Austin Allison: ‘Our focus is on innovation in an industry known to drag its feet’

Austin Allison is the CEO of dotloop.

Are you optimistic about 2015? The housing market?

Yes, we are very optimistic about the housing market for 2015. NAR is predicting housing sales to go up by just under 8 percent. While lending standards continue to be rigid, recent comments from the Federal Housing Administration seem optimistic about more credit access. So early indicators for 2015 might seem a bit ambitious right now, but overall, we are optimistic for continued sustainable growth in our industry.

Your success?

With continual growth in the industry and an increasing demand for speed and efficiency in real estate transactions, we are very optimistic about the success of dotloop. Currently, we have 1.2 million real estate professionals and $30 billion in transactions occurring each month on dotloop, and this number is growing. Additionally, with announcements of recent partnerships with industry leaders such as LeadingRE, Keller Williams and Realogy, we are looking forward to the growth we will see in 2015.

What are you worried about?

Our focus is on pushing for innovation in an industry that has been known to drag its feet. As we move into 2015, it’s important that brokerages and agents continue to innovate and grow. We need to be looking to the future.

How much do you fret about global events? 

In our experience, global events typically have an impact on how secure consumers feel. While we tend not to “fret” about global events, we do monitor the market to predict its impact on real estate spending.

Will mortgage rates go up or down next year?

Predictions suggest that mortgage rates will go up about half a point in 2015, which we think is a fair assessment.

Will home prices appreciate next year?

Yes. Our prediction is that there will continue to be modest price increases (between 3 and 4 percent), but that will slow, and we won’t see as much growth as we did in 2014.

Will agents be more productive next year?

Talented and professional agents will always be in demand. What makes good agents great is the availability of tools like ours, which increase efficiency and enable agents to provide amazing customer experiences. We have found that when brokerages integrate their core services, they see 62 percent more revenue overall. As more and more agents have access to dotloop and other integrated technologies, productivity will rise.

Will the portals play a bigger role in real estate next year?

The portals will continue to be a trend to watch. We are not sure if they will play a bigger role, per se, than they do today, but they will continue to be integral to the agents’ and brokers’ businesses.

What will be the biggest source of real estate leads next year?

Great service and thus repeat business and referrals will continue to be the primary source of lead generation in this business. The portals will continue to provide a lot of consumer impressions and leads as well, but as time goes on, we see conversion and customer experience becoming the greatest drivers of business growth for agents and brokerages.

Are you making plans to expand, contract or maintain your business this year?

We’re always looking to expand our reach. The more agents and brokerages working in the ‘loop, the better. As the network grows, our ability to seamlessly connect agents and brokerages increases. We are always innovating and revisiting how we can improve our technology to provide our customers with the best experiences. That, in turn, allows them to provide their clients with an outstanding experience, which often leads to repeat business or referrals.

What is the biggest challenge for the industry in the coming year?

The biggest challenge facing our industry is getting agents and brokers to look at technology as a service, rather than as just a tool. Technology enables better consumer experiences, greater efficiency and growth.