Here are 10 ways you can stay relevant in today’s market and beyond.

I’m going to be brutally honest about something: I think the future is bleak for the vast majority of real estate agents. I believe roughly 80% of Realtors will be extinct in a decade or less because most of them fail at two fundamental tasks. The first is properly educating themselves on the skills needed to provide clients with real, tangible value. The second is effectively articulating this value to the marketplace. 

The grinders who pull themselves up by the bootstraps in today’s market will have the opportunity to adapt, pivot, and succeed again in this dystopian real estate world of artificial intelligence, big data, virtual reality, and smart contracts. The key is to embrace change, not ignore it. What will the real estate profession look like throughout the next decade? How do we stay relevant through so much change? 

To answer this question, we must think ahead and analyze the gaps. Which advantages do we humans have over artificial intelligence? It’s the intangibles, or the hard-to-quantify skills and expertise that a machine can’t replicate—at least not yet. As the saying goes, “In the information era, we’re long on information but short on expertise.” Here are 10 ways to build your expertise and stay relevant in today’s data-driven real estate market:

1. Improve your negotiation skills. Many agents have major skill gaps in negotiation. All the data and smart contracts in the world won’t help clients negotiate great deals. This requires proficiency and intuition that can only be developed by a human mind through face-to-face interaction. Take courses, read books (such as “Never Split the Difference”), and commit to negotiating in person, or at least via video conference. 

2. Provide solutions and foster an awareness of creative strategies that can solve your clients’ problems. If your client needs an instant offer, you should have investors waiting. If they’re underwater facing a huge mortgage penalty, you should know right away that the best course of action is an agreement for sale with a delayed closing. If they need to get out from under a big mortgage in a tough market, you should consult them on how to structure trade deals or lease options. 

3. Be able to see hidden potential or latent value in properties, and then have the expertise to know how to maximize its value. Nothing beats your personal experience, so start eating your own cooking: Buy a house and gain valuable first-hand experience you can pass on.

4. Understand construction. Be able to renovate a property in your mind’s eye and be good at explaining the pricing and options available to your clients so you can customize a diamond in the rough on the fly. Know the mortgage programs available to them so they can finance it, and have a construction team at the ready to execute any changes. 

“The key is to embrace change, not ignore it.”

5. Understand and guide people through the intricacies of subdividing or developing properties. With land values on the rise, these skills will only become more relevant in tomorrow’s real estate market. 

6. Speak the language of and build the skills needed to work with investors, and then curate the best opportunities. Having a huge list of investors you send hot deals to will provide huge value to them and make sales for you. Be able to analyze and then create property performance for investors. If you’re new to this, join a local real estate investment network and read books like Gary Keller’s “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent.” 

7. Understand data analysis. Know how to read market drivers and indicators so you can guide your clients into making smarter real estate decisions and staying ahead of the curve. Take this information and create infographics that educate your client and position yourself as an authority in your community. 

8. Be a one-stop shop for your clients. In other words, become a hub with a professional network that can move a deal from start to finish in five-star fashion. Having service providers and contractors who will bend over backwards for your clients because you’re their golden goose is of massive value. 

9. Become the opposite of a generalist (i.e., super niche). Be the local expert on pet-friendly condos, or the go-to gal for short-term rental properties, or specialize in vineyard estate properties. Either way, get very niche and own that demand. 

10. Bring humanity to the transaction. Be an amazing communicator. Befriend your clients and then create fun and exceptional opportunities for them. Be the literal opposite of the robo-Realtor that all these prop tech companies are in an arms race to build. People crave human connection and a trusted advisor now more than ever before. 

If you’d like to talk more about this topic, or there’s anything else I can help you with, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to speak with you.

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