Real estate agents have always been an important part of the home buying and selling process. However, with the advent of modern technology, their role is changing.
In this blog post, we will explore how technology advances are changing the real estate industry and what that means for real estate agent job security and the future of agents.
What does the future of real estate agents look like?
The role of real estate agents in South Africa is changing.
In the past, agents were the only source of information about properties for sale or rent. But now, with portals like Property24 and private sellers using social media to market their properties, buyers have more options than ever before.
As a result, agents must work harder to differentiate themselves and prove their value to potential clients. The future of real estate agents in South Africa will therefore be defined by those who are able to adapt to the changing landscape and provide a truly valuable service.
1. The history of real estate agents and how they’ve evolved over time
South Africa’s real-estate agent profession has undergone a tremendous transformation over the past few decades.
In the past, the vast majority of real estate agents were independent contractors who operated on a commission-only basis. However, this model has largely given way to a more professionalised industry in which agents are typically employed by large brokerages.
This shift has been driven by a number of factors, including the globalisation of the real estate market and the increasing complexity of transactions.
As a result, today’s real estate agent is far better educated and more specialised than their predecessors. They are also more likely to be employed by large real estate agencies that can offer extensive resources and support.
Looking ahead, it is clear that the role of the agent will continue to evolve in response to changing market conditions and technological advances.
While the specifics are impossible to predict, it seems likely that the modern real estate agent will increasingly rely on technology to perform their job, and that they will play a more active role in helping their clients navigate the complex world of real estate.
2. How technology is changing the real estate industry and the role of agents
Technology has always been a driving force in the real estate industry. From the introduction of the multiple listing service (MLS) to the rise of online home search portals, technology has continually transformed the way that buyers and sellers interact with the market.
In recent years, however, the pace of change has accelerated, and new technologies are beginning to have a profound impact on the role of real estate agents.
One of the most significant changes is the way that listings are distributed and displayed.
In the past, agents would typically list a property in local and national newspapers and hope interested buyers would either pitch for the open house, or call the agent directly.
But with the rise of online portals like Property24 consumers were suddenly able to access many more listings and easily filter those that matched their preferences and budget.
It also meant real estate agents had to learn and develop a new skill in the right and wrong way to list properties and optimise it for machines first, and consumers second.
Today, artificial intelligence is everywhere in the home buying process, and agents need to recognise the fact that they need to appeal to algorithms and humans.
With the vast amount of data on portals and the internet in general, online platforms have had to use machine learning and algorithms to better serve their customers: the person performing the search.
All of these platforms have one thing in common: give the consumer the best experience possible and give them the best result that matches their intent.
No website operates in isolation, and because competition in Google Search is so fierce, online platforms work hard to give the searcher exactly what they want and help to end the search journey.
Failing to do this will see the searcher leave the portal and start their search again, which sends a message back to Google that the portal failed to answer the searcher’s need – thus affecting the ranking of the portal.
This is why online portals have strict listing criteria in place and reward those real estate agents who provide more information in their listings than less.
While it is still early days, it seems clear that the future of real estate agents will be very different from the past. Agents who are able to adapt and embrace new technologies will be the ones who succeed in the 2020s and beyond.
3. Pros and cons of using technology in the real estate industry
There is no doubt that technology has revolutionised the way we live and work. In recent years, we have seen a rapid increase in the use of technology in the real estate industry.
From online listings to virtual tours, real estate agents are utilising a range of tools to help sell properties. While there are many advantages to using technology in the industry, there are also some potential drawbacks.
One of the main advantages of using technology is that it can help to reach a wider audience. With so many people now using the internet to search for properties, it is essential that agents have an online presence. By utilising online tools such as social media, Google and property portals, agents can reach a much broader audience than they would if they were relying on traditional methods.
Some of the cons of technology in real estate are that it can lead to a lot of competition. With so many agents now utilising online tools, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd.
Another potential downside is that technology can sometimes make things more complicated than they need to be. For example, if an agent is using a property portal to list properties, they may need to input a lot of data and photos, which can be time-consuming.
But as we discussed above, these data points are important to comprehensively answer buyer intent – which is good for the searcher, portal and ultimately the agent too.
In the future, we think that real estate agents will continue to utilise technology to reach more people and make their jobs easier. However, they will also need to be aware of the potential downsides and learn how to use technology in a way that doesn’t overwhelm or confuse them.
The key to using and embracing technology is to not only talk the talk, but actually walk the talk through demonstration. After all, your clients want to be sure you are as technologically competent as they are (or better). Real estate agent job security depends on it.
4. What the future of real estate agents looks like and how you can prepare for it
The future of real estate agents in South Africa looks promising. The industry is growing and the demand for qualified agents is high. However, there are a few things you can do to set yourself apart from the competition and make sure you are prepared for the future of real estate.
First, it is important to stay up to date with the latest technology.
In today’s world, buyers and sellers are using the internet and mobile devices to find properties and conduct transactions. As a result, it is essential that you are able to use these tools to your advantage. You should be able to list properties online, send out digital marketing materials, and communicate with clients via email, text, Whatsapp, Messenger and Google Chat.
Second, you need to be able to provide value-added services. In addition to helping clients buy and sell homes, you can also offer services such as home staging, interior design, property inspections and even repairs. By offering these services, you will be able to differentiate yourself from other sales agents who are only focused on the transaction.
Third, it is important to have a strong understanding of the market. This includes being familiar with market trends and how they inform your marketing and pricing strategy.
It is also important to have a solid understanding of the neighbourhoods you work in so that you can provide your clients with expert advice. After all, this is one the the real estate agent’s core tasks.
5. How to stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing industry
As the real estate industry continues to evolve, today’s real estate agent needs to focus on staying ahead of the curve if they want to be successful.
Luckily, there are a few key things that real estate experts can do to make sure they are always keeping up with the latest industry trends.
One of the most important things is to always be learning. Whether it’s taking online courses, attending conferences, or reading industry publications, staying well-informed will help sales agents stay ahead of the game.
Additionally, it’s important to stay active on social media and other online platforms. In today’s digital world, it’s critical for sales agents to have an online presence if they want to reach potential clients.
Finally, agents should always be thinking about new and innovative ways to use technology to their advantage. From using drones for property tours to implementing virtual reality in their marketing, there are endless possibilities for agents who are willing to embrace change.
While the real estate industry is constantly evolving, one thing remains the same: the importance of having a knowledgeable and experienced agent by your side.