The rise in technology over the past few decades has caused significant disruptions to many industries. With concepts such as AI (artificial intelligence) and Machine Learning expected to change and progress even more, many people are worried about what might happen to their jobs.

Real estate is one of many industries that has benefited greatly from technology in recent years. Not all too long ago, if you wanted to see a new listing, you had to physically go a real estate agency’s office and look at the hardcopies on the window.

These days, we have listings more accessible than ever before. Developments such as including a plethora of images, as well as increased virtual tours thanks to the forced innovation that COVID-19 brought with it. Newer technology is also not limited to listings, but a host of other tools that make it easier to market properties, obtain finance, settle, manage properties, or even drum up new leads through CRMs.

Despite the introduction of new technology, real estate remains human in its essence, and will never be replaced by technology. While technology certainly has a big role to play in assisting agents as well as buyers and sellers, the human element of real estate remains irreplaceable.

Here’s why.

Relationships

Real estate is a relationships industry, it’s all about the connection between clients, agents, and vendors. It’s the job of a real estate agent to build and maintain relationships, as it’s a major key in generating new business.

Every time a prospective buyer enters a home open, they are also a potential vendor. Vendor’s use real estate agents they trust and have a relationship with.

Builders and developers sell properties through people in their network. Many agents have huge referral networks that are built on relationships, not just with potential clientele but the community as well.

For many vendors, selling a property is significant, and while they want the best price they can, price may not the ultimate deciding factor. Other factors can include additional benefits or incentives, as well as a personal connection with the agent or agency. So, while technology might be able to assist, it is unable to create and nurture relationships in the same way that a person can.

Local Knowledge

Given recent innovations, there is a myriad of technology out there that helps value a property. While some of these tools can come up with good estimates of what a property might be worth, it’s never quite as good as what a local agent could estimate.

There’s a reason the industry puts so much weight on valuations that are performed in person, by people who physically go through a property. In real estate, there are so many nuances, and no two properties are ever the same.

There are also many factors that need to be considered. One of these factors is the sentiment and what is happening on the ground at any given moment. Valuers and agents can look at the property first hand, taking into account not only the property itself, but it’s condition and surroundings.

Even the data the technology platforms use can be months behind and cannot replace the real-life conversations that are taking place between buyers and agents during open homes.

Real estate agents know what is happening in a property market before it’s ever reflected in the numbers. This also helps agents set a price and use the most effective marketing strategy, as there is not a one size fits all approach to selling. The local knowledge that agents have cannot be replaced with technology. Instead, their knowledge and lived experiences should be combined with hard data and predictions leads in order to reach the best outcome.

Personal Touch

For most people, buying a property is the single biggest investment they will ever make. For those buying a property to live in, this can be hugely emotional.

A real estate agent is the middleman trying to manage both sides of the equation. An agent does their best to help the fears and concerns of a first-time buyer, whist also working with the vendor’s needs given their personal situation. This bespoke element of real estate cannot be replaced with technology, no matter how advanced.

Negotiation

In recent years, we have seen new platforms come along to assist with selling properties. While these tools are good in some situations, we still see huge numbers of properties selling through a traditional offer and acceptance process.

This type of negotiation is very personal, and a highly skilled agent has the ability to generate a good result for a vendor.

Technology can’t understand a buyer’s motivation. It can’t interpret what that buyer might be prepared to pay. Real estate agents are expert negotiators and it’s their people skills that make them so good at their jobs, people skills that cannot be replicated by technology.

Technology as a Tool

Clearly, real estate is an industry that is not going to see technology replacing agents any time soon. However, there are many technological tools that agents have at their disposal that can help them improve by being more efficient at doing their job.

That’s the big advantage of technology. It’s a tool at an agent’s disposal, not a threat.

10 Habits of Highly Successful Real Estate Agents

VaultRE is Australia’s number one real estate CRM, and we want to show you why we deserve the top spot.

With the right knowledge you can leverage our software to revolutionise the way that you do business, from having a single-page view of every aspect of your day-to-day operations to native, intuitive marketing tools.

