WATCH: Fend off the competition from new brokerage models

August 31 2018

From Redfin to Purplebricks to Opendoor and beyond, the real estate landscape is rife with disruptive new brokerages that tinker not just with technology, but with the brokerage model itself.

How can your brokerage compete--for both recruiting top agents and converting consumer leads--in today's brave new world?

That's the question we answered in a recent webinar. We were joined by Erica Ramus, broker/owner of Ramus Realty Group in Pennsylvania. As an early adopter and self-professed technology geek, Erica runs a traditional model brokerage that not only competes with emerging models, but thrives.

How does Ramus Realty Group do it? Watch the webinar recording below to find out:

Webinar Guests

  • Erica Ramus, Broker/Owner of Ramus Realty Group
  • Christine Sugimoto, Sr. Product and Partner Marketing Manager at Docusign
  • Moderator: Marilyn Wilson, Co-founder and President, RE Technology

Video Timeline

0:00 - Moderator Marilyn Wilson introduces the topic and panelists.

1:00 - Christine Sugimoto takes the mic to offer background on what's happening in the industry. There's downward pressure on commissions, and NAR's 2018 Member Profile shows that Realtors' average gross income dropped 6 percent within a year. This affects brokers as well as agents, as many brokers operate on a commission split model.

2:26 - Christine provides an overview of what's causing the downward pressure on commissions, including economic and competitive pressures, and how consumer knowledge has evolved over the last five years.

3:53 - A look at the array of new brokerage models that have emerged: traditional commission fees for sellers, compressed commission fees for sellers, flat-fee for sellers, iBuyers, etc. High competition for listings means downward pressure on commissions.

8:23 - What do all of these very different brokerage models have in common? 1) They recognize the importance of the human element in a transaction. 2) They're all heavily reliant on technology to lower overhead costs and increase agent productivity.

10:28 - Five steps to building your technology platform: considerations for choosing right technology for your brokerage.

13:38 - Marilyn introduces Erica Ramus, the tech-forward broker/owner of Ramus Realty Group. She runs a small, boutique office in rural Pennsylvania. They're "small but mighty," with seven agents that do 200+ transaction sides per year.

15:13 - Erica shares her secret to her agents' high level of productivity. Key is in being an early adopter of technology, and only hiring full-time agents who are willing to work the brokerage's system.

16:24 - Erica talks about her market's competitive landscape, and how her firm differentiates itself.

18:05 - How Ramus Realty Group connects with consumers to win their business.

19:40 - Erica shares how she first started introducing tech into her business. She's a "geek at heart," and paid for zipForm herself when it first came out because her broker at the time would not. Believes technology making life easier for not only agents, but also for consumers.

21:23 - How Erica screens new agents before hiring them, especially for their willingness and ability to work with technology.

23:33 - Overview of the tools Ramus Realty Group has introduced that makes agents' lives easier. DocuSign Transaction Rooms and online signing is no. 2 for them.

26:08 - The steps did Ramus takes to ensure adoption of their tools and processes.

30:12 - Erica's recommendation to other "non-geek" brokers who want to keep up with technology, and how to choose a system.

35:00 - What's on Ramus Realty Group's shortlist for must-have technology?

38:15 - Erica's thoughts on the threat of new brokerage models, and the surprising aspect of them that concerns her most.

39:57 - What promising future technology excites Erica? She talks about the potential of blockchain, and how artificial intelligence isn't a threat to the industry.

45:40 - Erica's final thoughts. She stresses the importance of professionalism and always asking, 'What does today's consumer want?'

47:18 - Question and answer segment.

54:12 - Where to get more info about DocuSign, and how to claim your free copy of their guide to building a technology platform for your brokerage.

Next Steps