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Real estate leaders who are making it big in the competitive industry of real estate. If you want to learn about the nitty-gritty of the housing market, learn from the movers and shakers of the industry, learn from the most influential real estate leaders.
A lot has changed since 2008 in the real estate market. Extensive use of technology, shifting business models, changing seller and buyer expectations, are the trends redefining the commercial and residential real estate market today. Technology has caused a tectonic shift in how Americans buy and sell real estate. According to a 2017 report by National Association of Realtors, 99 percent millennials search online to get information about homes and home buying, followed by 89 percent of older boomers and 77 percent of the silent generation.
Home-buying is a task that baffles everyone, especially the first time buyers. Though prior online research instigates confidence in buyers, finding a house is a far cry from closing a deal with the home owner/seller. A real estate leader is the linchpin in this intimidating territory. Real estate leaders today are backed by technology which has helped make the daunting task of home-buying a lot simpler and streamlined.
In this interview with Jeffrey Detwiler – President and CEO – Long & Foster Companies and one of the most influential real estate leaders in North America, gives us insights into how the Real Estate market had evolved in the technological landscape.
Jeff Detwiler is a protean real estate leader who along with guiding the strategic direction of Long & Foster, also oversees other enterprise functions like marketing, human resources, information services, and finance.
Industry Leaders Magazine: Since you began your career in real estate/financial services and currently serving as the president of Long & Foster Companies, how would you say has the real estate market evolved?
Jeff Detwiler: The real estate market has seen tremendous shifts in the 10 years that I’ve worked at The Long & Foster Companies.
As technology has simplified the process of shopping for a home, the role of the real estate agent has evolved. Today, a Realtor does so much more than simply show and sell properties. They serve as trusted advisors and pricing strategists, guiding their clients on how to maximize the return on their housing investments. They’re also practiced negotiators and contract experts, helping ensure their buyers and sellers are protected throughout what’s often the most expensive transaction in their lives. They guide their clients through every step of a property transaction, making sure it’s a seamless and convenient process for them.
The brokerage’s role in supporting its agents and their clients also has progressed over the years. The services and backing real estate firms now offer our associates are more expansive and sophisticated. At Long & Foster, for example, we became a part owner of MoxiWorks, a Seattle-based tech company, about five years ago. That move enabled us to continually provide our agents with the best and most innovative solutions to build their businesses.
The competitive landscape has also transformed in recent years. More and more brokerages are getting acquired by larger firms. As this consolidation continues, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for smaller and mid-sized firms to compete.
Industry Leaders Magazine: While more companies everyday are adopting various technologies to deliver their real-estate services, you are championing ‘personal-based services’. Your reasons for this?
Jeff Detwiler: We’re strong advocates for technology and innovation. They add value to our agents and enable them to deliver an even better customer experience.
Buying and selling a house has a ton of moving parts, and today, most consumers want convenience and ease of delivery. Meeting those expectations requires an exceptional level of personal service, supplemented and automated by technology. People want to do business with other people, especially those who have the backing of strong technology.
We recognize that and strategically invest in tech resources and align ourselves with innovative companies that help our associates in better supporting their clients.
Industry Leaders Magazine: What is the current trend in the real estate market? Which cities are attracting the most property buyers?
Jeff Detwiler: It’s the era of urbanization. Consumers are moving from rural areas and suburbs to the cities. They’re looking for walkability and downtown living—convenience to the places they work and play. It’s not just millennials either. Boomers, too, are headed to urban areas, often in search of one-level condo living.
As the urban movement has grown, the suburbs have seen a rise in the number of “town centers.” These mixed-use communities create a city-like experience, with residential, retail and commercial development in a single location. It brings the same convenience and quality of life that consumers are looking for, now in the suburbs.
Cities like Richmond and Raleigh—sometimes considered second-tier cities, are gaining in popularity amongst buyers. They offer more affordable housing, growing job opportunities and an urban lifestyle—often without as large of a population and congestion as the so-called first-tier cities.
Industry Leaders Magazine: What future milestones do you have in mind for Long & Foster?
Jeff Detwiler: We’re in the business of relationships and as such, we’re committed to creating customers for life. We do that by offering an all-inclusive experience, providing all the real estate services that a consumer might need through our family of real estate and financial services companies. Because of that, our associates and their clients have access to entities that provide mortgage, title, insurance, relocation and property management, among other real estate and financial services.
As we look toward the future, we’ll continually grow those offerings. Just this past spring, we opened Tailored Move, a residential moving and storage company, further streamlining the home-buying and selling process for our clients. Plus our all-inclusive approach is backed by unparalleled financial strength, as we are part of the Berkshire Hathaway affiliate HomeServices of America.