Join our presenters Oliver Vialls, Training Manager at VaultRE, and Elliot Stansfield, Tech Stack Consultant at PropTech Group, for this on-demand webinar, as they take us through how you can use VaultRE to revolutionise your business, including how to:

House prices continue to rise around Australia, but the strong selling conditions are seeing many vendors choose to list their properties, leading to a sharp jump in stock levels.

The latest data from CoreLogic shows that house prices around the country rose by 1.1% last month, marking the 14th consecutive month of rising prices.

November saw Brisbane and Adelaide lead the way with gains of 2.9% and 2.4%, taking their quarterly increases to 7.5% and 6.9%. Sydney and Melbourne continued to see price growth with rises of 0.9% and 0.6%, while Hobart and Canberra also remained strong increasing by 1.1%.

Elsewhere, Perth recorded relatively flat growth at 0.2% while only Darwin had a negative result with a fall of -0.4%.

Over the past 12 months, the growth of regional areas has continued to outpace the capital cities. In November, regional areas saw 2.2% growth taking the annual rate of growth to 25.2%. Compared to 21.3% for the capital cities over the same period of time

Property Index Results as at November 30, 2021

While the gains continue around the country, Head of Research at CoreLogic, Tim Lawless notes that it appears momentum is slowing in some areas.

“Virtually every factor that has driven housing values higher has lost some potency over recent months. Fixed mortgage rates are rising, higher listings are taking some urgency away from buyers, affordability has become a more substantial barrier to entry and credit is less available.”

Mr Lawless believes affordability is causing the slowdown in Australia’s more expensive locations, which is why there is still strong growth in Adelaide and Brisbane.

“Relative to the larger cities, housing affordability is less pressing, there have been fewer disruptions from COVID lockdowns and a positive rate of interstate migration is fueling housing demand,” Mr Lawless said.

“On the other hand, Sydney and Melbourne have seen demand more heavily impacted from affordability pressures and negative migration from both an interstate and overseas perspective.”

Listings on the Rise

CoreLogic says the rise in the number of homes available for sale is a key factor driving the slowdown in capital growth.

Nationally, the number of new listings added to the market over the four weeks ending November 28th was tracking 15.7% above the five year average - the highest level since late 2015.

In the past month, total stock available for sale across Adelaide was - 32.0% lower than the five year average, and -33.9% lower across Brisbane. Across Sydney and Melbourne however, stock levels have become far more normalised in recent weeks, with Sydney total listings sitting just -2.6% below the five year average, while stock levels across Melbourne are 7.9% above the five year average.

Mr Lawless says that new listings will continue to weigh on momentum in the coming months, particularly on the East Coast.

“Fresh listings are being added to the market faster than they can be absorbed, pushing total active listings higher. More listings imply more choice and less urgency for buyers,” Mr Lawless said.

“Although inventory levels are rising, the upwards trend is from an extremely low base. The total number of active listings has increased by 67.3% since early September, but stock levels remain -24.0% below the five year average for this time of the year. We expect inventory levels will continue to normalise into 2022 which should see selling dynamics gradually shift away from vendors, providing buyers with some additional leverage at the negotiation table.”

CoreLogic says the days it takes to sell a property are also on the rise around the country, increasing from 21 in May to 25. While auction clearance rates have also been falling in recent weeks.

“The rise in listings and softening of key vendor metrics implies the housing market may be moving through peak selling conditions, however, it will be important to see if this trend towards higher listings continues after the festive season,” Mr Lawless said.

New and Total Rolling 28 Day Count

Growth Likely to Continue

Looking forward, CoreLogic feels that the outlook for Australian housing markets remains positive, however, the pace of capital gains has lost momentum across most regions since April.

Notably, stock levels are rising in many markets along the east coast while fixed rate mortgages are also slowly increasing ahead of any changes from the RBA. Variable mortgage rates are less inclined to rise until the cash rate lifts, which is still expected to be more than a year away. Low mortgage rates will continue to support housing demand, but probably not to the same extent as seen through 2021.

We’ve also recently heard from APRA, who have noted that rising house prices do represent risk to the economy, however, they have already moved to lift serviceability buffers in expectation of rate rises ahead.

