Estate Agents should embrace technology
Today’s consumer – and, not least, the home buyer – wants an easier, more streamlined, route to market, given that he or she now has instant online access to a wealth of information without the assistance of an intermediary.
There is no question that agents who embrace, and keep abreast of, digital technology will maintain a competitive edge – by way of instant access to powerful online marketing tools, such as social media, current market statistics, digital imaging, price trends and comparisons, home features, and suburb-specific profiles. And it will remain so as information technology continues to roll out in the South African homes market of the future.
However, the fact remains that successful home selling is, and will remain, essentially people-driven – with an experienced estate agent playing the pivotal role. The home buy / sell process revolves around myriad factors, including personal relationships; skillful negotiation; awareness of market nuances and sentiment; knowledge of neighbourhood lifestyle dynamics; maintenance of links with buyers and sellers; monitoring of planning and re-zoning trends; as well as keeping abreast of the needs of suburban individuals and families. This should be familiar territory to top performing estate agents.
Meanwhile, estate agents who cling to the traditional template of real estate marketing could lose momentum as the digital transformation erodes their competitive edge. As information communications technology continues to roll out in South Africa, it will keep changing the way real estate marketing services are delivered.
I remain skeptical however of those real estate companies that rely too heavily on the digital process to buy and sell houses, and believe in doing so they can reduce the human element i.e. the involvement of an experienced estate agent. They are offering appealing cut rate commission percentages and even small token fixed amounts. I do not believe the job is being done properly and ultimately this leads to a lower price for the seller. There is a 10 - 15 percent difference in selling price between those occasions when buyers and sellers have simply been matched online and when an experienced estate agent is involved and skillfully closes the deal.
Author: Ronald Ennik