This post is part of our new Future of Real Estate series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Rick Orr, CEO and founder of RealSavvy.
1. What’s the history of Real Savvy? Where and how did you begin?
RO: RealSavvy was founded in 2014 by Clay Knight, Matt Swezey and I, in Austin, TX. After 19 years of experience as a serial tech startup founder and realtor, I wanted to level the digital playing field for brokers, teams, and agents by offering a better, more accurate and, importantly, tech-enabled client/agent experience.
2. What specific problem does Real Savvy solve? How do you solve it?
RO: Today's buyers and sellers, particularly millennials demand more control and a delightful user experience for any technology they use. RealSavvy has developed a custom CMS (website builder), Pinterest-style collaborative IDX, rich mobile apps and tightly integrated CRM on top of the latest technology. RealSavvy is the chosen solution for top agents and brokers looking to attract and retain millennial clients who expect a Zillow-like experience to be provided by their real estate professional.
Ultimately, without a product like RealSavvy, things can quickly become a disconnected mess between agent, buyer, and co-buyer with a storm of email, text and shared links from an array of apps and portals to sift through.
By building websites, apps, IDX and CRM ourselves, RealSavvy cuts through the noise to help agents be hyper-responsive and to close deals more efficiently armed with better tools and richer data about their clients.
3. What’s the future of real estate?
From i-buying platforms to mega tech-enabled brokers offering commission breaks:
Prediction #1: Commissions will continue to trend down
Prediction #2: The number of agents will reduce significantly.
Prediction #3: Those who make the shift to serving the technical and experiential demands of the post-baby boomer buyers and sellers will not only survive, but thrive by leveraging technology advancements to be more responsive, efficient and data-driven.
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you’re seeing in real estate?
The industry has begun to realize that you can no longer win by paying to be on page 1 – conversion is key to realizing ROI no matter if it's a referral, paid or organic lead generation model. The top 3 tech trends, accordingly, are:
Trend #1: The rise of collaboration tools focused on increased responsiveness and data-driven actions.
Trend #2: Intelligent lead management and automation CRMs/tools (including less scalable models using phone centers to scrub leads).
Trend #3: A strong pull for businesses to align with one tech vendor for its core systems rather than wish for the best with disseminate offerings that have never and will never work seamlessly – if you invest in tech, it has to play well with other products or it's worthless.
5. Why is the real estate industry ripe for disruption?
RO: The ecosystem of real estate professionals is stronger than ever having, like all other industries, been flattened by social media and the information age. When you get an army of small business owners aligned around a unified cause with the realization that they've reached a moment where they will no longer grow without accepting the change, magic can happen. We are seeing this happen now as even the most historically successful, set-in-their-ways brokers are looking to technology tools – rather than purchased leads – to attract buyers and sellers. Before now, everyone was just hanging out at the punch bowl drinking in the growth. Opendoor, Redfin's IPO and Zillow's continued strength have been eye-opening and have emboldened a strong Realtor ecosystem and the best technology solutions the industry has ever seen. They say, ‘at our precipice we change'. Indeed, Realtors® and RE Tech alike are now evolving and the transformation will be rapid.
About Rick Orr
Rick Orr is the Founder/CEO of RealSavvy, a real estate tech company based in his hometown of Austin, TX. A serial tech entrepreneur, Mr. Orr has founded several Austin startups and while remaining active for over 19 years as a Realtor/Broker. He carries a B.S. in Architectural Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and is a proud father of 2 twin toddler girls. As such, he no longer has hobbies but loves time with his wife and family including frequent runs around Austin's Town Lake near where they live just South of downtown.