contract, the system must be allowed to let all the other players access the information.
  3. E-transactions will be the focus of the Spring NAR meeting of directors in Washington, DC; NAR is committed to Realtors managing the e-transaction and preserving their central role.
The Importance of

  1. set a critical precedent for the industry's proactive response to technology - Realtors would control the public's access to information by making property listings freely available on the professional site.
  2. The success of the site is a testament to the cooperation of the Real Estate industry as a whole; should maintain its position as long as Realtors remain united in their support.
  3. A lesson should be learned from other industries that have lost their position because they allowed outsiders to take their information; Realtors are the first contact with the consumer, and the NAR is committed to keeping that position.
  4. 85% of all Real Estate transactions are done through Real Estate brokers - a constant figure for a long time; probably 90% of those brokers are NAR members.
  5. Because the Multiple Listing Services came on board with Real Select to support, 95% of all the residential property listed for sale in the US is posted on - 1.25 million homes.
More from NAR for the Commercial Side

  1. CommercialSource was intended to be a portal site to link all commercial resources on the Internet; how best to expand its function has been under study and will be discussed at the Washington NAR meetings.
  2. One challenge is to get the depth and breadth of Commercial listings that Real Select has amassed for Residential without the benefit of Multiple Lists.
  3. Another challenge is to define the audience for a Commercial site; whether the answer is the consumer, the Real Estate professional or both impacts the business model.
Adapting to the Needs of the Market

  1. Brad Inman's new site HomeGain is the first to cater to home sellers; if the venture succeeds, it will funnel a piece of the market.
  2. Expectations for the industry are fluid; two years ago, predictions were that Realtors "would be toast" and become obsolete, but now, prognosticators say that Real Estate professionals will always be around even though their role and the commission structure may change.
  3. The concept behind Inman's site is to get Brokers to pay to join a system - possibly to present their ability to get the sales job done and/or to bid on how low they would take a listing.
International Opportunity

  1. The Internet is causing geographical limitations on doing business to fall and is actually driving the trend toward a global Real Estate market.
  2. The NAR has bilateral agreements with over 40 countries; in April, the NAR signed an agreement with CEPI, an umbrella organization of all the European Real Estate organizations.
  3. The top priority is how to use technology to open foreign marketplaces to NAR members and US buyers and to introduce foreign Real Estate pros and buyers to US markets; the Internet and relationships between Realtor organizations are central.
  4. The willingness of the NAR to double its international budget for 1999-2000 is a clear sign that business benefits for members and financial rewards are imminent. 5. Good sites for international information include the U of Denver Global Real Estate Project and the CIA page; automatic translation sites already break language barriers.
Professional Tools for the Future

  1. Business use of email will become advanced; sending contracts and doing transactions will be routine.
  2. Band width will become available at reasonable cost, so more people will have effective email capability.
  3. Digital photography, though a challenge to set up, gives a huge payoff.
  4. Anecdotal information indicates that Internet transactions are becoming more common; surveys show that consumers are going to the Internet for information before going to professionals.
The Need for Human Interaction

  1. Real Estate is not a business that can be easily done with no human contact; technology augments contact rather than replacing it.
  2. Every Residential and Commercial property is unique, and every buyer's needs are different; consequently, personal interaction remains important.
  3. Because of the Internet, by the time consumers come to Realtors, they are ready to begin making decisions; Realtors can get right into their role of helping the consumer turn information into knowledge.
The Consequence of Technology

Technology will elevate the profession of selling Real Estate; there will be fewer practitioners, but they will be prepared to meet the increasing demands of better-informed consumers.

Contact Information for Sharon Millett:

(v) 207-782-8311
(f) 207-782-2232

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

NAR Residential
NAR Commercial
Brad Inman's HomeGain
U of Denver's Global Real Estate Project:
Automatic Translations