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With an increase in home sales and consumer confidence, 2013 has been a strong year for the real estate industry as a whole. As 2013 comes to an end, we interviewed three leading brokers from around the country to discuss the year that was and the year that’s yet to come.

RISMedia: What have you seen this year and how has this impacted your business strategies?
Marilyn Eiland, partner, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene: The Houston market is booming, thanks to job growth, buyer demand and consumer optimism. That said, we’ve launched several new marketing initiatives and resources in an effort to stay ahead of our competitors and ensure we have adequate inventory to meet demand. We’ve really seen the added value across all of our marketing strategies of having the Better Homes and Gardens brand name associated with our company.

Matt Rand, managing partner, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty: To take full advantage of the resurgence of the real estate market, we looked at our company from top to bottom to see where we could improve. Specifically, we recognized that new agents need a quicker on-boarding process. We reorganized our new agent training program into a six-week, small group-coaching program, which was extremely beneficial for our company.

David Cooper, broker/owner, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Kansas City Homes: This year was our first full year as part of the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate network. In 2012, we knew it was time to position ourselves for the future, as we saw a promising uptick in the industry. Since then, our affiliated agents have been energized and it’s shown: We hit sales records we haven’t seen since 2005.

RISMedia: What have you done to stay ahead of the changing real estate landscape?
Matt Rand: In November, we moved one of our largest offices into a newly designed, state-of-the-art space. While mobile technologies will continue to change the way we do business, this understanding—coupled with inspiration we received through our national brand’s relationship with Meredith Corporation—empowered us to design a true office of the future.

Marilyn Eiland: We believe in investing in the real estate professionals of the future. We’ve increased the frequency of our training programs and partnered with the Houston Community College to implement a new internship program. We want to make sure that tomorrow’s real estate leaders have the mandatory skills needed to best serve the real estate industry and its consumers.

RISMedia: What are you prioritizing in the new year?
David Cooper: Our most important assets are our affiliated agents, so it’s important that we continue to empower them. This means providing the most innovative mobile apps and technologies that allow them to retain customers and track listings up-to-the-minute.

Matt Rand: In 2014, we’re investing in a new technology that will improve our communications with homebuyers and sellers post-transaction. This will help ensure that our company is consistent no matter the broker, agent or office that handles the deal.

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