The green initiative has become a major trend in America over the past several years. Everyone wants to reduce their carbon footprint and live healthier and do things that involve the word “sustainable.” As a major trend in the country, we have seen this initiative affect many different areas of life, including the real estate industry.
We have already experienced the infiltration of certain green products in our living spaces and how many eco-friendly homes have popped up in the market. Green products and houses attempt to lessen the hazardous effects that humans may have on the environment and create a healthier lifestyle for all. As people become more knowledgeable and careful with the environment, we will continue to see eco-friendly ideas as major trends of the future.
But what will those trends lead into? Currently we are working toward a greener and more environmentally friendly lifestyle, but what is the ultimate goal of these practices? Many would say we want to achieve true sustainability, where we live harmoniously with the environment and are able to benefit from nature without destroying it, allowing for future generations to do the same. The green initiative helps us do just that.
In terms of real estate and the housing market, this means that we are trending towards greener living arrangements, AKA eco-cities. An eco-city is an entire city that is designed to function smoothly for human life while, at the same time, producing no negative externalities for the environment. There are already many eco-cities in existence (with Tianjin, China being the largest) and others in still in the planning stages. Chicago is currently not considered an eco-city, but it has become considerably more eco-friendly. However, as the green trends continue, we can expect more eco-cities to rise up.
The more popular these cities become, the higher the demand will be for people to build and purchase these homes. As the market becomes more densely inhabited by green homes and eco-cities, it may be who of you to better understand the ins and outs of the green market. And if you find yourself on the buying end of an eco-city property, don’t think that these homes are just for hippies trying to become one with nature. These houses offer many benefits for humans too.
Today marks the start of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, where the innovative tech giant is expected to announce their entry into the smart home market. That’s right, smart homes, not just smart phones.
A smart home is a house where all electronic devices can be controlled via a remote system in a phone, tablet, computer, or the user’s voice. This includes heating, lighting, security and other appliances. No longer will you have to suffer through the agonizing uncertainty of whether you forgot to turn off the stove or lock the front door on your way out, the smart home system will put your mind at ease. You can adjust these devices from anywhere with your remote control. Certain smart home technology can even detect when you’ve left and will monitor your home to keep it at the settings you’ve typically preferred. I know, pretty reminiscent of the Jetson’s house.
So now you’re wondering how this new technology will affect the real estate market. Well, experts at the Eindhoven University of Technology have written an interesting paper on the subject, which you can read here (fair warning though, it’s a whopping 16 pages). The introduction of smart homes could cause major changes for real estate in terms of insurance, leisure, home security, education, and data collection.
While this technology may seem very futuristic and improbable, it is actually a lot more imminent than we may believe. There are already tons of home automation products for sale and there are several smart homes currently on the market (I hear Bill Gates has had some great smart home technology for years). Experts in the field have marked smart homes and home automation systems as a major trend of 2014. Sales of these products are expected to increase to $9.5 billion by 2015 and to $44 billion in 2017.
Here are some comments from Baird & Warner’s own Tom Gill.
Everyone’s favorite VP of digital innovation, Baird & Warner’s very own Eric Bryn has been selected to join a panel with 5 others to talk about how to make buying a home “as easy as buying a latte” at Real Estate Connect in New York City from January 16th – 18th at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Bryn and the other panelists will discuss their experiences and insights as to how to achieve what some are calling the “Latte Vision.” This vision is based off one of the most successful coffee companies of all time, Starbucks. It involves a fast, easy, and efficient relationship between the barista and the consumer. The panel will focus on how Real Estate can be made this easy.
Bryn credits his biggest success at Baird & Warner to what he is calling, “Web+social+mobile+integrated.” This CRM system began with a small group of agents as a prototype to work on and test the program, and it will eventually be accessible to all of B&W’s 1,500 agents. This CRM program will include several Google applications, making the process smoother and easier. It will help clients and agents get immediate, and relevant results. Bottom line, it all revolves around exceptional customer service.
Bryn joined Baird & Warner in October 2010, which was chosen by the Chicago Tribune this year as third best place to work in the Chicago area. After working for eight years for Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, he moved to Baird & Warner where he now focuses on data systems that can deliver a better experience.
You can find more information about Eric Bryn and his thoughts on web and social media integration in customer relationship management here in an article from Inman News written by Andrea Brambila or on his personal blog here.
Baird & Warner was honored to receive two Agents’ Choice awards on Wednesday night at the Chicago Agent Magazine annual award ceremony. The awards were for Best Upper Bracket and Best Brokerage Website. Key Mortgage also won Lender of the Year.
Here in Business Development we are particularly excited about winning the award for Best Brokerage Website. BairdWarner.com was redesigned this past year thanks to the team efforts of Eric Bryn, John D’Ambrogio, Jim Schiefeldbein, and The Active Enterprise Network. The redesign included new tools such as the advanced property and lifestyle searches, as well as agent websites and individual property websites.
Being the agent’s choice for best website solidifies the effectiveness of the site’s improvements and innovations. Jennifer Alter Warden, President of Baird & Warner Residential Sales, said the Chicago Agent Magazine’s Agent Choice awards are different from other awards Baird & Warner has won due to the fact that it comes directly from the agents.
“Our business’ success is a direct result of the skilled and knowledgeable broker associates who are helping their clients buy and sell every day,” said Warden. “We are honored to be chosen by Chicagoland’s real estate professionals to receive these awards.”
