Real estate agents are well aware of the latest technology that “help” potential buyers become actual buyers. Technology that enables prospects to tour entire homes and gardens without ever being on site, technology that delivers comparables about listings and sales prices, technology that enables prospects to “try” various interior furnishings without ever having to measure the length of a wall or height of a ceiling, technology that calculates all home owner expenses without ever having to speak with a lender. The list goes on and on about current technology and imaginations run wild about what may be available/possible with future technology as it relates to residential housing.
Agents and consumers alike are wondering how entrepreneurship, technology, and innovation play out in real estate now and into the near future. Diane M. Ramirez, a 30+ year real estate veteran and Co-founder, Chair and CEO of Halstead Property in New York, one of the most longstanding and successful firms in the country, is considering these interrelationship as well.
Ramirez began her career during the 1980’s during the time that the real estate market was transitioning from rentals to purchasing co-ops in New York. Investors were interested in acquiring those co-ops and she and her co-founder, Clark Halstead, decided from the get-go to appeal to those investors by creating a new concept for a real estate brokerage firm, a concept that appealed to elegance and style. They opened and furnished three top-of-the-line store front offices in Manhattan. They also bought an immaculate London taxicab, and had their clients driven around town to view properties by a opulently dressed chauffeur. Their marketing image was totally complimentary to their vision.
Additionally, Ramirez and Halstead recognized the importance of technology for a service based business in an evolving economy. They were the very first brokerage to hire a programmer to develop property listing systems, a huge step up from having properties listed on index cards. They also installed a computer inside their branded, chauffeur driven London taxi.
From three storefronts to today’s storefront locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn Queens, the Bronx, the Hamptons, Fairfield County, Connecticut, New Jersey and the Hudson Valley, Halstead Property counts some 1,300 sales and rental agents as its family. Just last year, Halstead launched two new technology tools. reSOURCE is an analytics listing system and database that enables their agents to customize market reports based upon an individual client/web user’s needs and Instant Value is an appraisal tool that enables agents to properly price Manhattan and Brooklyn apartments.
Ramirez believes that a service based business needs both technology and agents to deliver top quality and appropriate, need based real estate products to clients. Technology can’t “discover” homes nor can it negotiate the best prices and terms for buyers and sellers. Agents can…and technology can “assist” agents in doing such things in terms of time and up to the minute information.
Ramirez’s success? “We’ve always stayed true to our vision…we created an environment that focuses on culture…we strive to stay ahead of the curve with industry leading technology.”