Takeaways from Inman Connect

This week, our HAAR / NALMLS CEO Josh McFall attended the Inman Connect conference in San Francisco. Inman Connect is a twice a year gathering of real estate leaders, technology companies, association/MLS leadership, brokers, and agents from across the world. Inman Connect is produced by Inman News (inman.com). Here are a few of Josh’s notes from the week:


– My big takeaway: A speaker said, “Comparison is the Thief of Joy,” then went on to talk about how fast the industry is changing and how many “latest/greatest” things there are now in Real Estate, but keeping in mind that quote, don’t compare yourself to others instead do what’s best for your clients and customers.


-There was lots of buzz at this conference, as we’ve heard at many national meetings lately,  about the amount of money being invested into the real estate industry. Industry experts believe real estate tech companies and brokerages will raise over $3billion dollars by the end of 2018, making this the largest investment in those innovating the industry in history.


-Inman spent a lot of time on stage interviewing the key leaders from companies doing really innovative things. Two main points from these conversation came about related to what they coined “Agent Enabled Technology” — tech companies that are powered by agent participation and data, and also “Tech Enabled Agents” — agents who utilize tech and data powered through MLS and Brokerage data. There were lots of discussions from speakers about which of these models would become the future of real estate.


– A property management company in the Bay Area who spoke about the usage of smart home technology like Alexa and Google Home in their rental properties. The company has built artificial intelligence into the Amazon Alexa to notify tenants when their rent is due, and then asks them if they’d like to pay it. Just by telling Alexa “yes” their rent is deducted from their account. And they are developing the next piece to allow the renter to tell Alexa that they have a maintenance issue, and Alexa will dispatch a service request and also provide the tenant with tips on how to fix certain issues. Wow.


-An economist on stage said, “5+% mortgage rates could bring housing price corrections in 2019.”
-Here are some great apps and websites shared by speakers for use in marketing:
  – Videorama – Video marketing app
  – Videolicious – Video marketing app
  – Death to Stock Photo – free stock photos to use in marketing
  – Unsplash – stock photos
  – Pixabay – stock photos
  – Grammarly – email marketing program to write better email
  – BeLive.tv  – facebook live app to overlay your branding and some production to fb live video.
  – WordSwag – instagram marketing app
  – Storeo – instagram marketing app


– In a session titled, “Are you Toys R Us or Amazon?” – panelists talked about client service vs. client experience using the changes to shopping experiences for retail. They quoted Jeff Bezos from Amazon who said, “Customers are divinely discontent.” This was a challenge to the industry to constantly ask the question, “ What can we do better for our customers?”


-On the heels of this session an overlaid theme all week was to ADAPT to get better and to thrive in the new real estate world.


-There was an entire track on Data and the MLS. Here was the most interesting takeaways from that track:
Tech Trends in Real Estate ( by Marilyn Wilson from WAV Group)
1. Business intelligence driving business profitability
2. Broker driven regional collaborations simplifying data access
3. Data standardization fueling speed to market and innovation
4. MLS data fueling plug n’ play broker applications
5. Evolving role for MLSs supporting broker differentiation
6. Nationwide MLS/Broker data collaboration movement reaches critical mass
7. Artificial intelligence fueling next gen research
8. Regional/national data access getting easier
9. Block chain for organizational data sharing
10. Our role with real estate data – curiosity, courage, conviction


Some of the major challenges facing the industry:
-Eroding margins for brokerages and companies are driving change.
-Customers now demand transparency in every piece of a real estate transaction.
-Increased discussion about more open access to listing and off-market data. (DOJ/FTC currently debating this in Washington.)
-There is increased pressure to keep agents and brokerages relevant in the changing business.


Note: These are just some of the highlights from my notes. 

Marilyn Wilson from WAV Group facilitating the Data and MLS Track.