As a busy year comes to an end and we begin to break up the weeks with holiday events and time with family, most of us take a few moments to figure out how things went and how things could have been better. In my typical “must do better” attitude I have a short list of wishes that as an industry could help improve our clients experience as well as reduce costs and speed up transactions. There have been great improvements over the past few years and I am reminded daily of how great technology and efficiencies are playing a role in our business but we can and should always do better. So here is my Realtor Christmas Wish list for 2018 and hopefully you have a few of your own.
- Title work – If you have ever witnessed the activity at a title company you already know that this is a group of people that work very hard and are always under the gun to perform. As a title company receives a transaction and the steps to process it to closing there are so many ways they could use a hand. I wish for 2018 that more automation would be put in place to avoid human error and wasted time throughout a sale. I wish that taxing agencies, salespeople and lenders all had the ability to exchange accurate information specifically to fill forms all the way to closing. We would have less embarrassing bad HUD statements, information would all be in one sharable place and the title company would be able to reduce the manpower it takes to service a transaction. I really like automation
- Barriers to entry – When I started selling real estate I was far from qualified to help someone spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on something but it did not matter. The barrier to entry for Realtors is non-existent because our governing bodies do not exist because of great transactions but by more members. My Realtor Christmas wish for 2018 includes raising the bar for becoming a professional realtor. I think agents should be required to specialize and not cross practice in whatever field they get a lead in. Selling someone’s home and helping them buy should be a much more respected practice but until we make it less accessible the Realtor license will remain the lowest achievable profession. I say raise annual fees, create journeyman periods and have separate licenses for residential and commercial agents. It would make a huge difference as an industry.
- Change the Model – I have said it a million times “the current cubicle based model is dead” and I really mean it. Are brokers successful because their agents sell a lot of homes and have good business practice or are they successful because they charge large fees regularly while providing a small amount of services? I congratulate any business model that can confuse a 1099 employee into thinking there office is worth $1000/mo. or that printing out business cards and providing a cubicle is worth half their money. That’s just smart opportunities but its not good and it does not benefit each agent’s brand. Brokers need to look deep into their business and align with how and why the agent signs on with them and take an honest approach to improving the agent/client experience. I can only imagine the reach a 100-agent brokerage could have in changing how they operate in central Indiana but greed and complacency will most likely continue the trend.
- Legal Paper – The world has changed since we started printing documents like HUD statements and closing sheets. So why in the world so we still use Legal Form to share documents? Today many if not most agents have the ability and do print from home computers or small office units and rarely do they print legal. The first thing missing is the agent commission section as well as lots of other potentially important information. It’s also a hassle for “mail out” closings, which I do a lot of. Clients have a hard time printing docs to take to a notary for signing. Its time to change this and use what everyone else is using. I especially would like to know that the only part I am involved in a closing statement (my commission) could be printed for my records.
I am pretty sure I am not alone on alot of these and know that people work very hard to provide some great services to us every day. But, just like in my business there are always ways to improve and why no just make the change and eat the hassle it is to get there. We are a huge organization with tons of resources and a few little changes happening in 2018 would help keep us relevant and better serving those that depends on us.
Curt has been in the Indianapolis Real Estate business for over 10 years and spent his first years learning all aspects of commercial management and brokerage. He has had great success in managing existing commercial projects and new retail and office developments. Curt specializes in building owner representation and purchases in the Westfield Indiana market as well throughout the Indianapolis Metro area. Curt is passionate about growing the local Westfield community and in his free time volunteers with Westfield Youth Assistance and raising 2 children with his wife Jennifer.