By York Baur, CEO MoxiWorks
As we close out the second quarter of 2020, there remains a lot of uncertainty in the still very prevalent COVID-19 world. Looking back on the last few months though, the real estate industry has pivoted more rapidly than most expected.
We’ve been analyzing the market data closely, waiting to see if there’s another shoe to drop. But, through this whole experience, even when we were at the peak of new COVID-19 cases, we continued to see agents staying in touch with their spheres and people buying and selling homes across the country. This gave us confidence that no matter what happens, homes will continue to transact.
And, while we’re not out of the woods yet, with several cities and states beginning to see another rise in cases, I’m still bullish about the recovery of our industry as we enter the second half of 2020.
The current landscape
We believe in being transparent and honest with our fellow Moxians and have been reviewing market data with the company every week during our company-wide town hall meetings. We want to make sure our entire company has insight into how the real estate market is doing, and what we can be doing to help. While we still believe that no one can truly predict the outcome of this pandemic, there is a lot of data trending into the recovery, some of which is even surpassing data from the same time last year.
Pending Home Sales
In NAR’s most recent report (June 29, 2020) pending home sales spiked 44.3% in May compared to April. This is the highest month-over-month gain since NAR started their Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) series in January 2001.
Our own data shows this same trend. We have over 95% of the US home sale footprint in our systems, allowing us to do additional analysis. For instance, inventory continues to be highly constrained – just take a look at what’s happened over the last year in the chart below – the normal Spring listing season was skipped this year due to the pandemic, and national inventory has been compressed substantially.
Given this low inventory combined with surprisingly good closings, the result is steady prices with even some upward pressure in certain markets. This is particularly true in tech-driven housing markets like San Francisco (grey line in the chart below) and Seattle (blue line), where pricing has been pushed up substantially due to lack of inventory.
Listings & Solds
We’re seeing a continued trend up and to the right for new listings and solds in a given week, which is a great sign of the beginning of recovery. Overall, the year-over-year gap has narrowed, which is a hopeful sign of recovery. It’s also worth noting that following the massive dip at the start of the pandemic, the shape of both curves is following last years – another sign of some return to normalcy in the market.
National vs. Regional Data
One quick note on the data we’ve been reviewing. Because we are a national SaaS company, we tend to focus in on the national housing data, but I know it’s not always enough to just look at the national data, often it’s more pressing to pay close attention to the regional data on listings, pricing and solds. Mike DelPrete has created The Real Estate Market Tracker so you can do a deeper analysis of your regional data. I’m a big fan of Mike’s work – he’s worth following for his insights and analysis.
Leading Indicator: Agent Activity Remains Strong
Everything I’ve shown you in the paragraphs above are lagging indicators, in other words, stuff that’s already happened. It’s easy to fall into the trap of looking at lagging indicators like these and trying to predict the future, but that’s a mistake. Instead, we need to find leading indicators – activities that precede and lead to the outcomes shown above.
For us at MoxiWorks, the leading indicator we look at most closely is agent activity in our products. Our technology has always been about sphere-centricity, helping agents be good with the people they already know and to help them stay in flow with their sphere of influence. In spite of the industry’s obsession with leads, the reality is that the agents that command the vast majority of the transactions have their sphere of influence to thank as their primary source of business. Therefore, when agents use our CRM, presentation tool, and other products to interact with their sphere of influence, it’s a very accurate predictor of future business.
One of the best of these leading indicators for us comes from MoxiPresent, MoxiWorks’ presentation product. While it’s a general-purpose tool for presenting to consumers in many different ways, a primary use is for presenting seller presentations, or CMAs. Our historical analysis of this data shows that it’s a great predictor of new listing inventory 60 days from when the listing presentation is delivered to the homeowner.
At the end of June, the volume of MoxiPresent listing presentations created is almost the same as last year. So, while total inventory will take a while to even out, we’ve historically been able to predict the highs and lows of future transactions based on the number of MoxiPresent presentations being created. As you can see in the pink line in the chart below, seller presentations have recovered to last year’s levels after a severe dip at the beginning of the pandemic. This implies that there will be a rebound in new listing inventory in the coming 60 days – a great sign that there’s some relief for the tight inventory situation coming soon.
