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RISMEDIA, February 20, 2010—The fast growth, free money days are behind us and America is embarking on a new era of economic realities, cultural norms and politics. Today’s “new normal” is a world of gradual growth, newfound appreciation for basic comforts and a fresh outlook full of opportunities. Here, Glenn Melton, CEO of Realty Executives International discusses what the real estate realty of 2010 will look like.

Glenn Melton
Realty Executives International

Over the past few years, the real estate industry has dramatically transformed with rapidly evolving markets, households, institutions and government policies. The key to leveraging today’s new real estate reality is adaptation. By expanding your scope and understanding of residential real estate—from the complexities of the distressed property transaction process to intricacies of Federal Housing Administration subsidies—real estate professionals will be better equipped to offer superior guidance to customers.

Changing consumer behavior must be a core focus, too, since today’s customer has forever changed because economic realities have changed them forever. Consumers are more risk averse because loans are more difficult to attain and because the traditional expectations of steady and predictable growth in home values has faltered.

Developing innovative ways to engage “new normal” buyers and sellers allows agents and brokers to better service clients, as well as market their abilities to navigate through dynamic and challenging markets. Today’s consumers are more open to new options and are taking the time to thoroughly research their purchase. They are listening very closely right now and they want honesty, authenticity and transparency.

To accommodate their new demands, the real estate industry must take a progressive approach to engage clients through technology and forms of new media communications.

Leveraging social media, for example, to communicate with consumers can be a strong and personable form of engagement if approached with a commitment of consistency and honesty. Facebook is the fourth-largest site on the Web with more than 350 million users globally, and Twitter’s growth has been more than five times as rapid this past year compared to last. Social networks allow consumers to reach who they need with great precision and accountability.

Social media is here to stay and resistance is only prolonging the inevitable and resulting in missed opportunities to grow.

To build trust and establish long-term relationships, real estate professionals must place a great emphasis on individual conversations and customer engagement. Buyers and sellers want to know about the product, but more importantly they want to trust and believe in you.

We, as real estate professionals, need to innovate and have the courage and confidence to act and drive change in our new real estate reality. The new normal is different, but no less rich in opportunities for those well positioned.