Angel Piontek, associate broker and vice president of Marketing at Coldwell Banker Elite, got her start after college as an advertising professional in New York City. It's this foundation that's led her to utilize technology and design to better serve her clients in any way possible.
Her knowledge of technology has since spilled over into her love of smart homes. As products like Nest and Amazon's Echo become more pervasive in the average U.S. household, smart-home products are not just for the tech savvy consumer anymore.
Here, Piontek discusses newly available products and what she believes will be the next big tech trend in real estate, among many other things.
What first drew you to the real estate industry?
After graduating from college, with pure excitement that only exists at a certain level of naïveté, I packed my little car and got a job in New York City. I worked for an advertising firm where I learned, firsthand, the effect of marketing and advertising on a large scale. I loved the city, and still do, but having my first child caused me to re-examine what was important.
The idea of creating a space that I can truly make my own was a dream. I wanted to create a place where laughter is often heard, memories are made and adventures are experienced. The birth of my first child delivered with it the realization of the true power of home. We moved back to Virginia and I began the search for a career that was challenging, yet fulfilling. Real estate was a perfect marriage of my creative background and the desire to help people find this wondrous place called home.
Why did you choose Coldwell Banker?
As a new agent, I was in search of a firm with a great reputation and brand recognition. I also wanted a brand that offered the tools and resources to build a solid foundation—I found that at Coldwell Banker Elite. While I started my career with the Coldwell Banker brand, I took time off when my second child was born. Then, I accepted a leadership opportunity at another firm for a few years. That office was eventually acquired by a regional real estate group that wasn’t a good fit for me. It was then that I made the decision to come back to Coldwell Banker. I've been back for almost five years now and I couldn't be happier with that decision.
What was your biggest obstacle when you were an agent?
I was young and came from a corporate background where my weekends and my schedule were my own. It was a hard lesson in time management and business planning. You have to play many different roles besides simply "selling" and it ranges from being a bookkeeper, marketing expert, negotiator and many more. It's not just a job, it's a business and you need to have that mindset.
You've moved up through the ranks at Coldwell Banker Elite fairly quickly. What advice would you give someone who has similar goals in mind, and may not want to spend their entire career as an agent?
My journey is certainly not your typical real estate career path. I expected to get my license, sell real estate and that was the end of it. My advice for someone who wants a dual role is to take on leadership opportunities in your office. Generally, progressive brokers are looking for people who take initiative and prove themselves. Make sure you’re doing different and innovative things so that you’re setting an example.
You may have to create these opportunities for yourself. For example, if you want to join the marketing team, build a case before there's even a need for it. You can volunteer to help with company initiatives or you could create a tribe in your office by spearheading a marketing collaboration group. Show off your design and marketing skills with custom materials for your listings. When a position opens up in your firm, you'll have a higher chance of securing that role.
Can you tell us a little bit about your experience with Coldwell Banker’s Blue Crew?
My experience representing the Coldwell Banker brand during the 2018 Consumer Electronic Show as part of the Blue Crew was incredible. I'm a huge smart-home junkie and early adopter, so spending time with some amazing brands and running around the smart-home marketplace was akin to a child going to Disney World for the first time.
It was fun creating videos to showcase some of the newly available products and technology to the Coldwell Banker brand and audience. Besides the smart home area, one of my favorite sections was Eureka park, a collection of start-ups launching a new product, service or idea. Did I mention the robots?! The AI marketplace was crawling with them and it was fantastic.
Smart-home technology has obviously had a massive impact on the real estate industry, but what effect has that had on the average U.S. homebuyer?
Whereas a large number of homes have connected devices, the concept of smart-home technology is still an emerging one in the real estate industry. Coldwell Banker and CNET worked together to create a definition of what a smart home means as it relates to selling a home. This definition gives us a baseline for what is considered a smart home and how we can promote it.
Agents are becoming more educated on the benefits this technology brings to the way we live and how we can use it to market a home. Today, it's a differentiating factor when selling a home; but it will soon be an expectation. Consumers will force this issue as the ubiquity of the technology increases and more and more devices are installed in homes.
In your opinion, how important is the role of virtual reality in real estate today?
The buyer journey starts online, and, for some homes, it ends online too. We no longer live in a time where buyers are out there looking at 20 homes in one weekend. They are eliminating many of the properties based on how it is presented online. It's more critical than ever to show a home in the best light. 3D and virtual reality tours provide an immersive experience for the buyer and a much better option than standard videos. It's a better viewing experience and the prospective buyer can go at their own pace.
What’s the next big tech trend going to be in real estate?
If I had to choose something outside of smart home and VR, I would say the next big tech trend is blockchain for real estate. While for many it's still a mystery, this technology will revolutionize the way we exchange money for properties, record deeds and transfer title. The blockchain process for real estate brings the highest level of accountability, a digital trail that cannot be edited once recorded and isn't stored in one single server. The transaction is accessible to anyone and easily verifiable. I'm all for a process that offers more transparency and facilitates a more efficient selling process.
Where do you see yourself five years down the road?
Five years from now, I see myself completely consumed by technology—okay, so perhaps that's happening now! All kidding aside, I love learning about new products and ideas that help us better serve our clients. I'm looking forward to what the next five years will bring in the real estate industry. Technology will continue to evolve and I'll be around to embrace it.
Featured image: Coldwell Banker Elite