Kevin Levent is the president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (BHGRE) Metro Brokers, where he leads daily business operations and growth for the Georgia-based company.
Leveraging more than 24 years of real estate experience, he’s helped launch new tech-enabled tools to help BHGRE and its 2,500-plus agents remain productive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here, Levent discusses what it means to be an RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker—individuals recognized for their positive contributions to the real estate industry—and ways to promote agent adoption of new tools and technology they’ve launched in the past year.
Jordan Grice: You were named a Luminary for our 2021 Newsmakers class; what were some of the more invaluable products you launched in the past year?
Kevin Levent: I would say some of the things that we did this past year focused on helping our agents reconnect, do business in the new world and meet their customers where they are.
We introduced something called Showing Room, which allows agents to go into our system and coordinate with other agents to show a house or group of houses for them. Any agent can grab that task, so if the initial listing agent is busy, they can get assistance from another agent. We have a set compensation that the company pays the agent that shows the home, and then we bill the agent they were showing on behalf of.
JG: What has the reception been like, as well as the results of Showing Room?
KL: Agents are relieved that we came up with a system and procedure that they can log on to and post what they need to be done so others can help pick up the task.
That keeps them doing what they do best—being out in the field—rather than putting off a customer that they can’t show a house to or trying to figure out how to compensate someone. We’ve shown hundreds of houses in the 90 days that we launched that.
JG: Agent adoption can present challenges to some firms looking to increase their tech offerings. How has BHGRE addressed these hurdles?
KL: We take a very hands-on and regimented approach when we launch something, and we want our folks to use it.
For example, we were an early adopter of Dotloop, and as soon as we incorporated it, I made it mandatory. If they didn’t use it, we wouldn’t recognize it as a transaction. If you don’t put your closing in Dotloop, it is as if it never happened.
Without that adoption, it costs more to run a brokerage, and everyone suffers as a result. Our folks adopt very well at a high rate because we generally only recognize one type of technology for a certain type of application.
JG: What advice would you give to agents and brokers on embracing tech without losing the human side of the real estate business?
KL: Only use tech to solve a problem. Never use tech to avoid the customer. This is still a human business, and you can’t do it without people. Folks won’t do business with someone they don’t know, like and trust.
The minute you take your eyes off of that, the customer will become someone else’s. When the agent value proposition declines, customers will find a new agent they feel more comfortable with, so tech is only to solve a problem, not to cut down the amount of time you have with the customer.
JG: What trends are you keeping an eye on in the Georgia housing market as we look toward the fourth quarter of 2021?
KL: Right now, we are looking at the trend of iBuyers and cash buyers. We are watching them very closely and watching their ability to maybe change the way people buy and sell real estate, but I can tell you that when we finish our assessments, we will be in front of that too.
JG: What are you most looking forward to as we head toward the end of 2021?
KL: A more normalized marketplace. That’s all I want. The best marketplace is one where there is an equilibrium between the motivations of a buyer and a seller. That brings about more stability.
Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email him your real estate news to firstname.lastname@example.org.