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Real estate is in the midst of a consumer- and technology-driven revolution, said three industry leaders at a recent event, The Tightrope, sponsored by Colorado home lender Eave. The event, held June 5, gave approximately 50 attendees insights on the challenges in the market, and how to overcome them, and featured panelists Nick Bailey, CEO of Century 21 Real Estate, Heather Heuer, president and employing broker of PorchLight, in Denver, Colo., and Lindsey Benton, owner of brokerage Live.Laugh.Denver.

Bailey offered numbers to illustrate how rapidly the landscape for the profession is changing. In 2011, there were 5.8 million residential real estate leads nationally, which generated 4.5 million transactions. Last year, transactions had increased to 5.5 million; however, leads were up exponentially: There were 86 million, generated by technology that makes home shopping a leisure-time activity. Only a quarter are ever contacted by an agent or broker.

Opportunities are more abundant than ever across all sizes of firms, despite the changes, the panelists agreed.

To help affiliated agents manage the number of leads and appeal more to the experiences of all segments of homebuyers, Bailey said, CENTURY 21® recently rebranded and is investing heavily in new app technology to allow for a smooth, more timely and efficient “contract to close.”

Rather than focusing on large databases of customer prospects, PorchLight helps agents establish and focus on a referral base of about 50 people that leads to an active pipeline of about 100. PorchLight agents attend more than 40 hours of accredited educational classes, and are part of a collaborative and supportive workplace.

“At PorchLight a collaborative and supportive environment is the norm, and our agents focus on their clients’ real estate needs first versus everything else in their business,” said Heuer.

Live.Laugh.Denver takes an intensely personal approach, treating customers like family. “The business is abundant,” said Benton. “The key is to be in front of someone buying or selling a home and establishing a lasting relationship.”

All three agencies are seeing success with their approaches. PorchLight’s Heuer was named managing broker of the year by Denver Metro Association of Realtors®; PorchLight was also named the No. 3 Top Workplace in Denver. Live.Laugh.Denver agent Christina Ray was named Rookie of the Year, and Century 21’s rebranding has been widely heralded.

Those changes have helped recruit millennial agents who want to serve customers with high-touch and high-technology, said Mercie Curbow, one of the owners of Colorado Springs-based Curbow Realty, a CENTURY 21 franchise. “We went from colors that looked like a yellow jack to a sophisticated gold,” Curbow said. “The brand now fits what we always were.”

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