Event date & time:
21.11.2021 at 23:00
What about real estate agents? Are they still needed?
This is a question I am often asked. Many assume that
working in India aim to eliminate agents and allow direct communication between seller and buyer. Although this assumption is partially true, real estate agency make up the majority of these portals' customers and they are working hard to support their growth. We see that most agents are doing well every day. I would like to briefly discuss the dynamics of Indian real estate, the role played by agents and how their role will evolve in the future.
Notification- I've stayed focused on the rental market and not the resale market. The dynamics of the market are vastly different. The article's scope is also limited to Indian Real Estate.
"MakeMyTrip eliminated travel agents. So why isn't it the same for real estate agents?
You need to be aware that online ticketing is a one-click business. The travel agent has been replaced by computers. It is possible to get information about the trip and buy tickets online. Fundamentally, real estate is an offline business. Even though information aggregation is an important aspect of it, site visits and negotiations as well as paperwork need to be done offline. A home can be rented out or sold online, but it is not an easy process. The process can take several months. Here is where real estate agents come in. They guide customers through the offline transaction, bring both sides to agreement on the terms, and finish the paperwork.
Why arenÃ¢ÂÂt property portals trying eliminate agents and becoming virtual middlemen?
A property portal allows buyers and sellers to communicate. The seller can be either an owner, builder, agent or both. Portals will become a C2C platform, with only property owners as the source of inventory. While many prefer this scenario, we must figure out how the platform provider plans to monetize. These providers have the following options:
Listing feesThey can ask the seller or owner to pay a fee for listing their property. It is rare for owners to pay premium listing fees (last time I checked about 5% of sellers listed online were willingly paying), but this is still not enough to sustain the business. Indian consumers will use any service that is free (free listings), or pay for it once rendered (brokerage). However, they are not comfortable with anything else.
To obtain information about the owner, charge property seekersYou can also charge property buyers a fee to provide information about the owner. This is also not sustainable as online sellers tend to list on several portals. It's possible to find a portal that provides the owner's information for no cost.
After the deal closes, brokerage feesThis would be a great way to monetize your website, but it is difficult to implement. Portals will need to track every deal closed offline to achieve this.
While there might be more options available, I donÃ¢ÂÂt think they will become huge revenue generators. It is very costly to operate a portal for real estate. Portals would need a steady revenue stream to offset the cost.
Real Estate Agents are here to help:Agents are prepared to spend big to market their properties via a platform that will provide good leads. Portals view this as a stable, sustainable revenue stream. This is, arguably, a match made for heaven.
So you think property portals are not affecting the brokerage industry?
They have. It was a huge success! Many owners are listing their properties online and agents are beginning to feel the heat. The fact that real estate agents have nearly tripled in number over the past few years means that average real estate agent earned significantly less in 2014 than in 2011. The paradigm shift is starting to be recognized by agents. Before the game gets taken away from them, it's important to make amends. Agents need to change their mentality immediately.
Role of 21st-century real estate agent
Agents were charging a lot for information arbitrage 10 years ago. The cost of this simple service was high, but the world continued to function without any problems. There is an alternative. The number of portal owners has increased, as well as the number and quality of agents. There are also internal portals that allow employees to find housing, group Facebook pages, and portals that assist them with their work. All of these factors have negatively impacted the brokerage sector and it is time to reform.
"What's dangerous? To not evolve, invent, or continuously improve customer experience." This is the message Jeff Bezos (CEO Amazon) said to every realtor in the country. Information arbitrage must be stopped as a game for real estate agents. The world is moving towards a world that makes it easier to access information and this cannot continue to be the USP of why property seekers choose to work with a realtor. The following are my recommendations for agents:
You can save your customers time. Agents can add the most value to their clients by saving them time. Stay current on all the inventory available in your locality. Don't be afraid to tell customers if you don't think they will like your property. You shouldn't force them into a cramped apartment that they don't like. This will cause them to lose confidence in your judgment and make it difficult for you to get their attention again. You will learn to fully understand the customer and help them find the right inventory. A great agent should be able closing a rental agreement in 7 days and a sale in 1 month.
Don't keep as much information as you can. Instead of keeping it all, agents should be willing to share it. You should tell your customers which apartment community the property is located in. Also, inform them how close it is to the bus-stop. And tell them if the owner/tenant would be comfortable living with someone from their area. This will help you build a better relationship with your customers. This will not only work, but it will also help you and your customers get to the seller/owner.
Accept technology and don't resist it - Aside from Whatsapp, agents won't use smart phones for any business-related activities. Why is that? There are many CRM applications available on the app market that they can use. This alone will make their productivity 100 times better! You can also use these applications to market, maintain inventory, and so on. Agents are not able to use them.
You can learn skills that technology/computers can't do. A computer can't negotiate a deal for a client. That's a job that requires an individual touch. An agent can get to the heart of the customer, whereas a computer cannot. Remember that this is a relationship-based industry.
Make social media a marketing platform. Agents should use Facebook to market their listings. A Facebook group for marketing listings is a great tool to reach new customers. This is something that some agents have done successfully and are receiving positive feedback.
Being professional is important - Although it sounds clichÃÂ©, agents need to get back to basics. Agents must practice the following key skills: being punctual, dressing in formals, and speaking politely to customers. Agents who are polite and well mannered are not rare, but they seem to be decreasing.
It's possible to keep going with this list. However, here's a quick summary: If you're a realtor, compare what you were doing 5 years ago for your business with what it is doing today. If you don't see much change, it is likely that your role will be obsolete in the coming years. The world is changing rapidly and only those who are willing to adapt with it will be able to survive the next day. Portals have evolved, house hunting is changing for end customers. It's high time the role and responsibilities of real estate agents changed.
How can we position ourselves in this market that is so complex?
Our goal has been to build a Technology Powered Real Estate company that assists customers in finding the perfect home. Our approach is to combine cutting-edge technology and brokerage expertise. We're adding amazing real estate agents and providing them with next-gen mobile apps/desktop tools to help run their business. This will allow them to understand the market and offer training and learning material. Finally, they can serve customers better. We're optimistic about the road ahead, given the overwhelming response from both customers and agents thus far.