By its cus­tomers,

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

prof­itabil­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity). Time will tell whether the market will adopt these mod­els par­tially, sig­nif­i­cantly or not at all in the medium to long term. Right now, it’s too early to judge market take-up, and whether 1.5% is a model that can be sus­tain­ably prof­itable.”

He says, how­ever, it is a given there will be on­go­ing tech­no­log­i­cal/dig­i­tal ad­vances and in­creas­ing au­to­ma­tion of many pro­cesses within the real es­tate en­vi­ron­ment, seem­ingly at al­most ev­ery com­po­nent of what makes up a real es­tate trans­ac­tion. Some – like search (via por­tals) – have oc­curred al­ready; oth­ers will take longer.

“Notwith­stand­ing these tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances, for now, con­sumers – both home pur­chasers and sell­ers – are see­ing value in the on­go­ing hu­man in­ter­ac­tion value that tra­di­tional es­tate agents pro­vide. The re­quire­ment of and need for cred­i­ble, pro­fes­sional, ex­pert ad­vice is sen­si­ble and pru­dent.

“No property trans­ac­tion is ex­actly the same as an­other. Each has spe­cific pe­cu­liar­i­ties and nu­ances to which the av­er­age home­owner is not likely to have been ex­posed.”

Gold­ing says au­to­mated, non-agent mod­els pre­sume the buyer and the seller can reach agree­ment on price with­out an in­ter­me­di­ary.

“Our ex­pe­ri­ence over 40 years is that this is of­ten not the case and an­other area where an agent brings their con­sid­er­able skill and knowhow to bear.”

Rob Ste­fanutto, group managing di­rec­tor, Do­gon Group Prop­er­ties, says: “While al­ter­na­tive op­tions ex­ist, it is im­por­tant to com­pare ap­ples with ap­ples in terms of the ser­vices you re­ceive.”

The daily tasks of an es­tate agent have changed “quite con­sid­er­ably over the past few years” and they now no longer sim­ply sell real es­tate.

“With the ad­vent of Fica and Cap­i­tal Gains Tax and other changes in the in­dus­try, a pro­fi­cient bro­ker is there not only to market your property, but also to guide you through the process.

“A good agency will un­der­stand how to deal with all the com­pli­ances you need for your fi­nance, and any other pit­falls that may arise in to­day’s market.

“Many con­sumers have lim­ited knowl­edge of the real es­tate busi­ness and an es­tate agent should be seen as a property pro­fes­sional.

“This is one of the rea­sons why the Es­tate Agency Af­fairs Board and agencies over the past few years have in­creased the lev­els of train­ing for their agents and mem­bers. This has meant the commission paid is for a full service bou­quet to the con­sumer,” says St­ef­fanutti.

Dis­rup­tor Prop­er­tyFox agrees that you have to com­pare ap­ples with ap­ples.

Its co- founder, Ash­ley James, says they saw and took a gap in the market “to help peo­ple sell their houses for a frac­tion of the cost, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously of­fer­ing more ex­po­sure in the market”.

“Prop­er­tyFox can’t be com­pared to an es­tate agency as we don’t have the same sys­tems or the same fi­nan­cial struc­ture as the tra­di­tional model. We are a team that utilises tech­nol­ogy to of­fer clients more, for less. We fo­cus on sell­ing homes as well as the speed with which the trans­ac­tion takes place.”

Cus­tomer service, he says, is “our strong­est at­tribute, fol­lowed by mas­sive sav­ings”.

“We have, in fact, rein­vented and re­struc­tured the tra­di­tional sales model not only to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the costs in­volved, but also to al­low for

PIC­TURE: PEXELS

Tech­nol­ogy has seen ‘dis­rup­tors’ mov­ing into the real es­tate market, of­fer­ing huge sav­ings on the commission charged for ne­go­ti­at­ing sales.

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