Steve Murray on M&A in real estate
In this episode, Steve Murray, RealTrends advisor and industry stalwart, discusses an update on the merger and acquisition market in real estate, how brokers and leaders can support staff during unprecedented times, as well as some lessons learned that can help brokerages moving forward.
Here is a small preview of the interview, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity:
M&A market: Brokerage companies have proven to be durable and they turn out to be, as we thought a long time ago, great platforms to cross-market mortgage, title, escrow, and residential property management. The reasons why people would be interested in these companies are not strange. These are good companies and they are companies that have survived, many of them throught thick and thin, through good times and bad. But all of these companies have different objectives and different firms they’re looking at.
Supporting teams through COVID-19: Our second topic has to do with taking care of each other. In all of the discussions we’ve had with brokerage companies in the last three to six months, obviously great companies and great agents, it is a frenzy of buying and selling of homes over the last six or eight months. It’s something like we have never quite seen before in the real estate industry’s history, or certainly not since 2004 and 2005. The thing that’s important is not to overlook is, number one, how did we get through the pandemic and what did leaders do that helped them get through the pandemic?
Well, they immediately adopted new forms of communication, like Zoom and Google Meets and Microsoft Teams and others, and they increased the frequency and the richness of what they were offering as a means to stay in touch, be encouraging and provide new information and to provide training. Also, just to let staff and agents know that the owners were still on top of it, we’re still watching out for them, we’re still going forward.
Lessons learned: We’ve learned that Americans really appreciate the ownership of a home, wherever it might be. Further, they appreciate more than one home when they can afford it as a place to retreat to or escape to. We’ve learned that their use of agents hasn’t diminished whatsoever, even in the face of all the real estate tech firms that would like consumers to believe that they don’t really need agents or don’t need to pay them for the valued service they bring. We also learned that the closer we got to our people, the more we communicated with them, the more information we conveyed, the more care we shared, the stronger our companies got.
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