Better Homes And Gardens Real Estate Unveils Groundbreaking Industry Trends Implemented By The Next Generation Of “Beta Brokerages”
Pioneering Real Estate Brand Taps into Upstart Brokerages Nationwide to Identify and Share Areas of Innovation to Benefit the Industry
PARSIPPANY, N.J. (January 17, 2013) – Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate today revealed the latest real estate best practices and innovative strategies that are core to the cultures of the next generation of Beta Brokerages. The Beta Brokerage concept, first unveiled in 2010 by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, shares case studies of entrepreneurial, unaffiliated brokers who are doing things differently in business and breaking the rules of tradition. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate continues to seek best practices to help the industry at large benefit from the dynamic thinking of these brokerages. The brand works with these company leaders to understand and share their strategies at industry events and through the brand’s Beta Brokerage Directory, which can be found online at nextgenbrokerage.com.
“Our brand values the entrepreneurial spirit and idea sharing that will drive our industry into the future,” said Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. “We salute these Beta Brokerages who challenge the status quo of real estate and value their willingness to share their revolutionary ideas so our industry as a whole can learn from them.”
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate identified five key trends from the 2012 Beta Brokerage class and updates from those spotlighted in 2010. These include: 1) New approaches to talent attraction, 2) expert sourcing for local content, 3) identifying and owning trends, 4) implementation of sophisticated marketing and social media, and 5) leveraging technologies to maximize efficiencies.
New Approaches to Talent AttractionImmersed within the ever-changing real estate paradigm, Beta Brokerages continue to build and bolster their companies in strategic ways. These organizations carefully consider how to grow their team, understanding that a business is only as good as the individuals who keep it moving in the right direction every day. They take culture fit, interpersonal skills and marketing skills very seriously, sometimes valuing these attributes over a real estate background. Talent attraction has become a much more diverse process, and quality, not quantity, is of paramount importance. While past real estate experience may be helpful in securing a job, many growing brokerages are concerned with attracting not just agents, but technologically savvy neighborhood specialists. Those with expertise within marketing, media and digital realms could all serve as integral real estate assets, coupled with the right industry training.
Expert Sourcing for Local Content Winning real estate is essentially rising above local competition. Hyper local expertise not only gains credibility with potential clients, it helps company or brand websites be more effective in capturing leads. Lane Hornung, broker at 8z Real Estate in Boulder, Colo., states, “Our whole business system is designed to have agents who know a neighborhood and who can provide value beyond the Internet. We emphasize local expertise.” Beta Brokerages are taking the local concept to heart by hiring professional writers to develop relevant, local content that is continually refreshed, thereby showing serious community commitment and engagement. This, combined with the new approach to talent attraction, is a winning combination. The content being communicated is local and the local experts hired to represent the brokerage can carry that thread through the home buying process. Leveraging outside links to local businesses and happenings differentiates Beta Brokerages from others and heightens their sense of community. Some brokerages also build and maintain close relationships with nearby media outlets to bolster web traffic and increase overall brand awareness across various channels and platforms.
Identifying and Owning Trends Every successful broker understands that “owning” certain parts, if not the majority, of the marketplace is vital to standing apart from competitors. Beta Brokerages are executing this important business strategy in new ways. The key to appealing to a consumer, and being seen as a leader, is to not only ask, “What’s next?” in terms of real estate, but in outside industries, as well. Tiffany Combs, broker at Climb Real Estate in San Francisco, Calif., forecasts trends by tracking the “Whole Foods Effect.” This means monitoring neighborhood development and knowing that building plans typically are submitted years in advance. When well-known, select retailers or a new event complex is rumored to be coming to a particular neighborhood, one knows it is on the verge of popularity. Brokers and agents can use this development insight to help determine when select neighborhoods are about to boom and plan their business strategies accordingly.
