- Online property websites and other technologies may appear to be taking work away from estate agents, but there are many services that only an estate agent can provide.
- Estate agents can thrive in the age of technology by providing efficient customer service, localised knowledge of the property market, and a network of useful contacts.
- Estate agents should also treat technology as an ally rather than an enemy, as it can, in many ways, enable them to provide highly efficient customer service.
While some industries are in danger of being rendered redundant by the technological revolution, property is thankfully not one of them. Digital can replace a lot of things, but it’s difficult to envision a world in which it could replace brick and mortar. So property investors don’t need to worry about their investments going out of fashion anytime soon.
However, the same can’t be said for certain jobs that exist within the property industry. Estate agents are among those who may fear the potential impact of technological disruption. Current trends show that there are many services provided by estate agents that technology is as yet unable to substitute for.
Estate agent skills that will serve you well in the age of technology
One area in which technology has infiltrated the property market is by enabling people to buy and sell homes online. However, as real estate journalist Aly J. Yale writes on Forbes, technology may enable homebuyers to conduct the home search themselves, but once they’ve found their potential dream home, their power ends there.
Here are some of the important estate agent skills that make the services of estate agents so invaluable at this stage of the process.
In the age of technology, the focus switches from sales to service. Rather than act as salesmen, estate agents can transform into excellent service providers. Services they provide that can’t be replicated by a machine include:
- Guiding the client through and streamlining the intricate process of actually buying a home, which includes collecting and signing documents; and interacting with all the relevant parties, such as sellers and transfer attorneys.
- Keeping in constant contact with the client, and immediately informing them of any important updates.
- Providing person-to-person contact that energises the process, and provides home buyers and sellers with the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers quickly, and often in real-time.
Maintaining a network of contacts that play a role in the homebuying process significantly streamlines the process for buyers and sellers.
For example, having the contact details for a lawyer on-hand who can advise on the legislative side of property transfers, or being able to recommend a good property surveyor. This level of efficiency will likely impress the client, who can’t get such first-hand recommendations from property websites.
Knowledge of the industry
Localised knowledge, and knowledge of the market, are areas in which estate agents really shine. Online property listings can’t provide expert advice on the current state of the market, such as whether it’s a buyer or a seller’s market, and how this will affect the transaction.
Estate agents serve themselves well by staying on top of market developments, and developing an in depth knowledge of areas in which properties are purchased, so they can advise the client on local house prices.
Knowledge of tech
Instead of viewing tech as the great disruptor, estate agents should treat it as a potential ally. Social media, enterprise software and apps can all help estate agents by providing:
- More efficient customer service.
- The ability to easily connect agents with buyers and sellers.
- Big data gathering capabilities that help estate agents develop knowledge of the property market.
- The ability to process a higher volume of transactions, serving more buyers in less time.
- A more user-friendly experience for both agent and client.
A slick tech-driven process has the additional benefit of showing clients that estate agents are fully immersed in the world of tech and able to thrive in this modern world, rather than being potential casualties of the technology revolution.
Many home sellers value their privacy, and may be averse to selling properties online and making so much information available. These are potential clients for estate agents, who need to be effective at connecting these sellers with potential buyers using offline marketing techniques.
Help for home buyers and sellers
Although using websites to buy or sell homes without the help of an estate agent may save buyers and sellers money on a commission, it does cost in time and energy. It’s likely that, rather than replacing estate agents, technology will be gradually incorporated into their work, allowing them to provide a level of service that simply can be replicated by online property websites.
One way they can do that is being aware of services that can potentially help home buyers. A home loan comparison service such as ooba home loans can assist in the home buying process by helping the buyer secure the best deal on their home loan.
In addition to that, ooba home loans provide a free, online prequalification tool, the ooba Bond Indicator, that helps buyers determine what they can afford, also assisting agents in knowing their potential buyer’s buying power. Homebuyers can make use of the range of available home loan calculators, then use the Bond Indicator to get prequalified. When they’re ready, they can apply for a home loan.
Can't find what you are looking for?
Ranked #1 in Banking on Hellopeter
Average rating of 4.86 from over 4 550 reviews
Simply The Best
Ooba home loans services are simply the best. My Consultant Bianca Dancer was so hands on and helpful from the get go. She guided me through the entire process and put me at ease being a first time buyer. I highly recommend their services.
Jay Govender and Maleshini Reddy from OOBA provided outstanding assistance and guidance in securing our home loan. Response times were excellent and they were professional and friendly.
Estelle Vorster was really helpful in securing the best deal for my home loan, she not only negotiated a lower interest rate she went as far as securing 50% discount on the transfer costs.