In the following interview, Dan Bowden, broker/owner of HomeSmart Realty Group in Orland Park, Ill., discusses the advantages of the brand, the local market, technology, and more.
Region Served: Midwest Chicago
Years in Real Estate: 18
Number of Offices: 3
Number of Agents: 200 total in Orland Park, Naperville and Chicago’s West Loop
Best Advice for New Agents: Treat your business like a business.
No. 1 Tip for Running a Successful Meeting: Follow through with your agents and give them the tools they need to implement the opportunities and tasks discussed during the meeting.
Please describe some of the current trends you’re seeing in your market.
First and foremost, we’re currently experiencing a strong resale market. While the foreclosure business has all but dried up at this point, we’ve seen a lot of investors come into the area, in addition to agents doing a lot of flipping. It’s also important to note that other parts of the country are growing faster than we are. We were a bit slow to react to the downturn, which meant that it took us longer to get through it, but we also didn’t get hit as hard as other areas.
What factor has the largest influence on the real estate industry today?
Internet leads. As we all know, today’s consumer is online, and as a broker, I want to facilitate connecting our agents with those consumers. It starts with our free HomeSmart websites for every agent, and hundreds of free online and social media marketing templates, content and videos. Additionally, we’re addressing this challenge by allowing our agents to partner with other websites and real estate companies that provide leads or referrals by zip code. We also use Commissions Inc and OpCity, a lead-generation program that introduces agents to clients who are ready to transact in real-time.
In what ways are your agents using technology to better serve their clients?
The technology our agents have access to through HomeSmart’s proprietary platform enables them to have info readily available for both their buyer and seller clients. They also have access to easily customizable listing and buyer presentations. In fact, when they pull up to a home for a listing appointment, they can simply snap a photo of the house, enter the client’s information and have a customized listing presentation at a moment’s notice.
Can you talk about some of the tools provided by HomeSmart that are producing the best results for your company?
HomeSmart’s marketing design center, which includes everything you can imagine a real estate professional might need for marketing, is one tool we’re getting a lot of benefit from. While other big brands outsource their marketing to other companies, HomeSmart’s proprietary technology provides our agents a one-stop shop for all lead management, transaction management and marketing. The fact that everything our agents need is housed in one platform makes it simple and easy for them to access and use.
What is one of the challenges your market faces, and what are you doing to overcome it?
Our biggest challenge is seasoned agents not adapting to the constant technology changes. In order to stay ahead of this, we have three different full-time support staff in the office that are charged with teaching and training on a variety of things. HomeSmart’s CIO, Todd Sumney, also comes out one or two times a year to do a full HomeSmart marketing essentials course, which encompasses all the marketing that’s available to our agents and how to use it.
For more information, please visit www.homesmart.com.