What Your Broker Is Worried About

January 16, 2018

The nation’s real estate brokers have a lot of pressing issues on their minds, from how to deal with the lack of inventory to recruiting and profitability concerns, according to a new survey by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and RISMedia. The two teamed up to survey more than 400 real estate brokerages and 13,000 agents to find out what concerns them the most.

Researchers found that the top three “most pressing issues facing the industry” were the lack of inventory, recruiting, and nontraditional competition.

Researchers posed a question for brokers: “What keeps you up at night the most?” The top answer among respondents was recruiting more agents. They also mentioned threats from new business models, the uncertain economy, keeping up with technology, the lack of inventory, and housing legislation issues. In the “other” category, some real estate brokers also mentioned concerns like staying relevant to agents, inspection repairs, lack of agent experience, builders and owners reaching buyers directly, and lead generation.

Researchers asked how inventory challenges should be addressed. The top response was to “increase the percentage of new home construction,” followed by “better education of clients on rent versus buy and the view of current inventory,” “motivating agents to be more proactive with lead generation,” “reevaluation of local zoning and permit laws,” “changes to the tax structure,” “reevaluation of national housing regulations,” and “creative solutions such as manufacture housing.”

The results for the top threats to profitability included the lack of inventory, increasing agent productivity, and the pressure on commissions. Some brokers reported “other” concerns in this category, such as too many real estate agents, lead generation, and noting the “declining market without increase in sales volume on top of rising labor costs.”

On the topic of budgeting, brokers said online marketing and technology were some of their top investments. They also said they budget in administrative, office expenses, labor, rent occupancy, advertising, recruiting, and training.

Despite some concerns, the majority of brokers expressed confidence in the future of the housing industry. Fifty-seven percent of brokers said they were “optimistic,” followed by 20 percent who say they have a high confidence level; 20 percent who were neutral; and only 3 percent who said they have a low confidence level in the housing industry.

“I have been fortunate to be in the real estate industry for more than thirty years. Our industry has undergone far-reaching and important evolution in that time: from being broker-centric, to agent-driven, to consumer-centric, and now to being consumer data-driven,” says Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. “Transformational change is a given in any dynamic industry. Our best advice to broker/owners has always been to stay focused on the aspects of their brokerages that contribute to a singular goal: creating a valuable asset. Strategies vary by company. Competitive pressure varies by market. But some things are universal: consumers will always seek exceptional service. Agents will thrive in values-driven, collaborative environments.”

Source: “Survey Results: What Keeps Brokers Up at Night?” RISMedia (Jan. 15, 2018)