From the Desk of Rick Brown
I had a chance to speak with our President Rick Brown for the September issue, “Back to Basics” for his thoughts and advice for the last quarter of the year. He graciously offered up some words of encouragement and wisdom for the company to keep our stride moving forward strong. Here is our conversation:
K: Hi Rick, thank you for taking a few minutes for this interview. I really appreciate it.
R: Of course. It’s my pleasure.
K: So let’s get started. Just a few questions for you for the September issue, what do you see happening around the Tampa Bay area in real estate?
R: I believe the new CFPB rules will be a real disruption for real estate. With contracts changing, it will be the responsibility of our agents to be educated and prepared. It’s mostly about educating other agents and the consumer about these changes. Also around the area, foreclosures are up. With the world’s current unstable economy, consumers will be more inclined to pull their money out of the stock market and put their finances in more tangible assets, such as property. This is a positive for our industry. So I would not perceive foreclosures in the region as a necessarily “bad” thing. In an attempt to keep our monies stable, I feel the Fed will most likely hold off on the increase in the interest rate in September.
K: We have spoken about this on and offline a few times and I know that changes happen in this topic daily. So I ask you for the latest update and your opinion about the role of a real estate agent in the sale or purchase of property versus consumers utilizing online websites to facilitate one of the biggest decisions of their life.
R: No one can tell the future, but we know that start-ups are trying to make agents irrelevant. So it is our duty to stay on top of the latest in technology. We need to be aware of the big changes that are happening and align ourselves to those changes. Currently, millennials are relying on agents to make their purchases, but are starting their research online. They are going into the transaction quite informed. In the next five years though, roles will be changing for real estate agents.
K: As the school year begins for students we wanted to highlight ongoing education for industry professionals. Do you feel agents and brokers should continue to educate themselves in their field?
R: Just as doctors and attorneys have to retrain by going to conferences and taking courses to stay at the top of their field, so should real estate agents and brokers. We owe it to our business and our clients to stay at the cutting edge of the laws and regulations of the market. Those professionals that know the business and know the market, know that things are steadily changing.
K: Do you have suggestions you would like to share with your agents for continued education?
R: Any designations are good. That continued information will give you more credibility in the community. The RE/MAX Metro Momentum classes that are taught by our brokers here are a great resource to learn something new if new to the industry or as a refresher as an experienced agent. And then of course what is offered at Pinellas Realtor Association (PRO) - classes, workshops, seminars. All of this is about personal accountability. It is about investing in yourself and your business to have a long term career in real estate.
K: As the leader of the Metro, can you provide any astute words of wisdom or a heed of caution for the year’s denouement?
R: Yes. It’s time to re-up with clients. Time to get them excited about properties again. Consumers want to make their big purchases before the end of the year. And now while interest rates are so extremely low at 3.5% fixed rate for a 30 year mortgage, it is absolutely the time to educate clients that these rates will not last through 2016. At the moment in this slower part of the year, it’s time to look at your business, clean house, and play strong for the 4th quarter into next year. It’s time to ask yourself, ‘How many sources of business do I have?’ You should have 6-7 sources of business, and if you don’t, make an appointment and come to us so we can help navigate you to find these for yourself.
K: As RE/MAX Metro continues to be successful as a brokerage in the Tampa Bay area, any final words of encouragement for the company from your desk?
R: Metro has gone through a lot of changes and has evolved a lot in the last few years. Despite things being different and our company developing with the times, we still have the same spirit. We want to communicate that spirit to the masses. We are one company, where the younger agents can learn from the more experienced agents, and those who have been in the business for many years can also learn from the younger generation. As a company we are better together than we are alone.
K: Thank you Rick. Until next time!
R: Thank you.