CoreLogic believes we will continue to see slowing growth continue into next year and beyond with most of the factors that have been pushing housing prices higher having either diminished or expired.

The Gen Z demographic (those born between 1997-2012) might be young right now, but they represent a huge portion of the population and many are already starting to buy their first homes.

For real estate agents who have just become used to dealing with Millennials, the Gen Z’ers represent a massive opportunity, but will also require new levels of understanding and marketing tactics to appeal to this growing market.

Tech Generation

A predominant characteristic of the Gen Z demographic is that they are tech-savvy, with the ability to learn and understand new technologies with minimal training. Their intuition guides their use, and agents will need to be able to communicate and market to them accordingly.

The iPhone was released in 2007, when much of this generation was in early primary school, kindergarten and some not even born yet. For the most part, all this generation have known is smartphones. Fortunately, marketing through smartphones and channels like social media will be highly effective for this demographic, as much of their time is spent online.

Similarly, the Gen Z demographic will also put a lot of weight onto what they hear from influencers. They are likely to buy or sell with an agent who has a strong social media following as this gives them a degree of trust in that person.

Learn more about social media marketing for real estate agencies iin this blog article.

Higher Leverage

With house prices rising so much in recent years, most Gen Z’ers would have never seen a prolonged fall in property prices.

As such, they may also prepared to borrow more than previous generations. Years ago an 80% LVR was considered normal. With programs in place like the FHLDS (First Home Loan Deposit Scheme) and with other things like guarantor loans, a 95% loan is more common for the Gen Z demographic.

Agents will need to understand that for this group of homebuyers, it has never been more difficult to save for a deposit and house prices have never been so unaffordable. In the years ahead, agents should expect to see higher LVR loans and they need to be prepared to educate their vendors on this new type of home buyer.

Affordability

It’s no secret that Sydney and Melbourne house prices have risen so much that they are unaffordable for the vast majority of young people today.

Given that’s unlikely to change in the near future, members of Gen Z are being forced to take a different approach when buying properties.

Increasingly, many younger people are looking to buy a property in a vibrant community that is more affordable. That typically means looking to the outer suburbs and regional areas.

Low-cost living outside of big cities is increasingly important to Gen Z members, given many are also very financially savvy and value knowledge about personal finance. While they might be prepared to take on higher LVR loans, they still don’t want to be weighed down by huge debts that they will be forced to repay for the rest of their lives.

Creativity

In years gone by, a couple would get married, buy a home, raise their children, and live in that home for the rest of their lives.

With house prices now so high and the fact that it may take two incomes to simply get a mortgage, many in the Gen Z demographic are going to need to get creative to buy their family home.

This will likely mean upgrading their way through various sizes of homes over many years. Or taking on creative strategies like rentvesting in a bid to climb the ladder.

Gen Z will need to be far more active in their real estate transactions than any other generation. For sales agents, this is a good thing but will require you to start laying the foundations and building relationships with these people today.

Revolutionise Your Business with VaultRE

Over the past 18 months, we have observed a sharp reduction in the number of properties listed for sale. Despite this drop, transaction volumes have remained plentiful, suggesting that demand is still quite high. One of the reasons for this combination is that there are a growing number of properties being sold off-market. 

A vendor may choose to sell the property off-market for a multitude of reasons, with speed and convenience being the predominant benefits of this type of sale. 

A sales agent with an extensive marketing network and great reach has the potential to have success in selling properties off-market. There are numerous ways an agent can do this, and oftentimes a combination of several different approaches proves the most useful. 

1. Email 

One of the most effective ways to connect with a potential buyer for an off-market property is via email marketing. Most agents begin the process of compiling lists of prospective buyers as they attend open homes. In many cases, serious buyers will request to be placed on an agent’s active buyers list in an effort to be first informed of properties that are coming to market.  

This kind of customer is generally the most likely buyer of an off-market property, as they are already demonstrating a keen interest in looking for properties. If you, as an agent, have a detailed understanding of a buyer’s requirements, you can quickly email prospective buyers about properties that suit their needs as they become available.

