Digital transformation in real estate: Nick Bailey, President and CEO at Century 21, tells CXOTalk how the largest real estate brand in the U.S. navigates changing global trends from data-driven competitors in property listings and homes for sale. He also offers important advice to real estate brokers and agents.
For more information: https://www.cxotalk.com/episode/century-21-digital-transformation-real-estate
Bailey has more than 21 years of industry experience as a licensed broker, opened a real estate brokerage where he actively listed and sold properties, and previously served as Vice President of Broker Relations for the Zillow Group. He was appointed president and chief executive officer of Century 21 Real Estate LLC in August 2017, leading the iconic C21 brand and its approximately 7,450 independently owned and operated offices in 79 countries and territories worldwide.
From the transcript:
Michael Krigsman: Nick, tell us about Century 21.
Nick Bailey: Well, you said it best. An iconic brand around the globe, this is an organization that has been a world leader in real estate, spanning nearly 80 countries, nearly 7,500 locations, and 115,000 sales professionals worldwide that are helping buyers and sellers every single day. This is an organization that, over its 46 years in existence, has grown to [be] know [as] the best brand between buyers and sellers on the entire planet.
Michael Krigsman: Now, real estate is undergoing tremendous change. Maybe you can set the stage for us by describing what's going on in the market that's shaping real estate today.
Nick Bailey: There is a lot of talk about what's changing in real estate. I think it comes down to one thing, which is, we are in a consumer-driven movement. What I mean by that, it's not just specific to real estate, but it's also just how consumers are engaging with products and services. We can point to many companies that have been at the forefront of this movement, companies like Amazon, like Netflix, like Uber.
Via the mediums of technology, consumers are able to make things easier, faster, or take anxiety out of the process. How that translates to real estate today is, the home search process is very popular. People jump online. They jump on their mobile device looking for property, dreaming about property in certain vacation areas, and they get very involved.
Real estate is a hot topic. Look at television shows about remodeling your home, or should I stay in it or buy something else? It's just something that's become at the forefront of consumers and excitement.
With that, though, comes a great deal of opportunity, which is, if anyone has bought or sold real estate lately, they know that the home search part of it can be fun and exciting. But as soon as you go into the next steps of the home shopping and going into actually purchasing a property, the process of how you go from purchasing that property to moving into it has a lot of room to be improved. Unfortunately, you ask many people that have bought a home recently if they'd like to do it again soon and, generally, they say no because the process to get there is so complex. That's where having a real estate professional to help with that process is crucial.
Michael Krigsman: The consumer experience dimension, can we say that's your special sauce, or is that your focus? How would you characterize that?
Nick Bailey: As you mentioned, with a lot of change that's going on in the industry from what does home search mean, how do consumers engage with their real estate professional, and how do all those components come together, here's what I know. The real estate professional is still the most important part of a real estate transaction for someone wanting to buy or sell. There is no level of data or analytics that can do the job of what a knowledgeable professional can do to help someone make what is generally the biggest financial decision of their life.
It's still very emotional. If you look at all the data and analytics behind price depreciation and comparables within a neighborhood, still you walk into a home and it's a very emotional process of, do I want to live here; do I want to raise my family here? Here's where the memories and the holidays take place.
There's a balance between that emotional need and then the financial analytical side. When we look at it as an organization, we have to balance both of them, which we're dealing, at Century 21, with entrepreneurs that want to build their business and help people buy and sell. We're also dealing with consumers that are buying and selling and saying, "I am demanding a better process." We have to, as leaders, be able to bring those two constituents together to create a better result for both.