We caught up with Trapani and asked him five questions about his real estate philosophy:
1. What’s something about the real estate industry you believe that others don’t?
We are naive about the many different tech and alternative platforms hitting the market at an ever-increasing rate and the potential for structural change as to how real estate may be transacted in the future. However, what I do know is that most of these unproven ideas are currently being founded and sustained by easy funding during the opportunist phase of the growth cycle.
As we experienced in mid-2000 to early 2001, when this market turns, the majority of these platforms will lose funding and disappear. Last time I checked, a business needs to become profitable and sustainable to survive over time. Based on these realities and the fact that even millennial buyers most often become confused by too many unmet promises by online services, the value of the trusted personal relationship in a truly professional and competent Realtor will sustain longer than people may like to believe.
2. What connection have you made — business or personal — that changed the course of your life?
Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner of Patagonia. Yvon’s book, “Let My People Go Surfing,” offers inspiration and hope that a business can do good, positively impact people’s lives and the community, and make a profit without losing its soul along the way. Nearly every person within Sereno Group has read Yvon’s story or at least has been exposed to it. Yvon graciously hosted us at Patagonia’s headquarters in Ventura, California, for a tour and further insights into his story, vision and how the organization flows and functions.
3. What’s your No. 1 tip for building out a network of valuable connections?
Regardless of tech platforms, apps or online real estate mortgage or brokerage systems, the basis of the real estate business is still person-to-person relationships. The foundation for these relationships is built on trust and credibility. In fact, the more new online resources, apps, valuation systems, etc., the more confused people become about the real value and effectiveness of these dizzying options. As a result, there almost always comes a time in the real estate process when the customer longs for a live person who is trustworthy, credible, experienced and knowledgeable of nuances in the local market, which can be leveraged in favor of the client.
4. What’s one thing you want to stop doing in 2016?
I want to stop scrambling around, trying to figure out the latest and greatest technology, and return my focus entirely to our people and assisting them with developing their business relationships. This is still a people business, after all. Technology mainly offers a different medium for communication and efficiency.
5. What’s the one issue that everyone in the real estate industry should be paying attention to in the coming year?
I think the Fed is going to start taking away the punch bowl in 2016, so we are going to have to monitor how that changes buyer and seller sentiment. More buyers entering or re-entering the market may be more interest rate-sensitive — particularly if they are coming off foreclosures, bankruptcies or have smaller savings accounts. If long-term rates rise without meaningful wage increases, we could begin to see more stable home values, or possibly even a decline.