If Walls Could Text: Gen Y Buys Smart Homes

home automation cooking

Cooking with Home Automation

The largest generation ever is buying homes and requiring features that many real estate professionals have never before seen.  Gen Y home buyers are demanding home technology and home automation.

This trend was validated by a new study. “They’re technology-driven and they want their homes to reflect that, too. Forty-one percent of millennials surveyed say they are more likely to brag to a friend about a home automation system rather than a newly renovated kitchen,”  Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate survey published in Realtor Magazine. – I wrote more about home automation last week on Inman.

This is no short term craze, this is a group 75 million strong that grew up with laptops, mobile phones and security systems.  They are living in their parents basements, waiting, saving and searching for the right listing to buy.  The right listing, will likely have home automation or integrated home technology.

Parents are helping move their kids above ground.

NAR’s Chief economist Lawrewnce Yun points to a growing 100% cash buyer segment that approaches 25-50% of single family sales depending on the market. In August 2013 Goldman Sachs reported 60% of all sales were cash.

Its a common story when talking with mortgage experts.  Parents buy the home with cash to get the best low price or to ensure they get the listing.  Several months later they take out a mortgage to reclaim the cash.

Gen Y buyers select the home, mom and pop pay.  Not a bad deal, eh?  Let me ask a rhetorical question to real estate agents: Do you prefer all cash clients?I implemented home automation with new Start Up Smart Things this year as I wanted to learn more about home automation.  (See the Video Below) Now my BBQ, sump pump, thermostat and doors text me.  I track my daughter and dog while lights turn on where I am in the house.

Its very geeky – but more than that, its practical.

Real Estate agents should test the waters of Home Automation so they can talk the talk with Gen Y home buyers.

 

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Let’s Have Dinner in NY at Connect

Join us for a Technology Dine-around.

Join us for a Technology Dine-around.

As an ambassador for Inman Real Estate Connect next week in New York, I was asked to co-host a group dinner at Padre Figlio a classic Sicilian Steakhouse.  This dine-around will be awesome.

My co-hosts are the only two women to make Stefan Swanepoels top 10 most influential in real estate social – Lisa Archer and Laurie Davis, also known as TheGeekyGirls.  They run a multi city real estate team in North Carolina with 50 million in volume in 2013  ranking #1 in their market center.  More importantly, they’ve leveraged awesome tools and technology to grow quickly.

The dine-around conversation will start at 8pm and focus on the question: What are the technology advances impacting Real Estate?

CEO’s, Brokers, Agents and associated industry vendors and start-up executives  are encouraged to join.

Only 14 seats remain at our intimate table for 25.  RSVP Below.

Get More Details & RSVP for Dinner in NY.

Can’t do dinner Wed?  Let’s schedule a call (Green button to the right) and lets set up a call or an in person meeting.

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Real Estate Titans, StartUps, Innovators & Celebrities will Connect

celebrities of Real estate connect

Connect with Real Estate Celebrities

If you have never been, I strongly encourage you to consider visiting New York.  It’s probably been something you’ve wanted to do – and if you’ve been, you likely want to return.  It’s awesome, inspiring and eye opening.

The same is said about the Inman Connect Real Estate Conference in New York this January.

I wrote this for the InmanNext Blog last week: “I’ve attended as an observer, representing an established company, and presented a groundbreaking startup from stage. I’ve seen a benefit to attending from most every angle. This year, I was asked to attend as an Inman ambassador. I’m honored for the opportunity.”

You can tell, Im a big fan of the event.

Ticket prices, lodging and eating in NYC is not cheep.  In fact, the high barrier to entry seems to add an exclusivity to the event, keeps the NAR-sized crowds away making it feel intimate.  The stage presentations are professional, polished and refined, yet Its common to run into presenting celebrities in the hotel lobby.  Frequently they are willing to chat.

Ticket prices climb from today as we get  close to the event, however, here is a special link for a discounted ticket coupon if you would like to attend. (Please share this page with friends)

Questions about the event? Just ask. Ping me on Twitter @FPO with the #ICNY hashtag.

