KC July 31, 2023

Christian Barnes featured in NAR Power Broker Roundtable Discussion: Balancing Tech and Relationships

In the rapidly evolving landscape of the real estate industry, the integration of technology has become a game-changer. As AI and virtual platforms gain prominence, the question arises: how crucial is human connection in this tech-driven era? How do we grow in the world of balancing tech and relationships? A panel of experts recently convened to discuss the impact of newer business models and whether traditional relationships can coexist with virtual success.


Moderated by Kymber Lovett-Menkiti, a prominent figure in the real estate industry, the panel featured industry leaders Christian Barnes, Drayton Saunders, Leo Pareja, and Rick Haase. The conversation revolved around the role of technology, the importance of human connection, and the potential for hybrid business models.


Christian Barnes, President/CEO of Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate, Kansas City Homes, emphasized the importance of tech-enablement for agents’ success. However, she emphasized that real estate has always thrived on relationships, and nurturing a connection-based company culture remains a top priority.


Drayton Saunders, President of Michael Saunders & Company, acknowledged the pandemic’s acceleration of technology adoption. Yet, he noted that post-pandemic, people showed a strong desire to return to the office, embracing the value of in-person interactions with colleagues and clients, again balancing tech and relationships.


Leo Pareja, Chief Strategy Officer of eXp Realty, spoke in favor of the virtual model, highlighting the advantages of attracting talent without geographical limitations. Despite being cloud-based, eXp Realty provides ample collaboration opportunities, blending the benefits of virtual and in-person support.


Rick Haase, President/CEO of United Real Estate, emphasized their hybrid approach, combining the best features of both traditional and virtual models. United Real Estate’s goal is to provide more value to agents and clients while retaining the significance of brick-and-mortar offices.


When questioned about the potential for hybrid business models, the panel agreed that they hold a promising place in the industry, but that the real estate business is anchored in relationships. Each company had found success through its unique strategy, but they acknowledged the necessity of continuous adaptation to suit agents’ needs.


In conclusion, the experts acknowledged the power of technology but asserted that the real estate business remains deeply rooted in human connections. While the virtual world opens up new possibilities, it cannot replace the value of in-person interactions with clients and colleagues. Ultimately, successful brokers in this fast-paced world must strike a delicate balance between embracing technology and nurturing personal relationships. As the real estate industry continues to evolve, the need to innovate while preserving the human touch remains the question of the day.


See the original article, “Tech versus Traditional: The Challenge to Real Estate Philosophy,” here.