Every week, we ask a Houston real estate professional for their thoughts on the top three stories from the week before.
This week, we talked with Lance Loken, a Realtor with Keller Williams and President/CEO of the team business, Loken Group.
Houston Agent (HA): Houston sales fell double digits from Oct. 2014 to Oct. 2015. Do you think this trend is going to continue? Why or why not?
Lance Loken (LL): I think that the decrease we saw from October 2014 to October 2015 (and will potentially also see with November’s numbers) is due to the new TRID guidelines, which essentially caused us to lose two weeks in October with extensions in the time it takes for homes to close. We already see an uptick for December’s closings so I believe that everything will stabilize over the upcoming months.
HA: How important is technology to your business, and in what ways?
LL: Technology is HUGE in our business. We are constantly striving for increased efficiency and technology enables that, resulting in quicker close times and more efficient communication with our clients. Technology is also crucial for marketing homes in today’s world, with buyers conducting more research than ever and 82 percent of buyers using the Internet as a resource during their home search, according to NAR. For instance, we are one of the first in Houston to utilize 3D floorplans through a new technology called Matterport. This is a unique value to our sellers, and allows buyers to digitally explore a property.
Here’s the 3D floorplan for one of our listings in Galveston: http://bit.ly/1PLKGSV
HA: As leader of the successful Loken Group, how do you find and evaluate talent?
LL: We search for talent across industries on a daily basis, with a goal of being proactive rather than reactive when hiring (we hire with the expectation of realizing our future goals vs. hiring only when we are in dire straits). Our extensive interview process relies on behavioral profile assessments and personality characteristics to ensure new hires are both a good fit for the position they will be entering, and a good fit for our company culture. We were recently awarded the No. 1 Best Place to Work by the Houston Business Journal in small companies, so are using that as a marketing tool when searching for new talent, as well.
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