State of Position Today
A recent report by Roy Morgan revealed that only 7% of Aussies rank agents highly for their ethics and honesty.
Never to go back there.
Deveveloping as we move forward
You do not need to ask yourself why is this the case when most people have a nasty tale to tell about their experiences with real estate agents. But it is even more than this, it is the way they market, which includes:
Cold calling our homes at inconvenient times.
Filling our letter boxes with advertising material.
Knocking on our doors wanting to give a free market appraisal.
Making us phone them in order to get recent sale information.
The real estate agents are still doing practices that most companies have stopped years ago. But they do not know how to move forward when their customers have already done so.
But the biggest issue, is that in most cases the agent puts themselves first, not the customer and the best example of this is their push towards the auction system. Just ask the question, "Who does it benefit most?"
Professionalism is not that you dress up in a suit and tie, it is more about the ethics and honesty that you work by.
So when will it change?
It will only change when you are selling your home, that you stop going back to the long standing agents and start giving a chance to the new style agents with different principles and innovative ideas. Thus bringing change to the market.
From the customer perspective, their needs were fairly simple, when it came time to sell your home or to consider buying a new home. You went to your local real estate agent in the suburb you wanted to sell or buy, look in their shop front window to view the properties that were available, and get an idea on prices (if the prices were there) as a comparison to your own property. You would also get a general feeling for the agent's business in the way it was presented. After checking out a few of the agent's offices, you would probably meet a few of them and hear their advice, and rate them accordingly.
Once you signed up with one agent, it was then the Agent's responsibility to market your property (in many cases at your cost) to find interested buyers. This was mainly done through print media. In the case of buying a property, the agent would inform you of the properties he had listed at present and you would do the circuit of all the agents in the area.
The shop front office was an integral part of the whole marketing strategy and it would come at a significant cost to the agent, but it affected you also in the fees charged.
Along came the internet, and everything changed.
If we are now interested in buying or selling a property, the first port of call is the internet, and with the advent of portals, we can go to sites where their sole purpose is to sell your home. There are many sites where you as a seller can simply advertise your property yourself. The last person we want to talk to at this stage, is a real estate agent. So the responsibility of generating leads of perspective buyers has been taken away from the real estate agent and put in the hands of the portal operators. Yes, the agent in most cases, still must place the ad on the portal and the inquiries comes back to the agent to deal with. But will this always be the case. We have seen the changes in retail, where more sales are occurring through the internet and shops are starting to wonder where will this end. What is the future of the shop and for that the agent?
If one is not fearful of change and the future, then one would sit down, and consider all the components of the selling and buying property process. You would see there is much involved and I am sure there are many customers who definitely do not have the time or desire to do all the things necessary in the property transaction.
But we do not want to drag along the old ways into the future, because at the same time you are adhering to high overheads that will come back as higher fees from the agent. But the new style of agents are going to have more skills in areas such as:
Presentation of properties
Technology in streamlining the process
Negotiation ability to reach satisfactory settlement
Social Media Marketing
Lead Generation and data base management
High level of professionalism and ethics
What the industry needs for a future, is a wave of new style of real estate agents with the skills above, entering the industry.