2017 Outlook: An open letter from eCommission founder, Sean Whaling
What a year it has been for real estate since my last open letter. Mortgage rates stayed at historic lows and most every market in the U.S. saw growth in new home and existing home sales.
eCommission finished the year strong too, surpassing our annual funding goals and adding nearly 250 original posts to the eCommission blog to help hard working real estate agents like you find ways to be more productive and successful.
And we are not done! eCommission is committed to making 2017 an even better year for our customers by offering more helpful advice, more insightful coaching from Barbara Corcoran, and the easiest, fastest process possible for advancing your hard-earned real estate commissions.
With that in mind, I am sharing my thoughts and predictions for the upcoming year below.
First, it’s important to establish the basis for my predictions. eCommission is unique in that we have daily contact with real estate agent customers throughout the country. This allows us to “take the pulse” of the nation’s local markets and gain a valuable perspective about the entire industry. We literally talk to thousands of agents every year either by phone or in person at broker conventions.
So without further adieu, here are my 2017 thoughts and predictions:
- Overall, our customers remain very optimistic going into 2017. Most believe the year ahead will be even better than 2016, with a majority saying they plan to expand their market share and grow their business.
- Customers are telling us some markets remain hot: Dallas / Ft. Worth, Seattle, Oregon, Reno…we’re seeing lots of activity from new agents in these areas. And, of course, Denver and San Francisco are always consistent markets. Our hometown market of Austin has started to cool off somewhat after an incredible run. Local agents here have referred to it as “normalizing” in the sense that home prices relative to inventory supply and days on market are starting to come back in line with past historical trends.
- Mortgage rates will rise in 2017. While this may limit affordability for some buyers, it will be a catalyst for others to “get off the fence” and into the market quickly before they increase further. Anything under 6% is still considered a historically low mortgage and experts are not predicting a rise above this figure for 2017. But the past few years of record low rates in the 3% to 4% range are gone. Best to advise your clients to act now because rates are definitely heading north soon.
- For most agents, the biggest challenges will be executing their personal business plans. There are several marketing trends getting lots of attention that are worth your consideration. The first is virtual reality and 3-D listings. The idea of being able to show buyers vivid, “real life” images of homes without having to spend unneeded time, energy and gas money driving from house to house is irresistible. Sure, ultimately you may need to show your buyers the listing in person to help with their decision to purchase, but think about how much more efficient your real estate business can be by either adopting or utilizing VR and 3D listing tools. There are a couple of good ones out there worth looking into: Matterport and Immoviewer.
- The second marketing strategy worth pursuing in 2017 (if you haven’t started doing it already) is content marketing. This goes beyond re-posting someone else’s stories on your blog, or updating your Facebook occasionally with news articles. It’s about writing original content that showcases your expertise within your community. That could include knowledge of local schools, restaurants, charities, fundraising events, etc. Show prospective clients that you’re savvy about your area, from average home list / sale prices to days on market to inventory statistics. Make sure your neighbors know your name and connect your knowledge to their goal of buying or selling by pushing this content consistently to your blog, Facebook and Instagram accounts. Make content marketing your daily objective in 2017. It’s not easy, but who ever said being the best real estate agent would be easy?
In general, 2017 should be another record year and one that presents an opportunity for agents to flourish. eCommission will be there every step of the way with our helpful articles and the industry’s fastest way to turn future commissions into cash.
To all the customers of eCommission, thank you for your patronage in 2016 and we look forward to delivering even more value to you in 2017. If you have any thoughts or feedback, I invite you to reach out to us by phone, email or with a comment below.
All the best to your continued success!