With our industry now swinging its doors open to hyperactivity, we’ve immediately witnessed a dramatic response, experiencing an influx of activity as buyer and seller confidence returns.
The ‘economic cliff’ of last year ended up being a prediction, not a reality; and whilst there may still be emerging pain to follow, the property market has once again shown its resilience.
Here are three challenges I think we all need to focus on to win in 2021.
Follow the client
Our goal as agents should be to thrive within our individual markets, pushing towards market dominance, however, the landscape has changed.
Agents are no longer bound by geographical boundaries, and as was evident in 2020, those who embarked on ‘following the client’ will win the market share battle.
For those agents who remained connected to their community, 2021 and the decade ahead will be a period of huge business growth not seen before.
It is in this present moment we will see a division within the industry, as those agents who flattened along with the government-enforced industry halt now scramble to keep themselves relevant in the peak of such market momentum.
To thrive, stick to the basics – follow and engage with the client, well before they become a client.
It was a proud moment for us all, witnessing the real estate industry ‘pivot’ and see a rapid response to virtual operations.
Instantly, a revolutionary approach across the board showcased a modern world where agents could customise and deliver their service, without leaving the comfort of their couch.
Virtual reality was now our own reality and a welcoming world for many.
But here is the catch: Most technologies, from virtual inspection tools, online bidding platforms, electronic signing, Zoom meetings and ‘live streaming’, just to name a few, were available to all agents well before Covid-19 brought our ‘regular’ operations to a standstill.
Agents were just not using them and the resistance to change has always been a challenge for our industry.
However, that train of thought can no longer apply – the consumer has adapted to the change and is now expecting it as normal.
Imagine telling a client in 2021 you do not have ‘electronic signing ability’ of formal documents or the facility to pay deposits with BPAY; You will be viewed as prehistoric.
‘IT IQ’ is now a significant differentiator between one competitor and another.
It is now a minimum pre-requisite to be technology savvy.
The shift to boutique
Many industry participants have thought the impending technology changes that were being introduced into our industry will see a ‘changing of the guard’.
What I was referring to was that many predicted that technology would see the ‘agent’ being displaced from the selling process – that is, technology would allow seller and buyer to transact directly and thus the middleman, the agent, would no longer be a part of the equation effectively decimating our industry.
I saw it differently back then, and still do.
I had always felt that the agent could not be replaced by technology as our transactions were emotionally charged and no piece of technology could replace ‘the last 15 metres up the driveway’.
That was truly apparent in 2020; the agent was cemented in the transaction and we can all agree that we will be around for some time yet.
What I saw as the biggest challenge, or more so opportunity (depending on which side of the fence you were sitting on) to our industry was the emergence of new business models and how in the future the agent and/or property manager will engage with a Principal.
This means disruption does not come from the direction of client and agent but rather how an agent or property manager will engage with a Principal.
COVID-19 has dramatically brought forward this emerging change. Modestly saying, we at the Eview Group have been at the forefront of this revolution and what I perceive as ‘a changing of the guard’.
We will soon see a shift from big office, high overhead operations to boutique, client-centric high-profit teams. These emerging teams have an agile and boutique approach and easily adapt to client needs taking significant market share from the more traditional agency models.
The high touch/client centric service delivered by a low cost/high profit real estate practice has come of age. It will be the business model of 2021 and beyond.
It is an extremely exciting period for our industry.
I believe 2020 has highlighted the real value and need for a professional real estate agent in the sales and property management transaction.
I also believe it has highlighted the requirement for every agent to lift their game to meet the expectations of the modern client.
Those who embrace and apply the expected changes will thrive; anything less will simply not make the cut.
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