A CRM is a great asset to have in cases like this, as you can store information about prospective buyers and their preferences. As properties emerge, you can recall the different preferences of buyers and match them to upcoming properties, before even having to advertise. This can be achieved through either direct email to specific buyers, or by grouping potential customers together and creating a personalised newsletter. 

2. Direct Outreach 

The role of an effective agent is to find potential buyers and facilitate transactions. Successful agents understand that market conditions do not always favour the seller, and in those circumstances, it is on the onus of the agent to do the extra work in order to sell a property. 

If an agent has an active buyer that has missed out on similar properties, they are likely to find off-market success by searching for new properties that are similar in nature and providing potential buyers with access. This ideology should extend to the entire agency, not just specific agents. If there are similar listings across the agency, it’s in the best interest of the team to work together and assist the active buyer in finding suitable properties as they emerge. Doing this will help customers build trust in not only the agent, but the agency as a whole.

By contacting a buyer directly, you can develop and build a relationship with them. These relationships become important for future transactions, as well as local reputation. 

3. Print 

Another great way to get in touch with buyers directly is through traditional mail. Consider your target market and your customer base. If you have an active list of buyers that you can’t reach easily or in a timely manner, then direct mail could be a great option.  

A letter in the mail can often be more likely to be opened by a large percentage of recipients, while an email can sometimes be ignored or incorrectly detected as spam. This is especially true for specific demographics, so understanding your target market and potential buyers is paramount.

4. SMS 

SMS is a great way to quickly and easily reach out to potential buyers in an informal way. It can be a great way to introduce yourself, follow up, or gauge the interest of a prospective buyer. 

By integrating the use of your CRM, SMS can be automated and save the agent time. However, given the personal nature of SMS, it’s important to keep personal elements to the messages you create.

Use your CRM to create templates that fit the type of customer you will be targeting as well as the message purpose. Be mindful to ensure that you are not over saturating your potential buyers with messaging. Oversaturation can lead to messages feeling less personal and are therefore more likely to be ignored, much like excessive email. 

5. Use Your CRM 

The process of selling off-market properties can be made quicker and more effective with the use of a quality CRM.

A CRM allows you to easily match available properties with potential buyers. By creating knowledge bases for both properties and potential buyers, your CRM can easily identify matches between property features, and the criteria that buyers are searching for. From this point, you can create automated triggers, which let your customers know as soon a property that is right for them becomes available. 

A great CRM will also assist in with compiling and sending emails, newsletters, SMS and even print campaigns. The more methods you can utilise to reach potential buyers, the better – as long as the messaging does not become overused. Learn what works for your audience, and continue to do that.

For more information about the best marketing tools for your real estate agency, please watch this on-demand webinar

Selling properties off market is becoming more and more appealing to vendors due to the costs of listing and advertising properties continuing to rise. Buyers are also becoming more interested in-off market buying opportunities in order to avoid competition. 

By building your networks now and putting the right technology in place, you will be able to successfully sell off-market properties and further develop your skillset.

Prospecting Tips to Boost Leads and Generate Revenue

The path to purchase for homebuyers isn’t a short journey, research commissioned by realestateview puts it at about 20 months on average.

Understanding the different phases that buyers go through, and knowing what kind of media they consume in each phase, can be your silver bullet as an agent for generating and nurturing leads.

Join our presenters Jen Melocco, National Property News Director at ACM, Bill Nikolouzakis, COO at Proptech Group, and Toby Balazs, CEO at realestateview.com.au as they discuss:

Technology, Tech Stacks, and Real Estate - The Basics

Technology has always been a strong partner to agents and professionals in real estate, but the industry as a whole tends to be slow to the punch when it comes to adopting change. And that’s not just talking about a hesitance to implement untested solutions, but also a trend of holding onto aging platforms. As soon as software stops being a support to your business and becomes a headache to be wrangled you should start seriously thinking about doing a tech stack audit, but what does that mean?

When we say ‘tech stack audit’ we’re talking about an evaluation of the software solutions, tools, apps, and platforms utilised by an agency or franchise group to carry out their business operations. That includes day-to-day support and customer relationship management software, tools to monitor performance metrics, internal and client communications, and marketing functions.

