How Realtors Keep Up with the Ever-Changing Housing Market

From the latest technology to Airbnb, the real estate industry is changing at an unprecedented pace.

The housing industry—and the real estate market that supports it—are known for their volatile nature. But now, as the economy continues to recover from the crash and recession, it seems like the changes that realtors need to keep up with in order to be successful are happening at an even faster rate.

That’s what Lori Wyatt—a realtor and managing broker for Keller Williams in Chicago—has found to be true after 20 plus years in the business. She originally broke into the industry by accident—she accompanied her friend to an apartment locating service, and the team there interviewed her on the spot. Wyatt worked specifically with apartments before getting involved with condo development and conversion and eventually residential real estate.

With that wide array of experience under her belt, Wyatt has seen just about every type of problem come up. But she says that when it comes to today’s real estate market, there’s one common challenge that stands above the rest.

“The biggest challenge facing the real estate industry today is the fact that it’s so much harder for people to get money. Finding clients is the easy part—the real question is whether or not those clients will be able to secure a loan,” said Wyatt. “Even when potential homebuyers have substantial assets, banks are funny about what can be counted versus what needs to be excluded. There’s a real tightening of lending qualifications happening across the board.”

But even though the housing and real estate industries still face major hurdles, there are changes being made today that enhance the overall experience. The biggest is technology—from contact management software to social media, realtors have more tools and resources at their disposal to build their businesses than ever before. New services like Airbnb are also creating a new normal for the industry. And for realtors and entrepreneurs like Wyatt, they’re creating another revenue stream.

“I listed one of my own properties on Airbnb because I was done dealing with regular renters. The response was immediate—within a month I was booked almost every day. I couldn’t be happier with how that part of my business is going,” Wyatt said. “And Airbnb isn’t just good for consumers, would be renters and realtors. The service also helps cities boost development and economic activity in neighborhoods that wouldn’t normally get much traffic.”

Despite the rapidly changing real estate industry, there are still a few constants that hold up over time. The value that realtors bring to the table in the home buying and selling processes has not gone away—in fact, Wyatt says working with a realtor can cut through the noise that endless technology and options create.

“The most important thing to do when you’re thinking about working with a realtor is ask questions. Find out how well your agent knows the area that you want to live in, because it can make all the difference,” said Wyatt. “A good realtor will know the latest housing trends and numbers. That expertise shouldn’t be overlooked, especially in today’s market.”