The National Association of Realtors held its annual real estate conference in Orlando, Florida this past weekend to close out a tumultuous year for the real estate market. The venue was nothing short of spectacular as companies from all across the world and vendors from every aspect of the real estate business showed up to promote their products and services. Although the registered number of realtors and brokers in attendance was only about 20,000 (down 55,000 registrants from NAR 2007) the show provided another great look at where the real estate market is headed going into the next year.
It is without a doubt that technology and marketing were the main focus for NAR Orlando as many companies specializing in services such as website design, real estate marketing, content and client management systems, and lead generation services lined the floors of the enormous expo hall. Some notable booths that seemed to get a ton of attention were:
Who Showed Up
Attendees, consisting mainly of brokers and then agents, were seemingly more aware of the absolute necessity for a strong web presence for their real estate businesses. “Just having a site is not sufficient, you have to market it, keep it fresh and constantly try new things. I realize that I have to spend money to make money, especially in this market, and I have no problem doing so anymore as my website has already paid for itself and then some,” stated J. Carbutti of Carbutti & Co in New Haven, Connecticut. J. Carbutti took over his father’s real estate business that was started back in the 70s and has helped it flourish into a successful brokerage servicing more than 25 agents despite the recent state of the real estate industry.
Things to Look for in 2009
The tech savvy attendees took interest in the multitude of web design, development and marketing companies that showcased some of the industry’s hottest and most effective new technologies moving into 2009 such as:
Web Based CMS and CRM tools
The show seemed to be an overall success for the majority of the vendors that we interviewed and also for the real estate professionals in attendance. Despite the lighter attendance, compared to previous NAR conferences, useful information was provided all around and mutually beneficial relationships and partnerships were garnered from the show.
1) Just having a real estate site is not sufficient, you need marketing, authentic content, and multiple points of exposure for your listings
2) The better real estate web design, development, marketing companies have seemed to pull away from the competition and forge themselves as the true leaders in their space
3) Brokers are looking to provide all inclusive online marketing services / offerings for their agents past the traditional marketing and listing support that has been offered in the past
Most real estate professionals seem to be sitting back right now and waiting for the market to rebound. The agents and brokers who stood out as the more successful ones are doing just the opposite – aggressively marketing their listings and services in as many places as possible, with a majority of that being dedicated to the online space.
91% of real estate transactions start online. Being passive in this market is only going to set you back further. Put the necessary time, money and effort into your online presence and you will reap the rewards.
For more information on the show, questions about vendors or inquiries as to who we thought the absolute best companies and services were, please leave us a comment and we will be happy to elaborate on our outlook of the show.