Top takeaways from Inman's inaugural Select Live conference

March 25, 2015 by SmartZip in Articles 

Inman's first-ever online conference, Select Live, was held today and seven fantastic speakers from within the real estate industry offered insights on 2015 market trends, consumer habits and technology advances. Below, we've summarized our #1 takeaways from each of the sessions.

Get Smart About the Market | Nela Richardson, Economist, Redfin

Last week, the Fed confirmed what many industry experts had been predicting: interest rates are set to rise this year. They'll hover around 5% for the majority of 2015, and will rise above that at the end of the year. But take heart! 30 years ago, mortgage interest rates reached as high as 18% — and people were still buying!

Nela also focused on the issue of inventory for the spring market. Nationwide, listings were up 12% in February. This is welcome news for a market that will be crowded with buyers, as February listings have decreased each of the last four years. If inventory can continue to rise this spring, we could see price growth continue to slow, and a stable market unfold. If the low inventory issues of the western states like California, Washington and Denver take hold across the country, bidding wars and price escalations may price eager buyers out of the market. We have to wait to see if sellers continue to list as the snow melts.

Market with Authenticity | Imran Poladi, Vice President, NextHome Real Estate

Imran's incredible speech about overcoming cancer was inspiring and humbling. Among his many offerings was the idea that you should surround yourself with positive people, and remain positive, in order to get the most out of your personal and professional life.

Imran cited two scary stats when discussing how hard it is to achieve positivity. First, 38% of the words in the English language have negative connotations, and 17% have positive connotations. This means you have to work twice as hard to stay positive when you're speaking. Second is the idea of crab mentality, often called "Crabs in a bucket." Crabs could work together to help each other out of a bucket but instead, when one starts to rise to the top, the others pull them down.

The lesson? If you are working with negative people who don't want you to succeed, it's easy to get pulled down or to begin to pull others down. But by helping others rise, you will also rise — and you'll all be there, at the top, together.

Becoming a Passionate Leader | Sherry Chris, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

As the CEO of a massive real estate brand since its infancy, Sherry had plenty of advice to share about growth and leadership. But it was her ideas about remaining humble — and being a "servant leader" that really resonated with us.

Rather than pushing a top-down approach, Sherry focused on the idea of hiring the right team to execute on your vision, and empowering them to do the work in the best way they can. Plus, she reminded leaders of every level and pedigree to find mentors to help them reach the next rung on the ladder. The reminder here? You're never done moving up, there is always somewhere else to go.

Think Like a Startup | Ginger Wilcox, Chief Industry Officer, Sindeo

As a startup veteran who built Trulia's industry brand and is now tackling the mortgage industry at Sindeo, Ginger's experience speaks for itself. But startups don't just need leaders with years in the game, they also need strategic goals and a plan for fast, mind-blowing growth.

Ginger spoke of the importance of breaking down big goals into manageable projects to keep teams motivated. In the tech startup world and beyond, teams can stay engaged by working in "sprints," where they tackle specific quick goals in a set period of time. Even the most motivated team will lose their mojo if they see only a lofty end goal and no plan for how to get there.

The key to reaching these goals? Turn everything you know upside down, and don't tie yourself to standards or legacy processes that are holding you back from achieving the next level of success. To re-imagine what is possible, you have to re-write the rules.

Get as Tech-Savvy as Your Clients | Mark McLaughlin, CEO, Pacific Union International

Mark shared some great personal metrics for his brand, including their monthly blog visitor traffic of 5,800 unique visitors. This was a great reminder that while we're inundated daily with viral videos and and "like" counts, it's important to focus on the relevancy of your online traffic and social footprint.

The Pacific Union blog is run by three professional journalists who write about everything from macro economic trends to local market numbers. The goal is not viral content, but content that appeals to the unique group of home buyers, sellers, owners and investors the company counts among its client base. Pacific Union closes 5,700 transactions per year, so the traffic Mark gets to the company blog is in line with their core audience. By creating a strategic goal to unleash market-centric content to their audience, Pacific Union is able to justify the ROI of their journalistic endeavor.

Delivering the Best Data | Avi Gupta, President and CEO, SmartZip

Our own president and CEO, Avi Gupta, was on hand at Select Live to discuss big data and predictive analytics. For years, the real estate industry has landed listings via referrals and "small data" — one-variable indicators like FSBOs, expireds, delinquencies and defaults. At the same time, most sellers end up listing due to a combination of factors, like outgrowing their family while growing their career (and net worth).

Today, we have millions of data points about the housing market and individual homeowners — this information is called "big data." By analyzing big data for hyperlocal market areas, we can identify the patterns that caused homeowners to sell in the past. Then, using that back-tested data, we can predict what homeowners within that neighborhood are most likely to sell now.

Companies are leveraging data and patterns everyday to drive business, and real estate is no different. To see how we're leveraging big data for real estate, reach out today and we'll give you a free demo and tour of your territory.

Target Your Market | Laura Monroe, Director of Social Media and Industry Outreach, Inman

Laura did a fantastic job of synthesizing all the speakers' content, and offering her outlook on how to specifically target your customers. First, Laura reminded us that a "people first" approach is critical, because consumers want to be a part of the process. It's okay to push the brand into the periphery, because a happy customer will become a brand loyalist through the process.

Laura reminded us that the best way to amplify your brand presence for the least amount of money is via social media and online ads. In today's marketplace of savvy consumers, an online presence is expected. Get ahead of them by targeting and retargeting them on Facebook and wherever they search online.

That's a wrap!

Last, we wanted to give kudos to #SelectLive moderator Vanessa Bergmark of Red Oak Realty. Vanessa did an incredible job of asking deep, insightful questions and drawing in audience questions from Skype and Twitter.

Thanks again to Inman for including us in the first-ever #SelectLive conference! We're looking forward to additional online meetups, and the Real Estate Connect SF conference in early August.

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