Covering everything from the complex technical aspects of the new MLS changes to the power of women’s leadership in the industry, RISMedia’s all-star lineup of trendsetters and influencers at RISMedia’s Real Estate Rocking in the New Year wasted no time in delving into the most pertinent questions facing real estate professionals in 2022, providing a road map and plenty of poignant advice to guide a successful path through the new year.
“Our collective goal is to help all of you enter 2022 better equipped to tackle today’s issues and help you improve your value proposition,” said John Featherston, RISMedia’s Founder, CEO & Publisher. “Buyers and sellers need your services now more than ever to achieve their real estate goals and objectives. We hope today helps you start off your year stronger than ever before.”
In the wake of the global upheaval over the past couple years, mapping out the increasingly unknown challenges of 2022 seemed more important than ever, and panelists started off with goals and predictions for what the next 12 months will bring, as the industry hopes to see the continuation of a strong housing market, along with accelerating trends around technology and equity.
Chief Economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, Lawrence Yun, laid out a scenario where pandemic-driven demand and rising rents would offset other macroeconomic impediments, resulting in a relatively strong real estate market.
“There is an eagerness for home buying especially in a rising-rent situation, and REALTORS®, you should be positioned to help out,” he said.
Sue Yannacone, President & CEO of Realogy Franchises, said the industry should focus on the “growth opportunities” that materialized during the pandemic, both in the realm of technology as well as geographically and demographically.
“Millennials are really finally en masse entering the home buying age, if you will,” Yannacone pointed out. “And the transfer of wealth that we’ve been talking about for quite some time now is beginning to occur. You couple that with the fact that we have people rethinking their lifestyle and rethinking what home means to them… companies continuing to allow work-from-home, work-from-anywhere policies are all going to continue to fuel the demand that we’re seeing.”
With consumers seeing the possibilities in digital closing, virtual tours and speedier transactions, Yannacone urged the thousands of people streaming the event to lean into the changes, and find more ways to augment their services with tech “in a way that helps us engage with our consumer more.”
She also highlighted disparities in home ownership for Black and Hispanic families, saying that REALTORS® can make a difference here.
“We have an opportunity to serve these communities better, and it’s a real ongoing priority for me and I’m sure for many,” she said.
Though billed as an opening overview of the larger “Rocking in the New Year” event, experts had a chance to get into the weeds on a couple key issues. Candace Adams, President & CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties/Westchester Properties/New York Properties/Hudson Valley Properties, moderated a powerful discussion on the state of women’s leadership, with participants seeing both progress and new pitfalls appearing in the last couple years.
“I think a lot of what the pandemic did was accelerate a change,” said Cory Vasquez, chief marketing officer for Realty ONE Group. “I think that we saw some strength that women bring to the table really contribute to helping people through job changes, work changes, schools changes, life changes. Women tend to be resilient; we love to self-develop.”
Broadly, panelists generally agreed that women had seen more opportunities at the high leadership levels than in year’s past, fueled by changing attitudes and priorities. Flexibility, empathy, multitasking and resilience were all qualities that allowed women to rise to the top during the pandemic, and which many companies and organizations could benefit from, they said.
“There are numerous research studies that show women are better leaders especially in a crisis, which is what we are dealing with the last couple years,” said Tina Lapp, President of Colibri Real Estate.
At the same time, women have fallen out of the broader workforce much faster than men and have often been asked to multitask with things like remote schooling. Michelle Harrington, CEO & Broker of Record for First Team Real Estate, pointed out the pandemic significantly hampered efforts to achieve gender equality, with the World Economic Forum predicting it would take 30 more years to reach this goal due to Covid.
At the same time, Harrington urged women to let their own abilities and talents shine and show the world what they can do, rather than waiting around for government action.
“You really need to believe in yourself. Women are awesome. We don’t need affirmative action, we don’t need someone to appoint us to a board because a law says it,” she said.
“Don’t try to be a man, we’re not men. We can do things our own way,” Adams affirmed. “And that’s a shift from maybe a decade ago.”
A second panel sank its teeth into an important regulatory and technical issue—the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Vice President of MLS & Industry Relations for HomeServices of America, Jon Coile detailed a half-dozen recent policy changes likely to affect brokerages, as well as previewed a new environment for MLS owners and users in 2022.
“We should be treating organized real estate as if it were part of the solution—we’re all in this together,” he said.
Statewide standards for MLSs are currently being considered in the industry, he said, and MLSs are now required to tweak their attribution and provide back-office feeds for brokerages.
Rebecca Jensen, President & CEO of Midwest Real Estate Data added that an overall standardization and collaborative attitude, lauding large MLSs and group efforts by smaller ones to invest in technology and share best practices.
“When we’re talking about a shift in both the business model and the money, I think you’re going to see that not just in the brokerage community but in the MLS community,” Jensen predicted. “We’ve talked about consolidation of MLSs for years now, but now it is consolidation of services, and it is teaming up with different industry players to really deliver what it is that different brokerages need.”
Across the broader landscape of things likely to affect the industry, President of the Houston Association of REALTORS®, Bob Hale called out climate change as something “affecting everything from California to Florida to Texas to Kentucky.”
Also, Executive Director of the Real Estate Services Providers Council Ken Trepeta, looked at regulatory action coming from the Biden administration. “I think we’re going to see activity out of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Housing and Urban Development,” he said “There is going to be a lot of focus on fair housing, fair lending.”
Regardless of all the unknowns and possibilities, staying up to date with news and developments will certainly remain vital, as 2022 promises to offer just as much change and challenge as last year.
Missed the event? Replays including every panel and expert interview are available here.
Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to [email protected].