Additionally, when we look at product usage across all of our products year over year almost everything is increasing week over week and year over year even as we embark on month four of this global pandemic and uncertainty. All positive signs.
Where we go from here
When this all started at the beginning of March, we shared the three principles we planned to live by which were to: be optimistic, be supportive, be productive.
We’ve seen so much creativity, ingenuity, and positivity from the real estate industry and we are looking forward to seeing how the industry continues to hold steady, push forward and help our economy recovery in the months to come.
By Tiana Baur
Data is the currency you will need in order to exist in the very, very near future. The real estate industry won’t be able to stick their heads in the sand on this one, especially since the majority of industries are already embracing data with open arms. Brokerage data is quickly becoming the soul of the brokerage business that keeps its heart beating and its legs moving.
Why this is happening
The thing many don’t realize, is that data isn’t just a list of numbers. Data is what integration is literally made of. Data = integration. Ever wonder how you could log in to your brokerage’s intranet and have everything you need right there? The answer: Data.
Everything is moving to the cloud. Data gets stored and managed in the cloud. Much of it gets stored and managed by Amazon Web Services. Their data saw revenues soar to over $12.2B in 2016. Salesforce, another data management platform, generated $6.67B in fiscal 2016 revenue. Last quarter, Microsoft’s commercial cloud business exceeded a $10B annual run rate. The company is still projecting this number to hit $20B by 2018.
Data is taking over the world and brokerages have no choice but to hop on the bandwagon. The future of the brokerage depends on how they manage their data.
Data is useless if it doesn’t work flawlessly together and isn’t stored in a shared environment. Picture your brokerage data like an ecosystem. Remember those miniature ecosystems built in a plastic bottle that every generation has to make in their elementary science class?
An ecosystem is a collection of complimentary applications all working together, sharing data, that make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
Any computer you’ve ever used in the modern age has its own ecosystem. Whether it’s that Epson printer you’re using or the many applications you go through in a day like Skype, QuickBooks, or Adobe, everything works together as soon as you install it. If you don’t like an application, you delete it and get another one. It’s as simple as that.
Our open platform is where your brokerage apps get their data. The three core data sources of a brokerage data exchange are:
- Property data
- Brokerage and agent data
- Consumer data
How to cope
Whether you’re climbing 29,035 feet up Mt. Everest, the tallest point on earth, or looking to grow your brokerage – preparation is key. A solid data exchange plan isn’t something that can happen for a brokerage overnight, unless they choose to get advice and help from the experts.
For instance, many might say that a brokerage platform only needs to have those three data points working seamlessly together. But that’s just not true. When it comes to a truly open platform, they should also have integration with the cloud environment with Microsoft and Google and an open API allowing other technologies to integrate. API is what allows the integration to happen.
Moral of the story: educate yourself, so you can future-proof your brokerage today for what’s to come.
Looking to the future
This isn’t meant to scare brokerages, it’s meant to warn them. While many things in the future are uncertain and we can’t know for sure exactly what will happen and when, we do know that data will be the star of that show. Whether it’s Amazon, Netflix, or the brokerage down the street, businesses will survive and thrive with the data they have and the way they each choose to use it. The conqueror of data will be the conqueror of business and vice versa.
Our entire existence at Moxi Works is built on the goal to make brokerages more profitable by making their agents more productive. Agent recruiting and retention will always exist and while it does, we’ll exist to make it easier for the brokerage to do just that. If this all sounds super overwhelming and you have a slight headache, it’s probably time to pick up the phone and call someone that can advise you and simplify this major step to provide your brokerage with a solid future. Hint: Moxi Works is chalk full of advisors.
With advancements in technologies, brokers are finding that they need to advance their brokerages as well in order to keep up. This doesn’t have to be a drastic, impromptu change, though. We’re challenging brokers to take a step back and think about how they can put systems in place within their brokerage that will align with the changing technological environment of the industry.
Data is power
“More data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race.” – AnalyticsWeek.com
Data is the currency that will give you an ROI on your technology. Data exchange improves productivity and optimizes operations acrossorganizations in all industries. Real estate is no exception, and we’re already seeing that those brokerages who adopt technologies with consideration for the future, are making significant advancements as a business. Data exchange is what enables an agent to auto-fill MLS information into their presentation, managers to see how for their agents are to their unique GCI goals, brokerages to manage their organization’s roster, and financial success.
