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RISMEDIA, August 25, 2010—If there’s one thing that time consistently does, it’s move forward. So, as this Great Recession continues to wear us down, it may be time to cast our eyes towards the horizon as well as take stock in what we’ve learned so far, three years into this latest economic slump.

Here are three lessons we have learned within the last three years, with a glimpse to what the future holds for the new real estate.

1. A house is a home, not a piggy bank
The great agents always knew this, but it has become—and will continue to be—a truism that will linger with us for a long time to come: a house is a home, not an investment.

Too many Americans have lost too much to think of their homes as a siding-clad ATM. Instead, the best agents will be apt at matching houses with clients to find a perfect fit. A home, after all, is more than just crown moldings, copper wiring, and bay windows—it’s a sense of place, of community and of comfort. It matches who you are and fits seamlessly within your daily life.

Post-recession agents will need to have this knack for matching house with heart. It’s what real estate was always about, and it will be even more important from here on out.

2. The old way is not going to cut it
I’m sorry to say but, like your car phone, your fax machine is obsolete. It’s amazing how quickly our world has changed and hastened within the last three years. Just think, back in 2007, Twitter was still in its infancy, Facebook was just a trend, and the first iPhone had just come out, with the app craze still months away.

Clients are now buying movie tickets and SUVs online. They are texting more than they are calling. Their lives are busier than ever, so your service had better fit within their lives.

New real estate technologies, such as DotLoop’s online contract negotiation platform, will be the new normal in an industry known to drag its feet when it comes to tech tools. As this Great Recession has taught us, however, great agents can no longer afford to simply leave a message after the beep.

3. It really is all about people
As with any great crisis (opportunity?), the Great Recession has reminded us of that one ideal that real estate was always about, but somehow got buried underneath the deluge of offers and listings: it all comes down to people.

Real estate is one of the last industries that cannot be automated. No matter how many websites, laptops, or smart phones are out there, no computer program can tell you that you can get the best lunch meat at the corner deli on 6th or that the old man at the house next door will always be willing to lend you his ladder. A home, neighborhood and community can never be quantified into ones and zeros. It’s your job as an agent to be the expert of your area, and to make sure that you’re putting the people you’re serving ahead of everything else.

It’s only natural to want to get rid of this Great Recession, to tear away from this downturn and go back to “normal.” But the new normal will not be like the old normal. Three years from now, we most likely will be recovered, but we’ll also be changed—for the better.

Better technology for agents, better understanding of our clients and a better perspective will help to shape the next generation of real estate.

Are you prepared?
DotLoop was designed specifically to overcome the challenges of the traditional real estate negotiation process. DotLoop marries the technological with the traditional, creating a collaborative online environment that uses the Internet as a tool agents can use to connect with their clients, saving them time and money. Our system allows the agent and client the ability to interact on their own terms, dissolving distance and sending fax machines further into obsolescence.

For more information, visit