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RE/MAX Chief Customer Officer Nick Bailey recently hosted an episode of Good Morning RE/MAX focusing on the real estate outlook for 2021 and beyond. Bailey was joined by Ivy Zelman, CEO of Zelman & Associates, as well as real estate tech strategist Mike DelPrete.

What’s happened in the last year and, specifically in recent months? Zelman said the industry “has had an unbelievable, remarkable recovery from the initial shutdown” following the first peak of the coronavirus. And because the backdrop pre-COVID was fairly positive, the markets have fared well since.

“Now, across the board, homes are having bidding wars. It’s a great time to be a buyer,” she said.

For 2021, Zelman predicts that interest rates are likely to rise, especially upon the recovery of the economy when an effective vaccine becomes available. But as long as we are in a COVID environment, Zelman foresees housing will remain center stage.

“Agents need to be out there expressing that this will not be sustainable in a world where we have an effective vaccine,” said Zelman. “Once we go back to that normal environment, all of the financial stimulus is going to push interest rates higher.”

Zelman also predicts that home prices will continue to rise by 3 to 4 percent as inventories are at the lowest levels on record.

On the technology front, DelPrete discussed the various models that are out there for buying and selling homes, stating iBuyers are “truly different as they’re not just digitizing the path from A to B; they’re coming up with a whole new path.”

But one thing DelPrete has found is that companies that try to replace people with technology will fail—”they just don’t get traction.”

“Companies that get beyond the early adopters and get mainstream appeal and traction still have people at the center of transactions,” said DelPrete, emphasizing that technology is an enabler, not a disruptor.

“You can’t use it to replace existing processes; it’s about efficiencies and making things faster,” he said.

As advice to agents, DelPrete said they should compete where they can win.

“There are a lot of big companies out there. Compete in the game where you can win and not just where your competitors are,” said DelPrete. “And all of this disruption occurring is not the exclusive domain of disruptors…take the best models that are out there and make them your own.”

“In real estate, we are guilty of trying to be all things to all people,” said Bailey, “but I think there’s a lot of business out there for people to approach it in many different ways.”

You can watch the entire episode below:

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