Coast to Coast: Tomorrow's Salespeople Will Be More Career and Technology Oriented

January 1, 1996

A new study of trend predictions for the residential real estate industry over the next five years reinforces some commonly held perceptions--there'll be fewer salespeople and more intensive use of technology by the year 2000.

The study, Trends '95 and Beyond, conducted by the real estate consulting and training firm Abelson & Co., College Station, Texas, asked hundreds of industry experts across the country for their opinion on 210 industry trends in eight categories. Half of the respondents were heads of national franchises, large regional independent companies, or small companies. The other half were brokers with the CRB designation, randomly selected by the Real Estate Brokerage Managers Council.

One frequent prediction is that salespeople will become more professional, viewing real estate more as a career and not just as additional income. The respondents rated this as the tenth most dominant trend in the salesperson category for 1995 but said it would rise to the number two trend by the year 2000. Also, salespeople will increasingly see what they do as a business in which they're willing to invest their own money.

"The residential real estate industry is seeing a maturing of its workforce," says Michael Abelson, president of Abelson & Co. and a faculty member of the management department at Texas A&M University. Our study shows a deep belief by the industry that salespeople in the year 2000 will be more serious, more willing to accept responsibility for their actions, and more committed to succeed."

Two Other Major Trends

Technology will play a dramatic role in changes over the next five years. Technology will contribute to the downsizing of the industry. It will increase sales associate efficiency, enabling fewer salespeople to sell more. Technology will also allow companies to offer more services to both sales associates and consumers.

Industry experts see the broker buying less hardware and software as the more professional and career-oriented sales associate assumes such responsibilities as a cost of doing business. In fact, experts see the salesperson spending less on personal marketing and more on technology as the year 2000 approaches, Abelson says.

The real estate companies themselves will be different. Companies will be leaner and more cost-effective as they continue to consolidate and merge offices. Companies will also provide one-stop shopping for everything from locating a home to offering mortgage, title, closing, and moving services. Offices of the future will market themselves as all-encompassing "relocation specialists."

"Just as supermarkets led to the decline of the corner grocery store," says Abelson, "so will the real estate company of the future jeopardize the existence of the corner real estate office as we know it today."


Six trends that experienced real estate professionals see increasing in importance over the next five years.

  1. Sales associates see real estate more as a career and not just additional income.
  2. Greater need for salespeople to financially invest in their business.
  3. Real estate companies consolidate, merging offices within their company.
  4. One-stop mortgage, title, and closing services.
  5. Technology leads to less need for real estate sales associates.
  6. Technology results in more and different customer services.

Source: Abelson & Co., 1995

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