The Rules of Real Estate are Changing - Are You Ready for 2017?

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No one likes to hear excessive negativity about their business models or their industries as a whole, but in some cases there is real value in identifying and assessing the negative game-changers that could potentially impact an industry. This is what the National Association of REALTORS® and long-time real estate expert Stefan Swanepoel had in mind when they created the latest edition of The D.A.N.G.E.R. Report. For the exercise, they uncovered, researched, and indexed the potential threats that could impact the residential real estate industry.

The D.A.N.G.E.R. Report, which is available online at, breaks down the key issues impacting agents, brokers, the NAR, state and local associations, and the Multiple Listing Services.

Rising Above the “Dangers”

Asked to share his thoughts on what agents and brokers can be doing to offset some or all of the issues outlined in the D.A.N.G.E.R. report, Swanepoel shared some good news: Brokers and agents won’t disappear, but the business flow and processes will be rearranged. “To avoid being a casualty you need to not be near the bottom two quartiles. As a matter of fact you should be in the top 20% of successful brokers and producing agents,” he notes.

So how you do that? According to Swanepoel, it takes a commitment to do something better than your competitors can. “Be the best listing agent, use technology exceptionally well, have the most unique brand awareness in the neighborhood, convert more online leads than anyone, and soon,” says Swanepoel. “Agents aren’t going away; the rules are simply changing.”

In some cases, the threats outlined in the report can actually present opportunities for enterprising brokers and agents. If your market is saturated with uninitiated agents who don’t understand the business, for example, sign up for a few continuing education or certification courses and then prominently display those credentials on your website and marketing materials. “Make a plan,” says Swanepoel, “and figure out how to use the momentum of change to implement something new.”

According to Swanepoel, most brokers and agents are looking for magical solutions to their biggest challenges. These days, many are turning to technology for help—a strategy that finds many real estate professionals wasting precious time and dollars on the “next best thing,” only to have it fail to meet expectations. “REALTORS® will buy a product and roll it out quickly without even reading all of the manuals,” he says. “Then, they wonder why it doesn’t work out.”

To avoid this trap, Swanepoel tells agents to focus on the efficient and effective implementation of the technology, and not on the device, software, or application itself. Slow down, he advises, understand what you’re buying and why, figure out how it will enhance or support your business strategy, and then take the necessary time to fully implement it. “Stop looking for the quick fix,” Swanepoel adds, “and learn how to implement and maximize your investment.”

Finally, Swanepoel says it’s important to remember that the threat is not the danger in and of itself. In some cases, in fact, the threats outlined in this recent report can actually present opportunities for enterprising brokers and agents who want to buck the trends. “What you need to do is learn to ride the wave of change. To do that, you need to act, and act profoundly,” says Swanepoel, who advises REALTORS® to: “Make a plan on how you can use the momentum of change so you can implement something new.”

About the Author:

Bridget McCrea

Bridget McCrea is a freelance writer who has been covering real estate, technology, and education since 1996. She can be reached at


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