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Success: National Association of Realtors Annual Conference

NAR ConferenceI had the pleasure of attending this year’s National Association of Realtors (“NAR”) conference in San Francisco, California. The conference drew nearly 22,000 Realtors from around the world. The majority of realtors came from the United States, but I met Realtors from Canada, South Africa, France, and other countries. The conference naturally draws some of the top producing Realtors in the country and offers a variety of educational sessions.

I had the opportunity to listen in on the latest residential economic issues and trends from NAR’s chief economist, learn about new technology and tools for global communication, get access to the latest details about top level real estate website domains, and meet the Nashville, TN film director using mini movies to market luxury homes. The diversity of programs and quality of presentations was inspiring, but not so surprising.

According to Zillow, the total 2012 value of the United States housing market was $23.7 trillion (yes trillion with “T”); this conference brings together 22,000 of the most successful realtors who sell that housing inventory. In the Capital Region alone, year to date as of the writing of this article, nearly 19,000 homes have been sold in the Capital Region MLS – valued at over $3.8 billion in sales. It’s very possible we’ll see over 20,000 sales worth over $4 billion in the Capital Region this year.

The pervasive feeling at NAR is the market is improving, sales are growing, and home prices are appreciating. The Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors Dr. Lawrence Yun noted in the last two years we’ve seen a 20% increase in home sales and home prices are up 18%. The consensus forecast among the top 50 economists polled by the Wall Street Journal indicated prices will rise another 5% in 2014. In terms of the home affordability index, this is the fifth most affordable home buying market in the last 40 years thanks in part to historic low mortgage interest rates.

NAR InsideThis year’s conference in San Francisco offered a unique benefit, as it drew many software and technology related companies to the conference expo. Many of these companies were selling brand new cutting edge products. As an independent broker, I was able to test dozens of different products and search out the latest tools that would be most valuable to my clients and my company. I have since brought back software that: interfaces live chat capabilities with my website to assist clients searching for homes, manages clients preferences and shares targeted listings specific to their preferences, and electronically signs contracts and other real estate documents.

Finally, as many of us know the real estate market has moved online. According to the NAR homebuyer’s survey that was just released, 92% of all buyers used the internet in their search for a home. Moreover, the single most important resource homebuyers used in searching for a home was a property website. Eighty-one percent of respondents felt a property website was a very important source of useful real estate information, ahead of all other sources including Realtors. The latest reports and surveys confirm homebuyers are using, but more importantly relying, on the internet to inform their buying choices. A comprehensive website, with professional pictures, such aswww.223Lancster.com can make the difference in attracting the right buyers.

Overall the conference was a great success and I look forward to the opportunity to travel to New Orleans in 2014.