Event Rewind – Inman Connect NYC - 2018: Navigate. Seize. Connect.

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Real estate industry professionals from around the world convened in New York City January 22nd to 26th for Inman Connect 2018, a conference centered around the notion that industry success and disruption happens when real estate agents engage with top-tier professionals in technology, marketing, financial services, and more. Over 4,000 attendees came together at the Marriott Marquis Times Square this year for keynote speeches, hands-on educational workshops, and networking opportunities.

Inman invited a number of featured speakers to cover a range of topics from the confluence of technology with real estate and social media, to cryptocurrency and financial management trends, including best-selling author Simon Sinek, Dick Costolo of Chorus Fitness, Ryan Schneider of Realogy, Elizabeth Mendenhall of RE/MAX Boone Realty, Sally Kohn of CNN, Robert Reffkin of Compas, Eric Wu of Opendoor, and Amy Bohutinksy of Zillow Group.

Technology emerged as a theme throughout much of the event, as it continues to rapidly advance the real estate – and other – industries. More and more transactions are being conducted through cryptocurrency, a trend that made its way to Washington state earlier this year with the first recorded home purchase made using Bitcoin and a few other popular platforms. The use of video is extending its way into 3D and virtual reality, which serve to improve the buyer’s experience of “stepping into” a home while hundreds of miles away or still in the preliminary stages of a search.

1 in 5 "MOBILE" minutes are spend on Facebook and Instagram - Is your home marketed "Social Media Smart"?

1 in 5 "MOBILE" minutes are spend on Facebook and Instagram - Is your home marketed "Social Media Smart"?

Social media was also a well-covered topic, as the latest statistics indicate that the average mobile user is spending approximately 3 hours per day on their device, and that 1 in every 5 of those minutes is spent on Facebook or Instagram. Usership for both of these platforms has skyrocketed in recent years, with monthly rates of over 2 billion for Facebook and 800 million for Instagram. Katie Lance, Owner & CEO of her own social media consulting firm, discussed the changes Facebook recently made to its algorithm with priority posts, and the importance of leveraging Instagram stories, which are now reaching approximately 300 million users every day to help Luxury brokers at Sotheby's promote their listings.

Given the increasing popularity of stories and video across all platforms, it has become another tool that successful agents are utilizing to increase their reach and engagement. Many are using Lumen 5, a video creation platform that allows small businesses and other brands to create social content with ease. The site offers stock video and photography, and helpful tools for crafting content with a reach.

Though marketing and leveraging social and other digital platforms is critical for today’s broker, it’s also important to remember that those are parts of a broader whole through which to forge relationships with past, current, and future clients. In today’s fiercely competitive Seattle market, it’s key to strive to offer seamless white-glove service and go the extra mile every time. For Jay O’Brien, co-owner of RE/MAX Prestige, that means caring for a client far beyond closing.

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Zillow reported 89% of sellers and 74% of buyers used Real Estate agents & enjoyed higher satisfaction of the process!

Representatives of Zillow Group took the stage to discuss key takeaways from their 2017 Consumer Housing Trends Report, which analyzes homeownership trends around the nation. According to the report, buyers are spending an average of 4.3 months searching for a home, with millennials taking just under 4 months and older generations averaging about 5.6 months, a figure confluent with younger generations beginning their home searches online and “on their own.” And though buyers have historically elected to put 20-percent down on a home purchase, 55-percent are now putting down less than that when buying.

In terms of selling, it’s clear that the Seattle metro area market fundamentals are driving different outcomes than those seen in other areas of the nation, as Zillow reports that half of sellers are selling their homes for below list price. In the Seattle area, meanwhile, homes with million-dollar price tags are moving into more neighborhoods than ever before, and are rarely selling for below asking. Buyers are also staying in their homes for longer periods, with 60-percent averaging a decade or residency and 24-percent staying for two decades or more.

Whether buying or selling, working with a real estate agent makes the experience much more smooth for consumers, as Zillow reports that 82-percent of buyers valued both their agent's ability to guide them through the process and take the lead in negotiation. These values ranked the same for sellers, and Zillow found that while 36-percent of sellers tried to "go it alone" and sell without an agent, only 11-percent were able to successfully complete the sale on their own.

While in New York, fellow RSIR broker Brian Hopper and I took advantage of the opportunity to make connections with real estate professionals from the east coast and tour some of the city’s most stunning offerings. Our property tour included One57, the eighth tallest building in New York and home of a Tom Brady penthouse that sold in 2015 for a staggering $100 million. We also had a chance to experience the splendor of a few residences at 432 Park Avenue, the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere. Step through the doors of its luxurious offerings here.

One57, a luxury condominium tower, looms above New York’s popular Central Park neighborhood.

One57, a luxury condominium tower, looms above New York’s popular Central Park neighborhood.