Match and connect: Simon Bray on the changing role of the real estate portal, how agents can build their profile, and why it’s all about helping homebuyers navigate an ‘uncertain journey’

Just like Netflix and Spotify, the real estate search has the potential to be a guided user experience, according to Canada’s premier portal president Simon Bray. Here, he shares how that might take shape along with the role agents can play.

It’s no secret that the role of a real estate agent has evolved in recent years, with insight into their persona and social proof of their expertise now as important, if not more so, than the brand they work with.

In Canada, the country’s major portal, REW, has devoted themselves to helping build that persona and proof of expertise.

As REW president Simon Bray explains, the portal has embraced this idea in a bid to provide a ‘guided user experience’ to home seekers, allowing them to not only see what properties are for sale but the agents who are most active and experienced in that market.

In this Elevate podcast with Elite Agent Managing editor Samantha Mclean, Simon takes a deep dive into the role portals can play in the real estate market, looking at how they can provide an experience more akin to Spotify than just a listings website, and truly help guide home buyers through the ‘uncertain adventure’ of property purchasing and sales.

He also looks at the importance of content creation for agents and shares some tips on where they should focus, noting ‘if you’re in real estate and not creating content, then what are you doing?’.

Simon takes a big-picture perspective of the real estate industry internationally, based on his experience working all over the world.

He discusses what’s different and what’s the same in each market, and reveals the macro and micro challenges that need to be solved for the industry to have a ‘brighter future’.

In a fascinating episode that offers an insight into innovative solutions, the changing role of the agent, the future of real estate, and the impact of the past couple of years, Simon offers a unique international perspective of the industry, its importance and the role agents can play in building their social proof and online reputation.

“All of the forecasting models have been thrown out the window. You really don’t know what to expect. Just when you think it’s going to be a terrible market, the market has the kind of bull run that it’s had over the last 18 months, two years. And then just when you think the good times are going to continue, there’s all sorts of other factors and circumstances that come into play that are kind of turning off the taps.” Simon Bray.

Samantha and Simon also discuss:

  • Why real estate is an uncertain journey that offers the opportunity for agents and portals to position themselves as experts and guides.
  • Why the return to a more normal market is not a bad thing, and how the future of real estate will involve solving macro issues like affordability, access and supply.
  • How Canada’s property market has fared in the past couple of years and why housing has become more important to societies across the globe, presenting exciting opportunities for the industry.
  • Why a portal can play an important role in creating a guided user experience for home seekers and sellers, and how REW is changing their model to assist.
  • How REW evolved from a weekly, 800-page real estate listing publication to Canada’s premier property portal, and why they’re changing the playing field for agents and home seekers.
  • Why the platform is now focused on helping agents build their profiles and how they’re doing that through social proof, content feeds and more.
  • How portals can solve the challenge of providing a more personalised property search where the experience is more akin to Airbnb, Netflix, or Spotify.
  • Why the age of the ‘stealth agent’ is long gone, and how agents can use content to build their persona and create value for their community.

And much, much more…

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Samantha McLean

Samantha McLean is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Elite Agent and Host of the Elevate Podcast.