Tips From A Top (Crypto) Agent From LA
Propy’s weekly webinar Episode #14 is with Piper Moretti, CEO at The Crypto Realty Group.
Piper Moretti, CEO at The Crypto Realty Group along with Propy’s CEO, Natalia Karayaneva, discuss the latest trends using crypto currency, and the impact blockchain will have on the real estate industry. Piper also shares her insights on how to find a technology-forward brokerage.
Her start in crypto-currency
Piper has been in real estate since 2015, and she fell into using crypto-currency quite by chance when a person found her online and wanted to do a transaction using this novel currency. In 2017-18, she completed five transactions with crypto. While she had previously known what crypto-currency was, she learned how to do complete transactions using crypto by being thrown into it and learning along the way. Piper is currently the Chair of the Los Angeles Chapter of the International Blockchain Real Estate Association (IBREA).
Piper’s journey to find a tech-forward brokerage
Piper shares that when she first got her license, she didn’t realize that you really don’t learn how to be a real estate agent when you are in real estate school. Initially Piper joined a small brokerage, but in 2017, she realized she needed more education.
After meeting some agents from Keller Williams, and learning about their education program, she joined that brokerage and learned as much as she could. However, her team leader, who was the only person who really understood what she was doing in the crypto-space, made the decision to move to Christie’s International Real Estate, and Piper followed her there.
After a time, Piper had a good opportunity to join Compass Real Estate, and as they were very tech-forward, she thought this would be a perfect place for her. But she quickly found out that while they were interested in technology as a whole, they didn’t see the benefits of blockchain, and did not share her passions in this new technology.
Piper shares that while she was at Compass, she was getting acquainted with a broker at a smaller Christie’s who dominates the market in her area. Piper discovered that he was wide-open about technology, and while he may not understand blockchain, he knows that it is important. This was exactly the kind of attitude towards technology that she was hoping to find, so she made the decision to join his team at Strand Hill Christie’s International Real Estate in 2019.
Piper explains that being with a brokerage that is willing to listen really drove home her decision to move. Her time with Compass felt like an uphill battle because their focus on tech was in a different direction that hers. Also, she feels there is a benefit to her to work for a smaller, but well-known brokerage. With fewer agents, they are able to try out new technologies, and if it works well, then it will organically spread from those early adopters.
She does feel that brand recognition is an important aspect that agents should consider when joining a brokerage, but it’s not the end-all, be-all for her. Piper stresses that technology adoption is her strongest criteria in choosing a brokerage.
Blockchain will increase efficiency
Piper is enthusiastic about the efficiencies that blockchain bring to the transaction. She feels that it will save agents a lot of time, and create a streamlined experience for everyone connected with the transaction. She explains that there is so much duplication of work being done with sending PDF’s back and forth, with the risk of critical documents getting lost in emails. Even with the software platforms we regularly use, the work is still very tedious. Current systems are good, but there is room for improvement.
Currently our systems are pulling information from so many different sources to get a deal done. With blockchain, agents will be able to have everything in one place, being tracked, showing who has signed, and what needs to be done next. Everyone involved with the transaction will be able to quickly see all of this information.
The future of real estate
Piper explains that a lot of people are afraid of change and new technologies, but her mission is to show people how using blockchain is a positive change that will save time. Ten years down the road, she hopes that we will be able to get rid of PDF’s and have everything in the transaction integrated. Piper states that so much time is wasted digging through files to find what you’re looking for, and with blockchain technology, you will be able to quickly reference all of that information with a click of a button.
Piper feels the future will become more streamlined, and many headaches in the industry will go away. Along with that, transaction time will be reduced from the current 30-60 days to a week.
Natalia shares that Propy started with the mission of automating the transaction process, and in the process found that blockchain was the perfect technology and infrastructure to accomplish those goals.
Key points to understand about crypto and blockchain
Scammers have given crypto-currency a bad name, and Piper stresses that it is critical that agents be aware of the warning signs of a scam. One immediate red flag during the pandemic is if someone approaches you saying they want to buy a property with crypto. Currently, the trends are people are holding onto their crypto rather than spending it. It’s also important to know what kind of crypto they have. An excellent resource is CoinMarketCap, where you can look up the different types of coins available. If it’s not listed there, Piper explains, then you know it’s a scam. Another red flag is if the buyer is not willing to convert their crypto into BitCoin, BitCoinCash, or Ethereum, which are the main currencies available. Agents need to do their homework and educate themselves.
Piper says that the top thing she wants people to understand about blockchain is that they don’t need to be afraid of it simply because they don’t know how it works. It’s simply a newer way of record keeping. You probably don’t know how Google docs work, yet you use it every day. This is no different.
Natalia explains that their goal at Propy is to provide the same user experience we’re used to with our iPhones while streamlining the entire process and minimizing paperwork. At the end of the transaction, blockchain has created an immutable record of the transaction that can’t be altered.
For people who are interested in learning more about blockchain and crypto-currency, Natalia shares that Propy has a Crypto Certification Training Program available. This program will educate agents about blockchain, and what crypto-currency is, and how it can be traded.
Current market trends in Los Angeles
Most of the Los Angeles market is still down, according to Piper, but she states that they saw a huge bump in her area in June. She is seeing that there is a shift in priorities. Some people are selling and moving out of state, and others, who are able to work from anywhere now, have decided that working from the beach is ideal.
Piper stresses that the most important thing agents can do right now is to have empathy and really listen to people’s stories. Everyone has been impacted by the pandemic in some way, and we need to hear what their needs are. Agents need to be able to shift their thinking and be able to show that they care, and can help, regardless of the person’s situation.
Tips for agents wanting to change brokerages
Agents need to not be afraid of trying on a brokerage, according to Piper, and states that sometimes it takes having things not work out to help you figure out what you want. What brokerage you work for is really subjective to what the agent feels is most important. For Piper, she really wanted to be part of a brokerage where she had a voice.
If being innovative and tech-driven is your focus, then an agent really needs to make that the focus of their interview with the brokerage. Piper says that many brokerages will tout that they are tech-driven, and most have their own platforms, so make sure you watch demos to see how those tools work. Ultimately, an agent needs to find the brokerage that resonates with them.