Are disruptors signalling the end of traditional agents?

Are disruptors signalling the end of traditional agents?

The digital real estate revolution has begun and it’s taking no prisoners. But resistance remains strong in the more exclusive arena, with industry kingpins demonstrating an approach to sales that is anything but conventional.

New online trends show that market disruptors, such as Lead Home and Property Fox, are drawing clientele away from traditional real estate agents, with promises of low commission fees and a hassle-free experience.

A fresh approach

Buying and selling property is a challenging and often confusing process. Fluctuating housing prices and unpredictable commission rates often leave sellers unsure of where to turn to find the best advice and returns on their investment.

A rapid number of consumers are scrambling to take advantage of the vastly reduced commission fees touted by disrupters, opting for 1.5% or a flat fee over the average 5-7.5% charged by traditional real estate agents.  

These new players are by no means a death knell for agents but in fact a competitive boon for consumers and a chance for the industry to rally. Market disruptors certainly provide innovation and there’s no doubt that they’re giving clients more choice.

This is a wonderful chance for real estate agents to re-evaluate the representation and service they provide. The ones who aren’t willing to up their game or move with the times are simply going to be left behind. Agents who wait for the phone to ring and a mandate to fall into their laps based on the strength of their brand are in for a rude awakening. The roles of attentive estate agents are not in danger, providing they are willing to reinvent themselves.

As an industry we’ve been complacent. It’s important for agents to boost their efforts and add much more value and high-quality service to clients so that they can compete with the online competition.

Having established a large client database over the years, I’m not only conscious of my clients’ needs but also who they actually are. When it comes to buyers, we offer exclusive information and access to newly-listed properties before an online advert is placed. This personal and proactive approach isn’t part of the property disruptor approach, yet is a key ingredient for clients’ satisfaction.

What agents bring to the table

We should never underestimate the important role agents play in selling a property to clients. Online competitors essentially rely on homeowners to carry out the viewings themselves – something very few people with busy schedules could hope to achieve.

An intrinsic part of consistent success is the value placed on the interaction with clients. We offer a bespoke, exclusive experience that speaks to the needs of clientele while making them feel appreciated.

It’s vital that my clients not only know but can also see how my commission fees are working for them. I go out of my way to make sure that I cultivate the trust of every prospective buyer and seller. They not only need to know they are in safe hands but also that they can tap into my in-depth knowledge and experience of the Cape Town housing market.

Of course, there’s a “convenience” appeal that online sales firms offer, but why settle for a convenient sale (with many potential pitfalls) when you’re worthy of an exceptional sale? You can’t put a price on the special relationships I have with my clients, but you will count the cost of missed opportunities by settling for convenience over expertise.  

Your property is likely to be your single largest asset, so it’s crucial to have an experienced agent managing the process.

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