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Trends Causing Fundamental Shift for REALTORS®
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Aliso Viejo, CA, May 16 th, 2005 – “The real estate brokerage industry has undergone more change during the last 10 years (1995 – 2005) than the preceding 40 years,” says RealSure's Swanepoel, “but there is more – much more to come.”

That was the opening salvo message from industry visionary and trend watcher Stefan Swanepoel at the NAR mid-year meetings in Washington DC last week. Swanepoel, a 10 time real estate author, dazzled REALTORS® with a fast paced, content rich presentation that counted down the top 20 current Business Trends that have had the largest influence on shaping and changing the life of real estate brokers and agents.

Numerous general business trends affecting many industries such as “Globalization” (#20); “The Re-Definition of Advertising” (#17); “Partnerships” (#16); and “The Growing Impact of Minorities” (#6) were discussed. Also evident from Swanepoel’s list of Top 20 Trends is the huge impact technology has made over the past decade and continues to make on the life of REALTORS®. His first reference to technology was “The Growing Responsibility and Need to Protect Personal Data” (#19). This was followed by “Virtual Outsourcing” (#15), “the Power of e-Business” (#11), “The Reincarnation of Transaction Management Systems” (#5), “The Reincarnation of MLS Services” (#4) and “The Convergence of Technology and Communication Devices” (#3).

Business Trends in real estate are frequently the driving force that causes the market to shift and change direction. For example, the strong surge in technology has created many new companies in the real estate industry. Many of them have become household names and have gone public in a few short years. Companies that were cited as examples were HomeStore (parent for and HomeGain.

"We study Trends, not people or companies" said Swanepoel. "Trends are often interwoven with one another," said Swanepoel, "therefore, different technology trends may frequently cause a shift in a paradigm, thereby allowing the evolution of another related new trend." His presentation also covered many industry specific trends that are leaving their mark on the industry through a variety of leading and well known national brands. This included trends such as “The Rebirth of Franchising” (#14). Here Swanepoel discussed the successes of early adopters such as Century 21 and REMAX, late bloomers such as Keller Williams, initial resisters such as Weichert Real Estate and newcomers such as EXIT Realty. Swanepoel also discussed “Bundled Services” (#13), which is often referred to as “One-Stop Shopping”, “Integrated Services” or “Concierge Services.” Although neither RealSure nor Swanepoel are in any way associated with NRT, he praised “The Birth of the Mega Company” (#10) and detailed how this 7-year company has created a 1,000-office, 60,000 agent, 500,000 transaction behemoth with a sales volume of $205 billion. “Whether you love them or hate them, you have to respect them as they have done an outstanding job in creating the largest residential real estate brokerage company the world has ever seen,” he said.

What makes Swanepoel’s talks so fascinating is that Business Trend spotting is very complicated as there is no distinct traceable statistical information such as published mortgage rates or housing starts that allow for their exact evaluation. That is probably why Swanepoel’s Trends talk has become so immensely popular every time it is given. His consulting and research company RealSure, Inc. is only one of a handful of companies that track business trends. They have, however, developed and refined a system that examines, evaluates and incorporates numerous key factors such as: The origin of the Trend; the driving force behind the Trend; the lifecycle and maturity of the Trend; the overall industry demand for the Trend; the growth pattern of the Trend; and the potential impact the Trend will have in the real estate industry.

Near the top of his list was the number two Trend: “A Smorgasbord of New Business Models,” which include many innovative business concepts such as Annuity Agencies, Discount Brokerages, Low-Cost Freedom Shops, Flat Fee, Fee-for-Services, List-me-for-Free and Pre-List. But, according the Swanepoel, the #1 Trend is “The Birth of a New Middleman.” According to Swanepoel the first attempt by Internet companies to dis-intermediate real estate agents in the late 1990’s was not successful as newcomers had underestimated the complexities of the home-buying process. However, over time experience has evolved and a there is now a renewed attempt to create a better mousetrap. “The race is on between companies such as, and to develop the most viable lead generation channel ever built” he said. “Whether this will be good or bad for REALTORS® will depend on how well these companies are able to position themselves between the online homebuyer and existing agents and what the ultimate fees associate with these leads will be ” he concluded

You can get a summary of all of Swanepoel’s top 20 Trends by downloading a complimentary copy of the PowerPoint he delivered in Washington DC last week at starting Wednesday May 18 th.


Stefan Swanepoel is widely recognized as one of the leading visionaries on trends in the real estate industry. He has penned more than 10 books and whitepapers including the 1998 bestseller Real Estate Confronts Reality and the sequel Real Estate Confronts the Future (2004). Today he serves as: Managing Partner of RealSure, Inc. a consulting practice; CEO of RealtyU, Inc., the largest network of real estate schools in the US; CEO of iSucceed, Inc., a leading provider of real estate mentoring services; Chairman of Broker Agent Speakers Bureau, Inc.; and Executive Director of The Real Estate Apprentice Foundation, Inc., a Non-Profit Public Benefit corporation providing grants to help newly licensed real estate agents.


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