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RISMedia’s Real Estate CEO Exchange brought a ray of light to New York City last week as more than 150 of the most powerful and successful real estate brokerage leaders came together for the day-and-a-half-long event to exchange ideas and strategies key to finding success in today’s slowly recovering market.

While the event focused on finding success in the “new normal,” positive news regarding market conditions was also a common theme. From California to Arizona, Florida and New York, the panelists who took part in the session titled, “Making Money in Your Market: Has Your Business Reached a Turning Point?” are all prepared for a better future as we finish out 2012 and head into 2013.

“Experts are getting back into the market, not in a small way, but a grand way,” said John Featherston, President and CEO of RISMedia, who co-moderated the session, along with Ed Krafchow, Chairman of the Board, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Mason-McDuffie. “This is the first time in a long time that we’re hearing good news about where we’re headed,” said Joseph Rand, Managing Partner, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Rand Realty, referring to Ron Peltier’s opening keynote address. Rand went on to say that while the New York region didn’t experience the same turbulence as other markets, the market has returned to normalcy. “We are responding and acting in a normal way to market conditions,” he added.

Rich Rector, Owner and President of Realty Executives is also seeing things turn around thanks to new building developments, the completion of a freeway system and large companies moving into the area. While the company has spent the past 4 to 5 years getting into property management and working with foreign buyers, Rector understands the importance of getting listings, which, he says, agents have forgotten how to do. “Now’s the time to educate the public (sellers) that they do have equity in their homes.”

While circumstances across the country varied over the past few years, Dan Forsman, President and CEO, Prudential Georgia Realty noted that things have settled down over the past couple of months with productivity going up and the average sales price coming down a bit.

“It’s been a challenge to reframe how we go about business, but we’ve focused on how to do way more with less.” Not only has Forsman invested in technology (marketing services), he is paying close attention to things the company can get leverage out of. “Whether it’s consistently and thoughtfully encouraging my agents to stay in the game to helping them prospect and draw up business plans, it’s crucial for them to have a vision and have access to the resources to get them there.”

Succeeding in today’s new normal isn’t just about thinking outside the box. Real estate professionals have to go one step further and change the way they talk about the business. For Krafchow, this means instead of talking about desks, he talks about flat surfaces. “There’s no more social media, today it is social commerce. Instead of computers, we only talk about smartphones. There’s no talk about drip email/postcards; today, it’s all about campaigns. And there are no more open houses. Today we focus only on virtual open houses.”

“I absolutely believe that the future is going to be better,” said Rei Mesa, President and CEO of Prudential Florida Realty and Florida Real Estate Services. While it depends on a lot of things that are out of our control – balanced lending, regulatory challenges, job creation – it’s important to utilize the tools we have at our disposal. “Whether the pie is bigger or smaller, our table manners have to change,” concluded Mesa.

Stay tuned for more post-event coverage here at

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