PropTech Group’s CRO Bill Nikolouzakis advises that technology is the means to the end, and not the end itself.

"Agents should look to building a tech stack that is bespoke to their business and reduces the amount of time spent on mundane tasks, freeing them up to do what’s really important: helping clients."

Good tech should be the foundation of a modern agency. The right solutions will free up time across the board, from agents and administrative staff all the way up to owners and principles. Take customer relationship management (CRM) software as an example: if a businesses CRM is a bad fit because it lacks key functionality, or isn’t appropriate to the size and needs of the business, doesn’t allow for easy access to data or interpretation of performance metrics for reporting then it stops being support and becomes a hurdle to overcome.

Comfort with technology will naturally vary across a business so a single user struggle may not be the make or break in deciding if a piece of tech is good or bad, but if frustration is widespread then it’s past time to take a good look at what you’re getting for your money.

Bill Nikolouzakis believes that you should select the technology that is most suited to the requirements of the people in your business.

"If you have a small team that all perform multiple tasks, then starting with a CRM system like Eagle Software would be an example of a good fit. If you’re a larger business that already has extensive processes and systems in place, then a more customisable solution like VaultRE could be the better option to support you."

If the general sentiment is that the software creates more issues than it solves, that’s a good sign that you need to evaluate what you’re really getting out of it. Software needs to earn it’s place in your tech stack; otherwise you end up with a bloated mess that wastes time, money, and the energy of your people. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to technology in real estate, even within a franchise group individual agencies will have specific needs - and as an industry there are unique goals, purposes and challenges that IT infrastructure must address.

Defining what your challenges are, and what kind of software you need to address them, is a good first step to dip your toes in the water of performing a tech stack. Are they being met efficiently, are you having to use a patchwork of so-so software to cover all your bases, do your people like the software you’re using?

That last point is more important than you might think; users who don’t like the software won’t be motivated to put in the effort to learn the ins and outs of it, or may use it improperly for the sake of speeding up the process and spending as little time working with it as possible.

Why Now?

Doing a proper tech stack audit is a big investment, and it can be a daunting task.

It takes time and resources, and given the heat and speed of the current Australian property market it’s understandable to be unmotivated to shift your focus inward and put in the hard yards. But that’s also why now is the right, and crucial, time to do it. The industry is booming and there’s no sign of it slowing down soon, and putting the time in now will pay you back with interest in the future. Reviewing your tech will save time across the board for agents, property managers, administrators, all the way up to principles and owners. It’ll save you money by consolidating your software and sorting the wheat from the chaff, and help you maintain a single source of truth for all of your operational data so you can make confident, informed decisions.

As a business changes it’s software should too. Solutions that used to be cornerstones will be outgrown, and functional overlap from adding in tech piecemeal rather than planning out a stack all work together in creating an ecosystem that can drain resources rather than streamline operations.

PropTech Group has a strong ethos of integration and user-friendliness, as Bill Nikolouzakis says:

"Building a deeply integrated solution, one where an agent can run their entire real estate practice from one place, is absolutely essential. If you have multiple software solutions with multiple data entry points and logins agents just won’t use them."

How Do I Get Started?

So you want to audit your technology, but where to begin? It’s an intimidating process to start, particularly for older businesses that have had more time to accumulate software and may be wary of bringing in unfamiliar tech. The best place to start is by creating a comprehensive list of every piece of software that your business uses, or is subscribed to.

And that’s not hyperbole, committing to the audit means going into exhaustive detail on every front of your infrastructure. Talk to your team in every department; what do the agents use, what do the property managers use, what do your administrators use - what do they enjoy using, what do they dislike? There’s going to be overlap, but you don’t want anything to slip through the cracks.

Make sure that you look through your invoices with a fine-toothed comb and capture all of the subscription-based software so nothing gets overlooked, and tally up the expenses. That number will come in handy later when you’re making choices about implementing new software: having access to it and a firm understanding of where the money goes and why you’re spending it (whether the cost is outweighed by the time it saves, or if it generates enough new leads to have a good return on investment, if the user experience or support experience is positive enough that your people are raving about it) will help inform what you replace, what you keep, and what you discard.