Open platform allows fast integrations
The ‘plug and play’ concept is great (we clearly live by it), but only if the plugging and playing can be done quickly. Changing technologies can be incredibly painful and costly for businesses and it’s a major pain point for brokerages in today’s world. The reason brokerages are opting for an open platform API is to hedge against these problems in the future, as the solution enables fast integration of new technologies.
The API (Application Programming Interface) is the key to the open platform. It allows brokerages to plug and play the tools they need into one platform. It means that you have the exact technology solutions you need, when you need them. We integrated 12 tool and service providers within two months. That means within just a couple of months, our brokerage clients had a dozen more technology solutions at their fingertips and they’re able to use what they’d like and forget what they don’t.
From the partner’s perspective, it means they’re able to easily integrate with the Moxi Works platform, sharing critical data and improving the user’s workflow. Interested in learning a little more about how the technical integration works? Check out this interview with Melissa Kwan, CEO of Spacio, about how they launched Spacio to a major brokerage in just 2 days with the Moxi Cloud. From the brokers perspective, it means you can easily onboard new tools to your entire brokerage quickly and easily.
A changing environment
Change isn’t somewhere off in the future, it’s happening now. The real estate industry is faced with the opportunity to adapt, embracing technology that will make brokerages more efficient, winning back higher profit margins. Flexibility is vital, as brokerages that stay nimble and adopt the tools that fit their needs, culture, and process, will find success in providing their agents with tools and services that address their pain points. We like to call this flexibility ‘future-proofing.’ Those who strive to be industry leaders (big or small) will advance along with the changing environment.
An agent’s sphere is the lifeblood of their business, but staying on top of hundreds of clients and leads can be exhausting and time consuming. Wouldn’t it be great to immediately know details about their sphere and know when they are likely to list their homes? Public data can make all the difference.
Enter Moxi Insights
Moxi Insights is a newly released feature of our Moxi Engage CRM and is no doubt changing the game for sphere marketing with the help of public data. Moxi Insights gives quick and organized client information to agents through their CRM, from general demographics, housing info, lifestyle choices, financials, and hobbies to where clients/prospects donate and invest their money. Agents can potentially see if their clients have pets, certain cars, or if they’re a value shopper.
Notifications and badges let you see when people in your sphere are looking to downsize or could afford a larger home, and if they’re highly likely to buy or sell. All to make it easier for agents to maintain control of their sphere, and of course, save them some precious time.
The public data is there, but how are you going to take full advantage of it?
We’ve put together a list of the top 10 ways to use Moxi Insights to its fullest:
1. Send investment opportunities to investors.
2. Invite all your sports fans to a night out at the ballpark. Buy ’em a ticket, a beer and a hotdog. Save some money by taking them to a minor-league game (which are typically very fun and engaging BTW).
3. Send all the highly-likely-to-sell people your “How to list your home” guide. Moxi Insights lets you know when someone is highly-likely-to-sell.
4. Send about to be empty nesters your “Downsizing tips from the pros” guide. Moxi Insights informs you when people are probably thinking of downsizing.
5. Send invitations to the local gallery walk night to all the art fans. Do a meetup with them. Offer to buy them a glass of vino.
6. Got a boat and a bunch of boating fans? Invite them to a meet up on the lake. Have everyone tie up together and do a barbeque on your boat.
7. Quickly and easily learn more info about the internet leads you receive.
8. Learn the interests of your client or almost-client to buy them the perfect “thank you”, “happy birthday”, or closing gift.
9. Got a bunch of literature fans? Invite ’em to a local bookstore with a cafe and offer to buy ’em coffee and a scone.
10. If anyone has a badge, send an unsolicited CMA, a handwritten note, text or Facebook message them for a coffee date just to chat and catch up. Spend extra time with them – not necessarily talking about anything on the Insights report, but reconnecting with them at the perfect time.
The goal is to keep it real and find the human connection when you are working to engage and convert new leads or keep in touch with your sphere. Moxi Insights helps you do just that with the use of public data.
Here’s another look at Moxi Insights:
Like all Moxi Works products, Moxi Insights is mobile optimized through the Moxi Engage CRM and can be accessed on any handheld device, laptop, or tablet.
Find out more about Moxi Insights, our other products, and what the Moxi Cloud is all about right here.