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RISMEDIA, November 25, 2009—There are several changes going on in the real estate industry today, not all of which are due to the economy, but certainly the reverberation from the recession will be felt for some time. As I see it, there are three words that come to mind as we move into the future of real estate:

In order to be successful in any business, you must find a need you can fill better than anyone else and you also need to fit the demographics of where you are. There are many reasons that being in the business of real estate is paramount for success. If we look at demographics, there are many Baby Boomers and Civics in the industry that want the opportunity to retire. But with the recent financial crisis, several of them have to start from scratch and they find themselves competing with the newest people coming into the industry who are often better educated in business and technology.

Looking from a consumer’s perspective, service is far more important than sizzle—we have a group consciousness about wasting money; we want to see a return on our investment in both time and money. The good businesspeople are going to track results for all their marketing efforts and systems to ensure a good return. The professionals who wish to retire want to save for that opportunity and they also want a good quality of life so they will be selective with their time. The Generation Xs and Ys understand the quadrant of what makes you an employee and what makes you own your future and how important it is to get to the right side of the quadrant to get a long-term return. They want quality of life all the way through.

I believe the real estate industry is going to continue to raise the standards and it will keep the number of people in the industry at a more realistic number. Moving forward, you will have to be a consummate professional. Even better than that is the fact that there will be more of the pie for the true professional that runs their business effectively.

Technology, Google and social networking has made what we do a matter of public record. Couple that with the most recent mortgage/financial crisis, and the consumer has two things they are concerned with: a way to look up all you do and who you work with along with mistrust due to the ones that made mistakes and the perception in the media. There has never been a more important time to be aware of what is being said about you and who you associate with.

Utilizing technology in order to be aware of what is being said about you on the Internet is crucial. The first thing you should do is get a Gmail account and then sign up for Google alerts to make yourself aware of what is being said about you, the people you work with and everyone real estate related that you do business with. Be proactive in showing what you do for this industry and your community. Get involved and help change the way the real estate industry and its professionals are perceived. Stay on top of local impressions as well—ask on a regular basis what the consumer and industry wants…and provide it.

While conscientious living and the green movement continue to gain momentum across the real estate industry, every consumer we work with demands that everyone they do business with be more conscientious. Each of us has been responsible for using too much paper and not turning the lights off when we leave a room, but there are several ways to utilize e-business and to make your office environmentally friendly. The other reason for going green is that you will put more of it in your pocket by being more efficient. If you want to show consumers you are doing your part to care for the environment, go out and get a green designation and encourage everyone in your office to do the same. In addition, take stock of everything in your office and determine what systems you can put in place and how you can be more efficient in every department.

Tami Bonnell is president of the U.S. Organization for EXIT Realty Corp.

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