REAL Trending Episode 72: Coronavirus, Present and Future

From REAL Trends, the trusted source for real estate industry trends and news. This is REAL Trending episode 72 we’re analyzing the most important trends affecting brokerage companies and their agents.

I’m Steve Murray, president of real trends and today we’re discussing the future. Once we get past this, we’re going to focus today on the statement once made by Rahm Emanuel, then chief of staff to President Obama back in ’09 when he said never, “Let a good crisis pass you by.”

What he meant was what can we do because of the crisis that we might otherwise not be able to do, so let’s cover three things that could be potential impacts to our industry as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, which we’re all dealing with right now in the present, but we will be there in the future. I’m betting on it. For all of those listening to this, what are the implications of a crisis like this and what does the future look like differently than the past?

Steve Murray:

Number one, there are three things. Number one, we’re moving towards a more distributed workforce throughout the economy. Bet on it. People will find that they can work from home or from small office suites in a more distributed manner and still be highly productive. There are many large companies, Microsoft being the one we’ve read the most about who have already been doing this and found that it works absolutely well in terms of productivity and there’s no decline in the establishment of relationships with the people you’re working for.

So in our industry it means the long awaited decline in the traditional office with dozens, if not hundreds of people congregating in a space of eight to 15,000 square feet from time to time, a factor we’ve known about for years, but done little about truly. This will now tend to push real estate brokerage companies clearly to a more distributed workforce as well in terms of agents and staff and leadership.

Steve Murray:

It means secondly, that many more of the resources we use to run brokerages and to deliver to agents and consumers will just go faster towards where we’ve been heading for years, which is more online distribution, both through online education, online marketing platforms, remote access to databases, large and abundant CRMs. All of these factors now are going to become much more important than just, “Oh, I’d like to have it.” It will be a necessity. I think as a result of this crisis we will be far more distributed than we have been in the past.

Steve Murray:

What it also means, I think number three is that the type of leadership team a brokerage is going to need, is going to change. As opposed to a very solid generalist, which could define the current office manager. I mean they recruit, they retain, they do deal doctoring. They do facilities management, they do personnel management. They focus on the selling of core services and I could keep going.

I think more and more what we may see come out the other side of this is those type of brokerage companies where the men and women who were in leadership of the brokerage per se are more involved in coaching and training and not in deal doctoring to a great extent. That will be turned over to experts who are on a full time basis to work on those matters. And that recruiting will be handled more and more by experts, by people who are focused on that full time.

Steve Murray:

We’re moving, I think to a time when, because of the distributed nature of the agent force, very likely leading brokers will move more towards having specialists who interact with agents, as I said, for coaching and training and encouragement, and we will see recruiting and core services and facilities and deal doctoring move to more specialized departments within a brokerage company.

Steve Murray:

Learn more about industry trends and successful tactics for brokerage firms, agents and teams, as well as listen to past real trending on Apple podcast, Spotify, Google play, and others. Visit This has been Steve Murray, praying that each one of you are safe and healthy along with your families and all the people of your companies.

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