For Michele Harrington, chief operating officer of First Team Real Estate in Southern California, while the shift in market at the end of 2022 may not have been in line with the company’s expectations, their focus on helping agents with training, lead-gen and even using AI in business, has been a through-line in moving the company forward toward the opportunities that have emerged in 2023.
“The demand in Southern California is right high,” Harrington said. “Which is a positive thing, especially for sellers and home prices. It’s just the supply that we don’t have right now. I think (as the year goes on) we will see more homes come onto the market and normalize.”
Here, from this year’s annual Power Broker Report & Survey, Harrington shares the firm’s expectations, challenges and opportunities from the dynamic real estate year 2022.
First Team Real Estate
No. 30 Sales Volume
No. 78 Transactions
Chief Operating Officer
Was your company’s performance in residential sales volume and transactions for 2022 in line with your expectations for the year? Why or why not?
We were hoping that 2022 would be a lot like 2021, which was the best year we’ve ever had in our 47-year history, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t quite up in line with our hopeful expectations. Lack of inventory was probably the biggest culprit of why we didn’t meet our expectations—less properties coming to the market and less properties for agents to sell.
What is the most significant change your company is making this year to ensure success in a shifting market?
This year, we will be helping our agents generate more listing leads. We’re developing technology that uses Artificial Intelligence to come up with who the most likely sellers are in our market. This helps our agents micro-target areas based on demographics, rather than board blanketing and mass mailing. We’re trying to help our agents work smarter, not harder, and this technology will really simplify this process for them.
How are you keeping agents motivated and productive in the shifting market?
When it comes to motivating our agents and keeping their head in the game, I rely on our leadership team. We do a lot of training, masterminds and roll playing to keep our agents engaged. It is so easy to get comfortable and a little bit lazy when things are really good. These activities hold them accountable and keep them engaged, which is important, as they will need to work harder this year than they have in the past.
What are the biggest opportunities for growth ahead?
The demand in Southern California is right high, which is a positive thing, especially for sellers and home prices. It’s just the supply that we don’t have right now. I think (as the year goes on) we will see more homes come onto the market and normalize. It is such an abnormal market in our area, so if we don’t get new listings and we don’t have more listings to sell, that will be a huge problem for everybody. Right now, it’s all about getting the word out to sellers that this is the time to sell. If we can get that out there, we can really turn things around, we just have to be vocal about it.