Consumers want ‘new and improved’ agents

Among the far-reaching changes that the recession brought about in the real estate industry is a worldwide wave of consumer demand for agents to be more professional, and South African consumers are no exception.

So says Hano Jacobs, CEO of the Realty 1 International Property Group, who notes that these raised expectations are in line with a renewed focus generally on personal service, value for money and expert knowledge in many service industries.

“Consumers around the world are re-asserting themselves and demanding good service in return for their hard-earned cash. They want what they’re paying for and they will now quickly stop doing business with anyone or any company that they feel is not delivering or is treating them like a ‘number’.

“On the other hand, they are proving to be very loyal to companies and service providers that have gained their trust and confidence – and this is clearly evident in the real estate sector, where only about a third of the agents who were operating before the recession are now still in business.”

The corollary of these changes, he says, is that estate agents now have to market themselves, not merely their property stock, to provide clients with a clear understanding of precisely what value they bring to the property transaction.

"Property marketing is becoming increasingly sophisticated and driven by business principles, while technology and especially training play increasingly important roles, so the age of the ‘weekend agent’ is over.

“And this is why top agents want to work for companies like ours, which have recognised the need to raise standards and to equip agents with the intellectual and well as the technological means to do well in an increasingly complex industry. Indeed, we regard on-going education as essential for everyone in Realty 1 and not just something for the elite few.”

On the other hand, says Jacobs, Realty 1 recognises that there will always be emotion involved in selling or buying a home – and that the most successful agents are those that can empathise with their clients while still providing an expert service.

Article by: www.realty1.co.za