Having a website that is current, easy to use, and full of valuable information to both agents and clients is of high importance and we are very grateful for this award. Congratulations to all the winners and check out the Best Brokerage Website in the Chicagoland!
Some comments from Baird & Warner Intern Elizabeth McGrath
Frank Patitucci of Mobility Magazine wrote a great article about the future of relocation and how technology will affect it. Below are some excerpts and some of our comments.
The world of technology is fast paced, and literally changing all the time. Soon after I purchased the newest Iphone, I was already 2 generations of newest technology behind. My younger sister’s elementary school has a cart of Ipads that students use to learn, and more and more things that used to be done by people are being converted into machines. Frank Patitucci points out several examples of this in his article The Next Generation of Relocation Services in Mobility Magazine. He writes that Bank tellers, travel agents, and stock brokers are all becoming less relevant due to the influx of ATM’s, online travel websites, and stock trading websites.
While the business world is always growing and changing, I have trouble seeing a day where technology completely replaces a relocation service. The process is too involved for an app to simply come in and replace what a relocation consultant can offer. An app cannot provide an opinion, or think and adapt to the wishes of a client. An app can never provide the personal relationship that working with an associate can bring.
That’s not to say however that business apps and mobile technology will not change the way we work: it almost certainly will. As technology improves, so will the method in which we conduct business and the process in general. Hopefully, it will make parts of relocation progression easier and simpler. I’m not a technology expert, but I don’t think technology will ever be able to completely replace a role that is so focused on human relations; at least not any time soon.
Baird & Warner, the nation’s oldest real estate firm, recently launched what can only be described as one of the coolest, EASIEST tools to gather “on the fly” information on housing. Have you ever been in front of a property wishing you could see the inside or know the price RIGHT NOW?
You have a way to do that – With Baird & Warner’s Texting Solution, simply text BW to 59559 and instantly receive information and photos on your mobile device. You will received text and basic listing info, and photos, on your smartphones or cell phones for any active property in MRED.
Here’s how it works…Mr. or Ms. consumer texts BW to 59559 and receives a response text in which they can click the GPS link – which displays listing info and pictures of the five closest listings for sale/rent to their current location, or they can text back the address for the same info. Once your GPS is locked in it gets even easier – You can move on down the street and click “refresh” in front of the next home of interest.
I know, I know, QR codes are way way COOLER, right? Maybe they are, but are they universally and easily accessible? I know all the COOLER people who read this blog have a very advanced smartphone (and blog, and have 800 linked in contacts, etc.). That is great, but here is a chilling statistic – only 1/3 of the phones in the market are ‘smart,’ and to gain universal acceptance in 2011 I’m afraid we still need to acknowledge that people (not you, of course) use what my children refer to as “old time” phones. Now my image on an old timer phone was one where you picked up the phone and asked Clara to connect you go HUdson 3-2700, but that’s another story.
So grab your phone (smart of dumb) and start shopping!
Inman’s recent “reboot” in Chicago featured a fantastic session – “Going Local: What Does It Take to Win in Chicago Real Estate?”
Panelists included this blog’s own John D’Ambrogio, VP Director of Strategic Development, for Baird & Warner. D’Ambrogio focused on the “web is dead” theory – That while the internet may be alive and well, “the web” or reliance on google, has waned in the past years. One historic date mentioned was March 13th, 2010, the date that Facebook surpassed Google in weekly hits and activity. Why is that important in both the real world and the real estate world?
It means that online is a lot more about “getting” and a lot less about “searching.” As they say – “there’s an app for that.” Consumers may start their day checking facebook, then, email, then “gmail,” then their weather app, their favorite news via a self-selected news feed (rss), and work through a “dashboard” all day at work, and listen to “pandora” instead of the radio. The KNOW where to be online and once they find their personal cache of tools they tend to remain on them and let those tools find the news/weather, updates, real estate listings, etc. for them.
This evolution speaks to the migration of sites built for laptops (let’s not even discuss “desktops”) to those built for phones (iphones, droids, even “old fashioned” flip phones and blackberries) and now the lightening migration to iPads. Mobile internet adoption is in fact 8x faster than regular web adoption growth was.
For real estate professionals, it means consumers want it FREE, ADAPTABLE, and ON THEIR TERMS.
This means they never pay for access, they can access properties on multiple devices with ease, and they have real estate IDX options (meaning they can search without registration).
Does your real estate agency give you those things?
In this video, hear John Sable, Active Web, Boulder CO, discuss the web 2.0 environment and the way it affects how transferees search for properties. Hear how google has become even more important to the way people search.
Or a twit? Twittee? Not sure of the proper name here. HOWEVER, the point is if you’re relocating into our out of Chicago you really should ask your agent if they’re promoting your listing via social networking — Facebook (yes, my agents get leads on in, and the savvy ones post their listings and open houses there); syndicating your video tours to www.youtube.com; using Linked In (by feeding blog posts about your listings there) and finally – TWITTER.
It takes awhile to get over the self-importance one must place on themselves to write micro-blogs and send them to their “followers.” However, the truth is – 11% of online American use Twitter, according to a research report conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project in December and released today. The number in November was 9%. In may it was 6%. I wish my stock portfolio was showing those increases since May.
Someday we’ll chat about the really weird ones lik Hulu and Veoh. By the time I write about those, they’ll probably me mainstream as well.
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