Once you’ve created your list and have a surface-level understanding of what your team likes and dislikes it’s on to evaluating each piece of software. This is going to take time, and it will be well worth the effort. Asking yourself, and your team, the following questions for each piece of software or technology tool you use will give you a good idea of what you need and what you don’t right off the bat.

So now you’ve got an exhaustive list of all of your software, what it costs, the office sentiment towards them, and visibility onto the areas of strength and weakness in your tech stack. Where do you go with this information? Property technology is a deep pool to dive into without guidance, but all of that effort has put you in a good position to bring in an expert to take you through the next phase with confidence.

Bill Nikolouzakis believes strongly in the importance of solutions that empower each individual client according to their needs, saying:

"At PropTech Group we’ve thought this through deeply, and decided to structure our business by having a team of advisors whose only goal is to help our clients decide on the tech solution that’s best for them. Whether it’s one, two, or all of products depending on their requirements, their goals, and the solutions they already have in place."

Making Informed Choices

Identifying the obvious points of improvement is a task you can do on your own, and getting that holistic view of your tech stack will help you in making informed decisions and advocating for what you want and what you need. But completing the audit and shaking up the stack will be a lot easier if you have some expert advice on hand.

It can be easy to lose the forest the forest for the trees, so bringing in a third party with experience in IT and real estate solutions will be worthwhile to help you finalise what programs are necessary, what better options exists, and if you have multiple pieces of software that can be consolidated by switching to a different solution.

Given the current explosion of innovation in the property technology sector agencies are spoiled for choice when it comes to options to add in to their business, so dedicating some time to doing a sweep of demonstrations and consultations with prospective software representatives will give you a better handle on what offerings are part of the new standard, what software is the best fit in providing you with value aligned to the needs and challenges you’ve identified throughout this process, and what price points are to be expected.

So you’re doing some demonstrations or consultations, how can you make the most of the conversation? Here’s some good starting topics to discuss with a consistent or representative of a software solution that you’re thinking of implementing:

You should also be referring back to the lists you’ve made of all your software, the price, the value, and the use. Knowing what you need, what you want, what you’re willing to compromise on, and what you’re willing to pay more for proportionally is going to guide the final phase of your audit: implementation.

As times and needs change your tech stack should be agile enough to evolve with you, and a big part of that is going to be finding solutions that aren’t stagnant. Jumping between solutions frequently will lead to burnout and a lack of motivation for you and your team to put in the time to become experts in the software, so the level of support and development practices of a prospective tech provider should be taken into consideration when moving into testing and implementation.

Do they push out updates quickly, do they have accessible support? Do they have a stable client base? Do they have integrations with other platforms and software so you can minimise the number of portals your team needs to access? All important, and all best discussed with experts.

Looking to the future

Auditing your tech stack isn’t something that can be blitzed through overnight, and you shouldn’t try to. It’s an investment, and it might be a slow burn. But once you’ve done the hard work on the first run through it’ll make subsequent tech health-checks a natural part of your operations. And you should keep a finger on the pulse of your tech stack. The knowledge that a deep-dive gives you will provide a transparent view on the role that technology plays in the day-to-day and long term processes in your business, so in the future your audits won’t be an involved process but reactive and agile.

Identify, evaluate, bring in outside expertise. A final word from Bill Nikolouzakis:

"the best way to go about the final phase of choosing solutions and moving on to implementation is getting that expertise and advice on what’s current best practice in the industry. Agents often don’t know about all of the solutions in the market or their associated costs, and building the best and most affordable tech stack can be a massive competitive advantage."

When you partner with PropTech Group, you’ll have our industry-leading products on your side to help your business grow.  Register for a chat or demonstration here, we would love to help!

Marketing automation is a powerful tool for agents and agencies, but it can be a deep pool to dive into if you don't know the essentials.

What are the best practices for marketing automation and lead generation? How can you use segmentation and automation to create engaging lead nurturing systems? What should you automate, and what shouldn't you automate?