Hope to see you in NY for Real Estate Connect January 15-17 2013!

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Start Up Innovation Lacking Inside Real Estate

Death of the Pay Phone

Pay Phone & Phone Book – Innovation can kill existing business models.

I caught some heat for an article I composed for Inman last week. - http://www.inman.com/next/who-is-the-pink-mustache-of-real-estate/

The idea that a start up could generate enough traction to bother the big guys is not at all absurd.  Zillow was once a startup looking for seed money.

Some felt that its simply not polite to point to flaws in the system, or call out large real estate companies for their lack of innovation.  True – it may not be polite.  Sorry.

Others think that its not smart to poke the bear.  Also true.

However, the startups Ive worked with have a burning desire to change the world, to disrupt and to make noise.   But more than making noise like a drunk at 3 in the morning, they want to improve something that seems broken.

There are flaws in Real Estate that technology that some startups believe they can address and if Big Real Estate is not willing to embrace innovation, that change will still happen – only out of the control of NAR’s oversight.

Is that a potential problem?

Keep an eye on the industry and start ups – in San Francisco in 3 weeks at NAR and at Connect NY in January.  Look for the change.

Innovation and change can frequently occur more rapidly than we wish to imagine.

 

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Reading Something into Inman

Chris Drayer Contributing to InmanNews

Inman Next ContributorI recently accepted an offer by Inman to begin contributing to their real estate news platform.  Ive been published on the platform previously, such as “Brokers Must Lead By Example” but not as an official contributor.

It’s a good fit. Marketing, Technology and Real Estate are my work life. Ive learned from and enjoyed reading Inman news for years.  Attending Inman Connect Conferences has been a no brainer for me since 2008 & I plan to attend ICNY 2013.

This is a big deal and an honor.  I hope to keep my articles informative, fun and full of juicy layers.

More juicy layers than a fine cabernet?

As an example:  in yesterdays post, There are several Star Wars references (Yes, I was Pandering to other Geeks) in a section about a new samsung product.  Reading my posts ought to be engaging, fun and perhaps even a bit clever.  People who pour over my content will likely find fault, errors and omissions. Feel free to wine about the bad puns, you wont be locked in a cellar.

Seriously – I welcome your feedback, questions and content ideas as they relate to technology, marketing and real estate.  My next post has already been submitted and has a bit more meat on the bone.

My first official post is titled: Should you tech-cessorize your real estate wardrobe?

Share what you think!

 

Odd Fact: Tech-cessorize - I wasn’t the first to use the word “Tech-cessorize”. In fact there is a company in the UK by that name. However if you were to search that term, you may find the article pretty high up the ol’ google page.

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Connect, Innovate and Grow at REBCKC Oct 2nd

FinchMktg hosts the Fourth Real Estate BarCamp Kansas City on Oct 2nd.
Previous years have featured over 300 guests from across the midwest who all want to share technology and marketing solutions in Real Estate.   The day long event features a variety of sessions and discussions with topics including SEO, SEM, CRM’s, recruiting, wordpress, video, content, listing tools, social media and lead generation.
VIP tickets feature reserved seating at tables with power and are only $40. There are a few FREE tickets remaining -

RSVP at www.REBarCampKC.com/RSVP

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The Negative Feedback Goldmine

We like to encourage sharing positive feedback online and our culture seems to avoid confrontation with customers and clients. How can we pull value from problems and pain in Real Estate transactions?

I wrote a post on RealSatisfied today – You dont always want a Testimonial that I quoted parts of this presentation. Its full of great quotes and stats to help understand the influence of customer experience on the bottom line.

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Brokers Can Learn From Show Business; The House Manager

This is a post I wrote on the Inman News Site today.

Brokers Must Lead by Example

Ushers and agents help people find their seat.

In the early 1980s, my mother was in charge of the audience and ushers at the Starlight and Midland theaters in Kansas City.

The Starlight was a large, brick, outdoor amphitheater with columns covered in vines. It was so close to the zoo that, at dusk, you could hear monkeys laugh out loud through the thick humidity.

