Technology Changes Real Estate Industry

Article excerpt

Journal Record Staff Reporter

Real estate agents must develop services that will keep clients returning while technology in the real estate market changes.

Those changes in the market could eventually dispel the Multiple Listing Service that Realtors use to access information on houses for sale, said Walter Sanford, the top agent in volume production in the United States.

Sanford was in Oklahoma City Tuesday to present the Walter Sanford Seminar sponsored by Keller Williams Realty Inc. of Oklahoma City and Edmond. Sanford operates Sanford Group Inc. in Long Beach, Calif. He closed more than $51 million in real estate sales volume in 1992 and is considered the top producer in that category.

He grossed $1.5 million in personal commissions. His overhead is about 30 percent of his commissions.

"I want to build clients for life. I want to build raving fans. Real estate has never been on the cutting edge of technology," he said.

Agents are in danger of losing clients if they do not perfect their area of real estate and offer as much as they can to the people, services that people can not find anywhere else.

He expects some modern electronic service such as a kiosk in a mall where sellers and buyers will be able to go to list their properties in a computer. That information would then be available to individuals who subscribe to a specific computer service that extends nationwide.

He identified three profit centers he has that keep him going. They are his brokerage, selling or sharing information on how he has become successful and ownership of real estate.

Agents must experience what they do and buy real estate, he said.

Sanford is the only licensed real estate executive in his office but has 11 nonlicensed assistants who do the research, desk work and other duties, which allow him to close as many real estate sales as he does.

Monica E. Reynolds, a Realtor associate with the firm, trains other assistants around the country. She travels about 20 days a month.

Agents must pick an area of real estate and perfect that system as an individual, only then can that agent move on, Sanford said. It must be a profitable area where the agent can become the best, then manualize it and delegate the process to possibly an assistant and move on to the next area.

With those assistants, he can work at other techniques and systems to work with clients.

An "integrated selling system" is the approach his firm uses in business.

"In an integrated selling system we are planning an approach to a hot demographic group," he said. Those groups are identified as people who could possibly be interested in selling or buying.

He cited groups such as those people who own real estate but do not necessarily live in the community, people over the age of 65 who are living in houses with four or more bedrooms, pregnant women, "for sale by owner" and those who have listed their houses in the classified advertisements of a newspaper. These are the people who are going to be interested in working with his brokerage firm to sell or buy a new home, he said. …