Join us for this on-demand webinar with our presenters, Daniel Streek, Tech Stack Consultant at PropTech Group and James Ramsay, Customer Success Manager at Eagle and let them take you through the essentials for marketing automation and real estate, including topics like:

A real estate agency website is one of your most important assets as it serves multiple roles for buyers, sellers and agents. 

An effective website must be both aesthetically pleasing as well as highly functional with features that integrate with other key tools such as CRMs, listing portals and data tracking. 

Here are some must-have features on your agency website.  

Brand Promotion 

Arguably the most important thing you need to be doing is consistently promoting and marketing your brand. There’s no more obvious place to have your brand front and centre than on your website. Furthermore, all your social media and outbound communications should be directing traffic to your website, so it’s important to keep your website functional and looking great. 

Ensure visitors to your website know that they are visiting your site through inclusion of brand name, logos, brand colours and fonts. Your brand needs to be visible on all pages of the website. It’s important to remember that not all website viewers will go directly to your home page, many will find their way via links shared for content or specific site pages.  

When talking about your brand and what it stands for, highlight what you do and how you help people. Why would a vendor choose to work with you? Why would a buyer trust you? Make your achievements visible for all to see. 

Testimonials 

It’s extremely likely, almost certain that a potential vendor will be visiting your website before they sign up to work with you. Therefore your site need to convey how effective you are at your job, a great way to do this is via testimonials. Knowing that you can deliver on your promises is a vital element in real estate and it’s one that can really drive your business. 

From your first day in real estate, and throughout your career, you should always be collecting testimonials, it’s never too soon to start this process. Use those testimonials as content on your site to not only expand your website, but to gain trust from potential clients and stand out from the competition. 

There is no one size fits all when it comes to testimonials, in fact, it’s actually great to have some variance. A great testimonials page varies in both testimonial length and content. For example, short testimonials are great for quickly conveying a point, but the addition of longer testimonials helps convey a story and build trust. Ideally your testimonial content will be reinforcement of your branding, really driving home the messaging of what your company offers. However, if this branding is very specific, potential readers may get tired of reading the same thing over and over, so it’s important that testimonials also include benefits which you may not have advertised elsewhere.  

Clean and Functional Design 

Your agency website needs to do key things first of all, which are predominantly highlighting your listings and providing details about your agency. However, the design of the site must also be easy to navigate and functional. 

As a website creator, you want to ensure that your website is easy to use and intuitive, so that people viewing your site can easily find what they are looking for. It’s important to have a good balance between text, images, and white space, so that the information is readable and enticing. 

We know that real estate is a visual medium, and if your goal is to get someone to imagine they are in their new dream home, high-resolution images are a must. High quality images are also essential because they can assist in building a good reputation of a trustworthy site. If you’re selling luxury properties, then make sure the images and feel of the site convey that. 

Another key element of function design is the ability to search quickly and easily. If a buyer can’t easily navigate towards a listing or search for it, they may feel discouraged and give up, and decide to leave your site. This lack of functionality in a site can be costly for you and a vendor. 

Utilise many different call-to-actions so that the user can easily perform a simple task, such as downloading a suburb guide or getting in contact with an agent. 

Call-to-action buttons and links throughout your website is a great tool to help the user find what they are looking for. These buttons can also act as helpful prompts to encourage the user to navigate to different parts of your site where you may have an offering. 

CRM Access 

You might not see it as you visit an agency website, but your database is actually the most powerful element of the entire agency in many ways. 

Your CRM is your pipeline and it’s vital that you are collecting leads and funnelling them through to your CRM. All the various call-to-actions, need to lead somewhere and have multiple touchpoints to keep any sales process moving forward. 

Similarly, you need to be able to track where leads come from and how they are finding their way to contact forms and into your CRM. 

Things like newsletters and upcoming listings can often start with a user coming through your website and then entering into some form of sales process, which is normally done with the help of your CRM. The easier all these tools integrate in the backend the easier your life will become and that will free you up to focus on higher-value activities. 

Relevant Content and SEO 

Your goal as an agency should be to become a local area expert or a niche-focused agency (such as project marketing). 

One way you can do that is through the use of quality content. Things like local area guides and information on recent sales in the area are important for local vendors. 

