Real Estate magazine editors’ top picks for the year ahead

RISMEDIA, December 15, 2006—Gen X and Y, blogging, 2.0, niche marketing. If you’re unfamiliar with any of these terms, make haste: These are just a few of the top trends you need to know about to stay ahead of the curve in your business next year. RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine editors recently announced their top picks for 2007. Take your business to the next level with these 10 trends:

1. Technology Goes 2.0

Next year, the technology you’re already familiar with will go to the next level. Developments to Obeo’s virtual tours is a great example. Don’t like the red walls in the home you’re viewing online? Change them to warm beige with the click of a button. Hate the marble countertops in the kitchen? Change ’em to granite in a flash. Or HomeZone Technology’s new RealTourLive, allowing you to add personalized voiceovers to your virtual tours. Watch for the companies you’re already doing business with to step up their technology offerings in this manner.

2. Money Matters

Approaching consumers like financial planners, not just real estate agents, will become an increasingly important strategy, especially as consumers become more cautious about their real estate investments in a changing marketplace. Advising clients on the dollars and cents of their property transactions will increase your value and help cultivate today’s highly sought-after loyal relationship.

3. Changing the Media Message

Last month, the National Association of Realtors launched a consumer advertising campaign in major newspapers across the country to let the world know that now is still a great time to buy real estate. Realogy did the same in October. Watch for more real estate companies to follow suit to counter the anti-real estate media blitz.

4. They’re No. 1

Giving consumers what they want is a discussion that will gain steam well into the New Year…with no visible end in sight. Think beyond the traditional process and shift gears in order to meet consumer demand.

5. Training and Retraining

The only market 50% of today’s Realtors know is the hot market of recent years—not the cooler market of today. This means that brokerages will reinforce training efforts, placing a new focus on fundamentals, as well as new technologies and strategies for a changing market.

6. Lead Gen Improves

The flood of lead generation tools on the market will start to recede as the successful ones rise to the top and the not-so-successful ones fall by the wayside. Programs like FNRES’ new cyberhomes.com grab and hold the consumer’s attention with credible home valuation data, and gain trust by offering lots of transparency.

7. Blogging Builds

This year saw the rise of the blog. Blogs will continue to evolve and gain momentum as more real estate agents realize their potential. Watch for Realtors to use blogs to help brand themselves as well as grab positions as community representatives, creating Web sites that include blogs on local information—from schools and sporting events to local charities and community involvement.

8. A Generational Thing

For the first time ever, there are four generations for Realtors to service. Watch as Gens X and Y continue their strides in the homeownership arena with different needs—immediacy and techno-literacy. Develop individual marketing strategies to better target the various generational groups you’re servicing.

9. Know Your Niches

As evidenced already, niches—specifically, the Hispanic market—are growing rapidly. HUD projects the Hispanic community will account for 31% of the nation’s housing growth between 2000 and 2010, growing at four times the rate of the rest of the population.

10. Foreclosures Abound

In states such as Florida, Michigan, California and Texas, foreclosures are growing in significant numbers. Real estate investors are jumping at the chance to scoop up these homes at reduced prices. Watch in ’07 for other states to join this downward trend.

Source: Real Estate magazine, December 2006.