Mortgage pros face balancing act between customer experience, new tech

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Mortgage and real estate professionals are navigating new technology to support a better consumer experience and grow their customer base, but those who lose sight of the end goal are in danger, according to Remax CEO Adam Contos.

"Tech is going to replace the agents that are not good at what they do. There's this interweaving of technology and people and professionals, and the agents that don't understand, they are threatened," said Contos.

"The agents that are full-time professionals, that understand how to leverage what they have, the tools and technology, and build those relationships — I spend a lot of time with agents that are scaling their business beyond belief, adding dozens of transactions a year — they get it, those agents are safe," he continued.

Contos was among speakers at Inman Connect New York 2019 on Wednesday.

The key to success in the current market climate is leveraging resources that integrate with and provide value to consumers, but at times professionals are distracted by new tools and either are not confident in using them or may be deploying initiatives that don't ultimately support their focus.

"There are a lot of distractive operations going on, things that are pulling people away from their core business fundamentals," said Contos.

Even in a tight market, participants in housing-related industries can become more prepared by better managing their resources and time. This means utilizing not only technology, but connections.

"For me it became about, 'how do I make a business of volume? How do I have as many clients as possible at any given time so that if one ball drops from the air, and a deal dies, it's not the end of the world' — and you do that through leverage, and you do that through other people and you do that through amazing time management," said Ryan Serhant, associate broker at Nest Seekers International and reality television star on Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing New York."

Having a solid customer base, even in a down market, comes from building relationships with people even before they may be ready to enter the market.

"How do you make as many friends as possible so that when they're ready to sell, or buy or rent, they'll go to you?" added Serhant.

Another piece of this puzzle is being able to work well with other market players and professionals. While Remax may recognize Zillow as competition, both exist in the same ecosystem and can use each other to their advantage.

"I think their portals supply a lot of business to our customers," said Contos in response to whether or not Zillow is a Remax "friend or foe."

"The ones that want to continue to help our customers grow their business are relevant in the marketplace. Competitors are competitors, but this is a cooperative environment so we all have to figure out a way to work together. They're here, so let's figure out a way to work together," he continued.

Ultimately, the players successfully navigating the balance between tech, resources and connections are likely to have a solid customer base, which they may want to leverage by adding other revenue streams to scale their profitability.

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Real estate Mortgage technology Housing market Customer experience Remax
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