Even with the evo­lu­tion of the dig­i­tal world, the role of the es­tate agent re­mains rel­e­vant to trans­ac­tions

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY 360 - VI­VIAN WARBY AND VIVIEN HORLER Out­look.

the low-com­mis­sion agency

But, say the tra­di­tion­al­ists – and even some of the tech com­pa­nies – prop­erty pro­fes­sion­als are still rel­e­vant, and likely to en­sure the process of buy­ing and sell­ing a home is “suc­cess­ful, less stress­ful, and more fi­nan­cially prof­itable”.

Rather than be­ing afraid of be­ing re­placed by tech­nol­ogy and knee-jerk re­ac­tions about elim­i­nat­ing the dig­i­tal com­pe­ti­tion, Mike Gre­eff, chief ex­ec­u­tive Gre­eff Christie’s In­ter­na­tional Real Es­tate, says the real es­tate in­dus­try should con­sider ef­fec­tively us­ing the tools and the tech­nol­ogy avail­able to do what it does even bet­ter.

“Tech­nol­ogy is not just about mak­ing our lives eas­ier, but also en­ables us, as a mod­ern real es­tate busi­ness, to make the clients’ ex­pe­ri­ence as ef­fort­less and en­joy­able as pos­si­ble.”

Gre­eff says at­tend­ing an In­man Con­nect Real Es­tate Con­fer­ence in San Fran­cisco ear­lier this year opened his eyes to the im­pact tech­nol­ogy is hav­ing on the tra­di­tional real es­tate land­scape.

How­ever, he be­lieves tech­nol­ogy and the tra­di­tional way of do­ing things can and should co-ex­ist.

“Tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment should not, for in­stance, de­tract from


es­tate the im­por­tance of print in real es­tate com­pa­nies’ com­mu­ni­ca­tion strate­gies,” says Gre­eff, whose com­pany has its own glossy print and on­line mag­a­zine, It also has a big print foot­print na­tion­ally.

“Re­ports, for in­stance, of the demise of print me­dia as a mar­ket­ing and advertising medium have proven to be un­nec­es­sar­ily alarmist.”

He be­lieves the medium is “ef­fec­tive at tar­geted mes­sag­ing and is im­por­tant for brand aware­ness”, and is one ex­am­ple of how the old and new can work well to­gether.

Just Prop­erty chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Stevens says in­no­va­tions which dis­rupt in­dus­tries of­ten work for the good of society as a whole, but while the tra­di­tional way of sell­ing prop­er­ties is “for­ever changed”, he agrees there is still a great need for hu­man con­tri­bu­tions in the prop­erty trans­ac­tion.

“The agen­cies that sur­vive the dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion will be those of­fer­ing ex­cel­lent per­sonal ser­vice and peace of mind that no web­site can match.”

Crispin Inglis, chief ex­ec­u­tive of dig­i­tal agency Prop­er­tyFox, says the fact tra­di­tion­al­ists have come on board to dig­i­tal shows “a strong en­dorse­ment” of the af­ford­abil­ity, trans­parency and ef­fi­ciency that dig­i­tal can bring to the mar­ket.

He says: “It is an­other big nod from es­tab­lished play­ers in the di­rec­tion of af­ford­able dig­i­tal prop­erty trans­ac­tions”.

But while there is no ques­tion that tech­nol­ogy is go­ing to play an ever-in­creas­ing role in the res­i­den­tial real es­tate world, An­drew Gold­ing, chief ex­ec­u­tive Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties, says: “The mod­ern agent needs to, among other skills, pro­vide in­sight, wis­dom and per­sonal value way be­yond the ba­sic con­trac­tual needs of a trans­ac­tion.

“It boils down to the need for a trusted ad­viser. That is what a real es­tate agent pro­vides, and which tech­nol­ogy will never pro­vide.”


HARD COPY The tra­di­tional can, and should, live along­side new tech­nol­ogy, say ex­perts.|

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