Bold Predictions – An Overview of Brian Buffini’s 2019 Real Estate Predictions

If you don’t know who Brian Buffini is, he made a name for himself by becoming an extremely successful and respected real estate agent in Southern California after immigrating here from Ireland with absolutely no money starting out. Now, he is even more so recognized for his coaching programs that train agents all over the world how to become, and remain, successful in the Real Estate industry.

I recently completed Brian’s Peak Producers training course, it was a 12 week training where we reviewed everything from building out your database, to getting buyers of the fence, to how to manage your finances as a real estate person. It was a fantastic course, many agents were taking it for the second or third time just to get a refresher on how to get back to the fundamentals of your business and utilize them to be successful.

Every year Brain makes some “Bold Predictions” about what may happen in the upcoming year. This year he talked about what the changes in the market and the industry in general are going to mean for the economy as well as agents themselves. His talk really struck home for me for a couple reasons; First, he spoke about how it has been so difficult for agents to stay focused on the fundamentals of their business because of all the new investment in real estate technology. All of these new companies that claim to be the one agents NEED to get more leads, are constantly distracting us from doing what’s really important to our business – creating & maintaining genuine relationships. Brian shared some very interesting data:

In 2010 there was $30 Million of venture capital invested into Real Estate Technology

In 2017 there was $12 Billion…. To reiterate… $12 Billion… invested into technology centered around the real estate industry

In 2018, $15 Billion was invested…

These tech companies are trying to figure out how to influence the customer, find a “qualified lead” for agents and then pretty much tell you their technology is necessary for you to be successful. But the statistic the REALLY jumped out at me and brought all of this together was:

In 2009, 9% of buyers and sellers found their real estate agent online… in 2018, 9% of buyers and sellers found their real estate agent online – AND almost half of those 9% already had prior knowledge of their agent.

For the SAME percentage of people, in 2009 AND in 2018, to find their agent online, after billions and billions of dollars are being invested into this “groundbreaking” technology, is really eye opening. As Brain said, “91% of the talk is about 9% of the business.” All of this has lead to such a tremendous lack of focus for agents, and I can personally see how it has affected me. I have been suckered into paying $50/month for a software I was convinced would help me expand my business and become the neighborhood expert. Sure, these companies may be able to provide good data and information, but to waste time and money thinking a new technology will make you successful in the Residential Real Estate business is obviously not being backed up by any numbers thus far.

Buffini’s principals revolve around sticking to the fundamentals of building lasting relationships, being able to provide a high level of service, and mastering the skills it takes to be a successful agent. When you focus on these things FIRST, and then layer in technology and online marketing, there is no doubt you will be successful.

For me, this was a giant “ah-ha” moment. It’s what our managing brokers have been telling me, what the Peak Producers class precisely broke down, but in my head I thought that, “If I’m on the front end of all this new technology and digital marketing, that’s how I’ll get ahead of all these dated agents and connect with millennials.” BUT, the funny thing is that Brain pulled out another statistic about Millennials vs. Baby Boomers and the generations in between:

In regards to loyalty after receiving great customer service, Baby Boomers have a 62% rate of being loyal to that provider of service, while millennials have a 78% rate of being loyal to the person or business that provided them with great service.

If you go above and beyond to provide better service than what is expected, that’s what gains the most trust in Millennials and keeps them coming back. I personally think that Millennials have been so immersed in a culture that is so surface level, where you never truly know what’s real. So if you are able to provide real, genuine service to a millennial, it makes an impact and they will trust you. I believe that more than ever, honesty and integrity mean the most to our next generation. My goal for 2019 is to focus even more on building quality relationships with my clients, people I do business with and other professionals I interact with. Relationships have always been important, but now you have to dive much deeper than surface level to really connect.

The second main point that really stuck out to me was his prediction about agents in 2019. He said, “The 2019 real estate market is going to be one of the best professionals markets in a long time.” What does he mean by this? Because of the way the market is changing, homes for sale are going to spend more days on the market, so agents are going to have to be comfortable coming to their seller about a price reduction. Interest rates are also on the rise, which in general is a sign of a strong economy, but 73% of Realtors have never worked in a market where interest rates were above 5%. All of this really adds up to agents not getting commission checks as quickly, so we will have to manage our cash flow more wisely and be even more in check with our lead generation and prospecting – All attributes that true professionals manage on a daily basis.

At the end of Brians’ bold predictions, Brian gave his advice on what agents should be focusing on:

Invest in relationships, connect and then layer in marketing

Stand out with service, have an exceptional ability to benefit another

Mastering skills necessary for all around professional service

These bold predictions really summarize where the real estate industry is moving, how it’s changing and what agents need to do to adapt. I constantly hear experienced agents saying that, “This is the hardest time to be an agent.” Maybe it’s difficult because of all the competition and changing market conditions, but I think by sticking to the fundamentals of this business, that really haven’t changed in 40+ years, will lead to long term success.

Technology is no doubt an important part of our lives in general, and incorporating it into our business is necessary for future success, but when it causes us to lose focus of what’s really important and what in the end makes us profitable, that’s when it is a distraction and not beneficial to the business of a real estate agent.