Implementation of Sophisticated Marketing and Social Media Anthony Longo, broker at the Boston, Mass.-based brokerage CondoDomain, explains, “The real estate business is becoming a media business. Listings and statistical data points are a commodity as consumers can access that information anywhere now.” Based on this notion, Beta Brokers recognize the power of digital integration and work to celebrate local institutions, cultures and people on their respective media channels. While Facebook, Twitter and blogs have been a growing part of the industry for some time; these brokerages have built out “friend-like” agent/broker profiles, focusing on selling services of its agents, not just homes. Kevin Lisota, broker at Findwell in Seattle, Wash., develops agent profiles complete with consumer reviews from sites like Yelp and Zillow, allowing consumers to become familiar with these individuals, thereby bolstering trust and credibility. Some are also offering a more personal view of agents, uploading photographs of them enjoying the local surroundings and sharing their “off-work” hobbies. The Dallaire Realty team based in Green Bay, Wis., creates and hosts a series of YouTube videos focused on local businesses, restaurants, activities and landmarks to share with clients, sparking enormous networking opportunities and further positioning their network as local experts.
Other skillful marketing tactics focus more on ad listings. Michael Meier, broker at The Meier Group in New York City pulls inspiration for story boards from fashion magazines and uses professional photographers, models, stylists and makeup artists to create specific stories that take place within luxury properties, catering to clientele in an inventive, eye-catching way. The brokerage produces videos and photos to complete ad listings tailored to select city-types, placing emphasis on living the lifestyle they are selling, as, “people associate a lifestyle with a home,” said Meier.
Leveraging Technology to Maximize EfficienciesBrokers and agents from California to New York are also adapting new technologies to make their jobs more seamless and efficient. Some focus on property searches, buyer packages and office management platforms, while others, such as Krisstina Wise, broker at The GoodLife Team in Austin, Texas, utilize third-party transaction management and e-signature platforms, as well as other forms of paperless real estate tools, like DocuSign, Cartavi and the iPad to create a single, integrated cloud-based system. These technologies and systems free up time for agents to focus on customer service instead of administrative or back-end support.
Many Beta Brokerages will run a test with a new technology, and if it does not work, will simply discontinue its use. However, if it does work, it could greatly impact the longevity of a brokerage. This approach generally works with a broker and agent network that is onboard with change and evolution.
As more brokerages are added to this expanding, influential group of Beta Brokerages, the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brand chronicles the exciting evolution taking place within the business of real estate. The 2012 class of innovative brokers, whose firms have earned distinction as Beta Brokerages, includes:
• Michael Meier, The Meier Group, New York
• Mark Mlakar and Dominic Morrocco, M Squared Realty, Washington, D.C.
• Tiffany Combs, Climb Real Estate, San Francisco
• Lane Hornung, 8z Real Estate, Boulder, Colo., and Burlingame, Calif.
• Jeff Burke, NuHabitat, Houston
• Greg Dallaire, Dallaire Realty, Green Bay, Wis.
• Jeff Martel, 43 Degrees North Real Estate, Boise, Idaho
• Phillip Cantrell, Benchmark Realty, Nashville, Tenn.
• Vanessa Bergmark, Red Oak Realty, Berkeley, Calif.
To access the complete Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Beta Brokerage directory, visit: nextgenbrokerage.com.
About Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC is a dynamic real estate brand that offers a full range of services to brokers, sales associates and home buyers and sellers. Using innovative technology, sophisticated business systems and the broad appeal of a lifestyle brand, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC embodies the future of the real estate industry while remaining grounded in the tradition of home. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC is a subsidiary of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. The growing Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate network includes approximately 8,350 sales associates and approximately 258 offices serving homebuyers and sellers in Canada and 26 U.S. states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. Better Homes and Gardens® is a registered trademark of Meredith Corporation that has been licensed to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC since 2007. The licensing agreement between Realogy and Meredith Corporation is for a 50-year term, with a renewal option for another 50 years. Each Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Franchise is independently owned and operated. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. For more information, please visit www.BHGRealEstate.com.
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