There will be an argument put forward that the estate agency industry hasn’t changed much over the years and in some regards, this is correct. The estate agent has the aim of bring people and properties together, offering guidance and support.
The estate agent needs to provide a good standard of customer service, legal advice and marketing and negotiating skills on behalf of their clients. The ultimate aims of the role haven’t changed much but of course, the way that individual estate agents work and how the market operates in general have changed considerably.
Online property portals are the starting platform for property sales
One of the biggest changes has impacted on how estate agents promote properties and how buyers start their search process. Online property portals allow potential buyers to pinpoint areas or certain types of homes based on various criteria, making it easier for potential buyers to hone in on what is right for them.
As the technology surrounding these platforms continues to develop, it is possible to provide images and video clips allowing a virtual walk through of the property. Some estate agents are now turning to live video clips and demonstrations of a property, ensuring that potential buyers can develop a real feel for what a home has to offer.
It is also important to take on board the way people access the internet. Improved connectivity and faster download speeds has made video content and streaming key components of the internet. This provides the opportunity for estate agents to showcase their homes in the most effective manner. There is also the fact that more people are using smartphones and tablets to access the internet. This has created a change in people’s behaviour, with fewer people wanting to read lengthy texts on small devices. This is another factor in the importance of video and visual content, which means that there are many factors which has driven the changes in how properties are presented.
Digital documents have sped up the process
The internet has made communication quicker and more effective, which has been of great benefit to estate agents. Buying and selling homes often requires a lot of information and documents to be passed back and forth between various parties. There are clearly still documents which need to be passed in a physical format to be signed and agreed upon but digital communication has helped to speed up and clarify various parts of the process.
A similar argument can be made with respect to digital payments and bank transfers. The property market has long been dependent on the safe transfer of money between parties but the process is quicker and safer these days, which has helped to conclude deals in a more effective manner.
Marketing of property can be more effective
The improved marketing opportunities provided by the internet should help estate agents promote homes to the right people. The leading social media platforms allow targeted advertising which can place an estate agent or property in front of the intended market, making promotional activity much more focused. There is also a lot to be said for the viral-nature of social media while estate agents can benefit from following localised hashtags and having a presence in their local area.
It is easier to carry out research
Another way that the internet has changed life in the estate agency industry has made it easier to carry out research. Technically this is the same for everyone, so there will be some potential buyers who are very well informed about the market but for estate agents who specialise in a local area, there is an opportunity to develop a strong report into what areas can offer.
Ideally, information gleaned from the internet should be combined with local knowledge and understanding, which will provide valuable insight into any potential buyer.
Improved technology has changed many industries and even the most experienced professionals would agree that the estate agency industry has been largely impacted upon by new and developing technology.