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Real Estate 2021: Clubhouse, Bitcoin & Affiliated Services

Propy’s weekly webinar Episode #38 is with Piper Moretti, CEO of Crypto Realty Group, Veronica Figueroa, CEO of the Figueroa Team, and Zachary Foust, Team lead of Loft Realty.

Piper Moretti, CEO of Crypto Realty Group, Veronica Figueroa, CEO of the Figueroa Team, and Zachary Foust, Team lead of Loft Realty join Propy’s CEO Natalia Karayaneva and William Dickey, tech advisor to discuss three emerging real estate trends in 2021.

Panelist background

Zachary Foust explains that he is a social media enthusiast, and he enjoys helping people with their social media strategies and running sales funnels through the various social platforms. He sees the immense power and ever-growing influence that social media has on our lives, both personally and professionally.  He believes that the new app, Clubhouse will become very relevant moving forward.

Piper Moretti is the founder and CEO of the Crypto Realty Group, based in Los Angeles. She has done five crypto transactions to date, and is excited about the prospects of crypto in the bull run that is coming up.

Veronica Figueroa is the CEO of the Figueroa Team in Orlando, FL.  She has a team of 65 agents and staff, which did $200 million in sales in 2020. 

Top trends for 2021

According to Natalia Karayaneva, there are three major trends occurring in the real estate industry right now. They are:

  • Bitcoin, which just reached $36,000
  • The new social media app, Clubhouse
  • Brokerages turning to affiliated services 

Bitcoin trends

A lot of major institutions are getting on board with crypto currency now, Piper explains, so suddenly more people are paying attention to this trend.  Many people who sold their currency in 2017 are buying again, and we’re having a strong bull run.  While this currency is still volatile, it’s obvious it’s not going away. 

The infrastructure is more solidly in place now than it was in 2017-18 when she did her first transactions using Bitcoin. Piper explains that activity went dormant for a short time, but now they are better equipped to handle a crypto transaction. Collateralized loans are now available, there is more competition in lending, and escrow companies are set up to handle this. 

Veronica feels it is critical that real estate agents become educated about crypto currency, especially if they are in a market where there are many international investors.  Bitcoin and other currencies are going to revolutionize how real estate transacts in the future.

As an investor in Bitcoin, Zachary asks if it’s really wise to purchase a property with Bitcoin. He shares the example of purchasing a $500,000 home with 13 or 14 Bitcoin at today’s value, and then a year later what happens if that coin is now worth $200,000, not $36,000. Will the buyer regret that decision?

William has never traded Bitcoin, but he has a background in trading to the equity markets. He explains that in trading, it is said “you never go broke taking profits.” A lot of trading is emotional, and there is this FOMO (fear of missing out) because you never know when something has reached the top. He advises that whatever you are trading in, that you put an exit strategy in place. For example, when your stock reaches a certain price point, that you sell a quarter of it.  Be disciplined about trading; there is no black and white answer, so you have to make a plan and stick to it.

Real estate buyers and sellers in the crypto community are looking for opportunities to get exposure to Bitcoin, Natalia explains, so more realtors are getting requests on how to sell a property and get Bitcoin, or how to utilize their Bitcoin to diversify and get into real estate. Investors are seeing that Bitcoin is very promising in terms of profits.  She recently listened to an interview by the CEO of MicroStrategy who said he had a fiduciary duty as CEO to hold cash in Bitcoin.  There are a lot of players like that now, which is why we’re seeing the price of Bitcoin going up so dramatically.

Natalia says that one question she hears frequently is how do you handle a transaction with a volatile currency like crypto. She explains that it’s really straightforward, and that people should not be afraid of the volatility. At the moment of the transfer of money, whether it’s a Bitcoin to dollars exchange, Bitcoin to Bitcoin, or other cryptocurrency exchange, the number of coins exchanged is based on the dollar value in the purchase agreement. It’s no different than how international currency is converted into US funds.

As a reminder, Propy offers a Crypto Certified Agent course that will teach you the basics about crypto currencies through six webinars. Natalia also recommends that agents who want to learn more should follow Propy and Piper on social media.

Clubhouse, the new social media trend

Zachary feels that Clubhouse has a resemblance to an early Twitter, and says it’s one of the more unique platforms to hit the social media landscape. Right now, because it’s by invite only, you have access to high-level people that you normally would not. Because of this exclusivity, we’re seeing a lot of thought leaders, the movers and shakers joining this app, and it’s making the high-level people more comfortable with interacting with people. There is a wealth of information and knowledge being shared on this platform. 

However, Zachary feels it is very important to be conscious of time when using this platform, and to keep your commentary on task and to the point.  When you get a lot of influential people in a room, they are busy people. You don’t want to be overly detailed and long-winded. 

With a hot market, and so much emphasis on technology in real estate, Veronica feels that having agents join Clubhouse is a perfect match right now.  As leaders in the industry, she explains, we are used to attending conferences like Inman, Zillow, and other tech conferences, and be able to network with those CEO’s and thought leaders and be part of those conversations.  With everything canceled due to the pandemic, she sees Clubhouse filling that void. It’s giving the real estate community a place to have those authentic, genuine conversations with industry and tech experts. 

Veronica also sees opportunities happening in Clubhouse, and shares how she was in a room having a conversation about how she built their team. An agent in her market was listening to that conversation, and told Veronica she was looking to join a team.  That agent has already completed an application and is ready to take the next step of talking to one of Veronica’s onboarding specialists to see if it’s a good match for our culture. 

Natalia agrees that Clubhouse has value in networking and recruiting. She has found some prospective engineers, as well as marketing advisors in her conversations on Clubhouse. Because it’s invitation-only, Natalia states that it’s very similar to after-hours networking at a conference, because everyone there has a purpose for being there. 

To that point, Natalia stresses that it’s important to be an early adopter of Clubhouse and to join as soon as possible. She states that it’s an easy platform to learn to use, as there aren’t many features to it yet. Knowing that everyone is vetted before they join gives you the confidence of knowing you’ll have quality level conversations. 

Affiliated Services trends

Dealing with iBuyers and educated, savvy consumers who have more choices than ever in how they sell their home is forcing brokerages to scale and find additional revenue streams, Veronica explains. Consumers want great service, but they also want value, and offering affiliated services is a way to enhance the consumer experience, provide exceptional service, and add more value to the transaction. With the commission compression in the industry, she knew that for her business to survive, she needed to implement ancillary services to her business model. She launched her first affiliate relationship in title, along with a partnership in mortgage at the end of 2019.

Veronica shares that it took her three years before she decided who she wanted to partner with. She was very strategic about aligning with partners who share the same core values and dedication to service for the consumer. While having an affiliate partner is profitable, she stresses that you should not do this solely for the profit.  For Veronica, her customers are not only the clients she helps, but also her agents. Any partnerships she entered had to be with people who would be able to provide service to her agents as well. 

It all starts with a conversation with people you may already be working with to see how you may be able to grow together, Veronica explains. The two companies that she went into business with were people that she already knew, liked, trusted, and had respect for in the industry.

Piper agrees that doing business with people you know and trust is really important.  You want to work with people who are honest, who share the same core values, and that you know they will deliver when you need it.

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