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After a successful career in organizational development, seven years ago I decided to make a move into real estate. I was attracted to the fast-paced, entrepreneurial spirit of the industry—and, most importantly, the opportunity to help people both internally and externally of the organization.

I believe that if you asked, most of us would say the same thing. Successfully guiding people through the largest, most important purchase of their lives is the ultimate reward for the long hours and non-stop hustle.

The stark reality is that with record numbers of new agents joining the ranks this year, and inventory at historic lows, the brokerage consolidation trend we’ve seen over the past few years is only going to accelerate.

In fact, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that there were more real estate agents than homes for sale in the U.S. At the end of January, there were 1.04 million homes for sale. That is down 26% from a year earlier and the lowest on record going back to 1982, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). January also saw NAR’s membership increase to 1.45 million members, up 4.8% from a year earlier.

The end result is that lead generation has become the Holy Grail in today’s marketplace as there are too many agents chasing too few deals. This is not sustainable, and I believe that it’s ultimately going to put even more pressure on commissions.

So, what to do?

While it’s understandable that many companies are under pressure and working hard to secure promising leads, I think a more successful approach to consider is focusing on getting the transactions you do have closed and being the brokerage that helps agents do that for a low flat fee.

Consumers have a full suite of tech options to DIY their home searches and virtual tours. The value agents can provide now is being a professional to guide them through the complexities and emotions of the process. This is how you show real value for a commission.

This insight is core to the development of HomeSmart’s new RealSmart Client that is launching this month. RealSmart Client allows the agent, broker and client to all be informed and have full transparency into the transaction process.

HomeSmart’s RealSmart Client app supports agents being the consummate guide and facilitator for the clients by giving them the ability to search listings, make an offer, view agent information and see transaction documents as the deal comes together. Full transparency and easy access builds trust and successful deal closures. This is how you navigate through the consolidation trend.

We developed RealSmart Client to empower agents to help their customers. After all, isn’t this why we all got into this business in the first place?

Ashley Bowers is president of HomeSmart International and has more than 20 years of experience in talent management and organizational growth industries. She thrives on empowering teams to achieve success and drive profits, and brings a unique approach to organizational leadership. For more information, visit