The added benefit of having high-quality content is that you will benefit from some degree of search traffic over time. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to SEO, but it all starts with having relevant content that your audience wants to engage with.  

Showing people that you know your area, is far more important than telling them. Quality localised content is also much more likely to be shared across other channels than generic content that is focused on your area or locality. 

eguide - 10 habits of highly successful real estate agents

The buoyant conditions in housing market’s around the country have continued after another month of house price growth. However, the latest CoreLogic data suggests that while growth rates remain strong across most of the country, momentum is finally starting to ease.

CoreLogic notes that in the month of October, house prices around the country grew by 1.49%, marking the third straight month of growth at a similar rate. Brisbane was the best-performing capital city housing market last month, seeing growth of 2.54%, while once again, Hobart and Canberra performed incredibly strongly with growth of 2.0% and 1.94%.

Sydney put in another month of rising prices, with a 1.5% increase, while Perth was the only capital city market to record negative growth at -0.1%. Over the past 12 months, house prices across the country have now increased in value by 21.58%, being led by Hobart which has seen an incredible 28.06% growth in house prices. Sydney has now grown by 25.23% in the last year, while Canberra has also performed incredibly strongly rising 25.52%.

Regional areas have outperformed the city in the past 12 months with an increase of 24.29%, compared to 20.82% for the major cities and that trend is still in place.

CoreLogic Index results as at 31 October 2021

Source: CoreLogic

Head of Research at CoreLogic, Tim Lawless says that despite strong growth in the past year, momentum is slowing in certain segments.

“House prices continue to outpace wages by a ratio of about 12:1. This is one of the reasons why first home buyers are becoming a progressively smaller component of housing demand. New listings have surged by 47% since the recent low in September and housing focused stimulus such as HomeBuilder and stamp duty concessions have now expired.”

“Combining these factors with the subtle tightening of credit assessments set for November 1, and it’s highly likely the housing market will continue to gradually lose momentum.”

CoreLogic also points out that unit markets are still underperforming houses. This trend is most notable in Sydney where house prices are up 30.4% compared to a 13.6% increase in units in the past 12 months. Melbourne is similar with a 19.5% increase in house prices compared to just 9.2% for units.

Tim Lawless believes that because of the divergence of house and unit prices, there could be a shift back toward more affordable options.

“As housing becomes less affordable, we expect to see more demand deflected towards the higher density sectors of the market, especially in Sydney where the gap between the median house and unit value is now close to $500,000.”

“With investors becoming a larger component of new housing finance, we may see more demand flowing into medium to high density properties. Investor demand across the unit sector could be bolstered as overseas borders open, which is likely to have a positive impact on rental demand, especially across inner city unit precincts.”

Spring Heats Up

The traditional Spring selling season has once again seen an increase in homes listed for sale. Since September 5th, new listings have jumped by 47% while total listings are now 5.2% above the five-year average according to CoreLogic.

CoreLogic New and Total Listings, 28 Day Count

Source: CoreLogic

Tim Lawless believes the increase in listings will help ease some of the pressures on housing markets.

“More listings mean more choice for buyers and less urgency in their purchasing decisions. FOMO is likely to remain a feature of the market while listings remain so far below average. There is a good chance however, that advertised supply will rise further through spring and early summer which, due to worsening housing affordability and a subtle tightening in credit availability, may not be met by a commensurate lift in demand.”

“Vendor metrics such as auction clearance rates, days on market and vendor discounting rates remain at above-average levels, indicating this is still a sellers’ market, however, conditions may start to rebalance towards buyers late this year or early next year,” Mr Lawless said.

Watch the RBA

Overall, CoreLogic says that while momentum is slowly easing, growth will likely continue into 2022. However, there are still some events on the horizon that could impact house prices.

In particular, any moves by the RBA to increase interest rates will likely have a negative impact on house prices. Similarly, if APRA continues to try and tighten lending standards, this could also see reduced levels of buyer demand.

CoreLogic points out that interest rates moving higher have typically been associated with inflection points in the housing market and that could lead to momentum slowing down for house prices. At the same time, the strong growth in house prices has now led to affordability issues in some areas, particularly across Greater Sydney.

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