As 2016 rapidly comes to a close, Bisnow takes a look at the concerns and priorities for real estate firms in the year ahead. Bisnow sought out IREM president Michael T. Lanning, whose background includes SVP and market leader at Cushman & Wakefield in Kansas City, MO. The following are his four biggest challenges for the industry to tackle in 2017.
To keep up the momentum, management teams must focus on hiring and securing new young talent to the field—particularly with those seeking to establish their careers in the real estate industry over the long term. Brokerages and real estate businesses can do their part by supporting young professionals and mentoring them through internships and in the early stages of their careers. One surefire way to ensure the nurturing of young talent is to reach out to students who may not have considered real estate as a possible career path; IREM’s university outreach program, for instance, seeks out students before they graduate college. Planting the seed early is key; real estate is a tough industry, and those hoping to enter it must come prepared.
As we slowly begin preparing for the challenges and rewards of 2017, more scrutiny is being placed on the reporting and results stemming from each real estate project. Helping project owners and developers outline and reach their sustainability goals may play an important role for a multitude of real estate firms, but should begin to take precedence.
Keeping Up With Tech Advancements
Most people rely on some form of smart tool as their primary form of communication, whether that’s a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Email, instant messaging, video conferencing and social media are now the primary avenues of immediate contact, and real estate firms need to recognize that—and readily adapt to it. “Real estate managers today have to be adaptable to changes in the workplace and in the properties they manage,” Michael says. “And that includes adopting new technologies, software and apps.” Whether it’s lease renewals, remote meeting capabilities, virtual building tours or online banking, real estate managers need to pay attention and adapt as more professionals begin incorporating these tools into their careers.
Although real estate is cyclical, every player in the industry from the small-town broker to the CEO of Cushman & Wakefield must be prepared to weather every storm. While it is impossible to predict and micromanage every aspect of the market and its effect on one’s business, it is essential to develop evolving tactics and strategies to protect it. This necessitates a wide range of skills, particularly in effectively managing. The only thing real estate brokers and managers can be inflexible on is flexibility, and they should expect to adjust their management focus on a yearly, monthly and even daily basis to satisfy clients, developers and owners.
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