Listings websites let potential buyers search for properties with just a mouse click, so are the days of the physical office numbered? Real Estate Business’ Stacey Moseley investigates.
Shane Evans operates a real estate business, but not as some of us know it.
His company, Finesse Property, located on the Gold Coast, is a virtual office, and that suits Mr Evans just fine.
“I don’t believe a shop front is a necessity for my business,” Mr Evans said. “The proof is in the pudding: this year alone I have sold 14 properties in 14 weeks.”
“According to statistics, there is a 96 per cent chance a buyer will look at an online source before they buy a home. People aren’t walking into offices anymore.”
Mat Steinwede, principal of McGrath Central Coast and Mat Steinwede Pty Ltd, agrees. In a recent blog, he told his subscribers that the internet has taken the place of the window display.
“Gone are the days when a buyer will walk around from real estate office to real estate office and register their name,” he blogged on matsteinwede.com. “Buyers don’t even want to go into an office at all. They want to look on the internet, or flick through the paper themselves or go to an open home.
“Technology has made it very easy for buyers to sit in their home and search through all properties available, from all agents.”
Case Study – Mark Shorrock, Sales Manager, Ray White Bellbowrie
YEARS AGO, before internet advertising came of age, I worked at my parents’ LJ Hooker office, which was located in a prominent position in Palm Beach, on the Gold Coast. At the time, there was a high volume of enquiries coming from the display window.
My dad’s old saying was, “Ducks on the pond”, which meant someone was browsing the office window and the rostered salesperson on duty was to approach them.
I have also more recently worked in a dominant agency in Brisbane, and they had no shop front to speak of. This office outperformed all the other agencies in the area.
Most of the competition held strategic shop front positions on main streets or secondary arterial roads and shopping centres, but even with this exposure they couldn’t match the traffic at the agency at which I worked.
More recently, the Brisbane floods forced the company I now work for – Ray White Bellbowrie – to operate from a residential address until a new shopping centre was built. Because of this, I now work as the sales manager from my own home office, and I don’t see this as a problem. Very few of our clients have raised this setup as a problem, either.
With the amount of time people spend on their smartphones, tablets and PCs to search for property, online is king. The modern buyer sets foot in fewer properties than they used to and the days when I put a potential buyer in my car to show them around are virtually gone.
How times have changed. My research shows that here in Bellbowrie, approximately 85 per cent to 90 per cent of all buyer enquiries come via the internet.
The office, as we currently know it, will eventually be broken up into small satellite offices.
They will be like small business hubs containing minimal staff and equipment to conduct the bare essentials of administration and clerical duties, and the agents and property managers will operate remotely to maximise productivity.
This will provide the opportunity for savvy real estate business owners to increase the scope of their territories. You may even see more offices utilising the services of virtual offices, where licensees from different franchise groups will lease office space, and staff form virtual offices alongside larger independents in a bid to cut staff costs.
This post courtesy of Stacey Moseley at Real Estate Business Bulletin – thanks Stacey