The Midland seemed to be 100 years old when I was a kid. It was gilded and ornate. A classic, dusty and musty-smelling downtown gem.

Mom didn’t spend money on babysitters, so I hung out backstage with traveling performers of the time like The Smothers Brothers, Doug Henning and actors from every Broadway show to ever tour.
I still don’t like clowns, magic or show tunes.
photo by: jurvetson

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Wanted: Real Estate Customer eXperience Officer

Your customers experience has a direct relationship to your bottom line.  This should be the whole post.  Its a simple idea and an easily understandable outcome.

There is a big problem in our industry. It is clear, that there are far too few CXO’s (Customer Experience Officer)  in our Real Estate world.

 ”The customer’s experience is the biggest factor in brand preference and advocacy”

Fill the cxo void

John Ellett writes for Forbes - ”For many companies, much of the customer experience is delivered via Web-based applications. These apps are often developed by internal IT team or implemented through third-party software. They frequently are not integrated nor reflect a common user interface. They may not be optimized for access from a smart phone or tablet or, if so, were implemented using other vendors who compound the user interface fragmentation.”

Do your tools, vision, values and people all reflect a consistent brand and user interface?

A new app and an old school agent don’t mirror each other. Its easy for customers to get frustrated and the brand is negatively impacted.

A customer’s experience spans marketing and IT functions and includes sales, operations, customer service and product management.” Ellett continues “Marketing leaders are used to the idea of being brand champions. But in today’s world, the customer’s experience is the biggest factor in brand preference and advocacy.”

The role does not have to be a stand alone job in a small company.  However it does have to fall on the shoulders of an executive.  If you own your own brokerage, brand or are a single agent – focus  some time on this role.

Listen to Reece and Nichols VP Patty Nizzi describe her customer focused agenda, in this video we recorded for FinchMktg client RealSatisfied.

 

Customer experience is the focus.  From the inside of your company, can you see a clear clean brand experience – or a disjointed hodgepodge?

What do your customers see?

More importantly – what do the people who decided NOT to be your customers see?

Your CXO should know.

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Your Customers Perception is Your Brand

Brand name is not brand perception

Brand name is not brand perception

Its important to understand how your customers and consumers actually perceive your reputation. 

You have customers that have worked with you and consumers whom know of you and may become customers some day.  Both consumers and customers already have an opinion about you, your company and your brand.  Their individual and collective thoughts and opinions create your brand reputation.

Understanding your true brand reputation is important as it is key to building a better overall perception of your brand.

Perception of brands dictates buying habits – but also dictates how they share experiences with friends. Personal referrals to friends come from great experiences.

In order to gain some perspective, lets step outside of our RealEstate bubble for a minute.

Think about a product or service what you just bought. This could be an oil change, a pair of shoes or an island in the Pacific. What was the company selling that item or service? Was it a big national company or small local? Did you get what you wanted? Was it cost effective? How did the transaction make you feel?

Here’s a Quick Brand Quiz for RealEstate folks and Small Business owners. No. 2 pencil is not required and theres no pep rally when you are done.  Are ready for the Quiz?

Is a Name a Brand?

Is a Name a Brand?

The Three Question Quiz

  1. Why did you buy?
  2. How do you perceive that company’s brand?
  3. Is there a difference between the advertising for the brand / product / service and reality?

My Example: I just bought a $1.29 song on iTunes from apple. Apple -The brand is comfortable, cool and rarely misses. The purchase was fast, simple and made me smile. To me apples advertising mirrors their image and my perception of the brand, not the other way around. I trust apple. In fact, would pay more than they charge for music – so I feel like its a value. No matter what Apple says in its ads, or on its site – Its my awesome customer experience that dictates the perception of brand.

The quiz is cheezy but effective tool to get you to actively asses another brand and criticly engage your habits as a consumer.  You frequently make buying decisions with out thinking deeply about the brand – its your perception that creates reality.

The reality is you frequently buy from and recommend products, brands and services that have good customer experiences, good products and good service.

Your brand is your customer experience.

Bonus Question:
Do you know what your customers say and feel about your own brand? What is your brand reputation?

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