Even with the evolution of the digital world, the role of the estate agent remains relevant to transactions
the low-commission agency Eazi.com.
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.|