Real Estate

Strategy First — Then Technology, Proptech Leaders Emphasize At ICNY

“Too many agents — and too many brokers, quite honestly — will go buy the next shiny thing without thinking about the strategy,” Homegenius executive Jose Perez said at ICNY Wednesday.

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Building an effective tech-stack for your brokerage has to begin with a sound business strategy.

That was the prevailing sentiment among three proptech leaders at Inman Connect New York’s Broker Track.

Joe Skousen; Photos by AJ Canaria & Mercedes Santiago of MoxiWorks

In a session sponsored by Zavvie and Radian, developer of Homegenius, Inside Real Estate CEO Joe Skousen said one of the biggest problems he encounters is brokers trying to solve problems without a strategy.

“I talk about the three keys, with respect to first your platform, is it capable? What are you building your strategy around,” Skousen said. “Then you have partnerships to build around, and of course, profitability. If you have 12 different solutions, you’re going to struggle with that.”

Lane Hornung, CEO of Zavvie, added that the broker’s tech stack needs to keep the agent in the center of it all.

“Can it drive some deals,” he said. “Ultimately, that’s how brokers make money.”

Zavvie is a software application that helps real estate agents compare multiple types of offers.

Lane Hornung; Photos by AJ Canaria & Mercedes Santiago of MoxiWorks

Jose Perez, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Homegenius, urged the brokers in the audience to keep things simple, but with strategy as the driver.

“What Joe said was spot on, you can’t have multiple places to get different things, whether you’re an agent doing a CMA or a broker trying to run their business,” Perez said.

Options for technology in the industry are not in short supply, the group acknowledged, so choices need to be made with care or else you have everyone chasing “shiny new toys,” according to Perez.

“New doesn’t mean its going to drive business,” he said. “Too many agents, and too many brokers, quite honestly, will go buy the next shiny thing without thinking about the strategy.”

Jose Perez; Photos by AJ Canaria & Mercedes Santiago of MoxiWorks

Implementation, and primarily adoption, is a big challenge for brokers looking to make technology investments pay off. The trio advised the Grand Ballroom that brokers should consider having internal champions and look to colleagues that have found success with a solution.

“You gotta get wins on day one,” Skousen said. “If an agent gets a new lead that first day, or has at least ignited conversations with possible leads, that can go a long way toward encouraging agents to embrace their tech-stack. If you’re making more money today, that’s a whole different rollout,” he said.

Perez wanted the audience to know that a good example of success with tech doesn’t have to come from a top producing agent. Agents like to know it works with others at their level.

Choice is part of the problem when it comes to teck-stack creation, Hornung said.

“My wife is an agent in Miami, and when I look at what their MLS offers, it’s too much, it’s overwhelming, they don’t know what to do or what to choose,” he said.

“You gotta have a plan, you have to know why you’re doing what you’re doing,” Hornung said.


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