The lockdown has placed immense pressure on the real estate industry to innovate and find new ways to sell homes without meeting face-to-face. Though challenging, real estate agents are still finding digital ways to line up deals from home that can be finalised when the lockdown is lifted.
“We have found that our agents are using all sorts of innovative ways to try and show homes virtually. There have been a few success stories over this time, with a few sales that will go ahead now that the Deeds Office reopened thanks to virtual show homes and other forms of digital advertising. But, having said that, this use of technology has been very much the exception rather than the norm. It certainly does help to showcase a home and garner interest, but most buyers want to experience a home with all their senses rather than just having a visual experience of the home before they make such a big financial commitment,” explains Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett.
While successfully completing a sale via purely digital means may be occasional and rare, agents are still able to use technology to build relationships with clients and line-up potential buyers who might make an offer after seeing the home once lockdown is lifted. Because of this, RE/MAX Global has successfully negotiated special packages for all RE/MAX affiliates across the globe. “The agreement with Zoom makes it possible for us to provide an enhanced version of their off-the-shelf products to all our agents so that they can freely engage with as many of their clients for as long as they need via this video teleconference platform.”
“Additionally, RE/MAX of Southern Africa has developed free, personalised digital business cards to allow our agents to continue to reach out to new clients, albeit digitally. There are also a host of easily personalised promotional videos, freely available to all RE/MAX associates, that allows them to promote their services via social media, email, and other digital platforms,” Goslett explains.
Apart from lining up potential sales, Goslett highlights the fact that now is the best time for agents to learn new skills in order to provide a better service to their customers. “Since our agents will be house-bound during this lockdown, we’ve released a plethora of online-based training courses, webinars and conference calls so that our agents have the opportunity to upskill and refresh over this time. We have also opened up our internal training platform to the public so that anyone who wants to explore the RE/MAX offering may freely do so,” he adds.
Finally, in an effort to share knowledge and inspiration to all South Africans who have to push through these challenging times, RE/MAX of Southern Africa has arranged for top-notch speakers to provide free online inspirational talks for both real estate agents and the greater public. These talks will go live every Thursday at 10am as of 24 April, via the RE/MAX of Southern Africa YouTube channel and Facebook page.
As a concluding thought, Goslett highlights the importance of being backed by a well-established brand that offers a wide net of brand exposure, as well as a host of resources and training. “These benefits become very appealing to agents who are struggling to make it on their own during this time. In fact, one would expect that the number of sales associates would shrink, however, we've had a net growth of 16 agents since lockdown started on 26 March. We also had 21 agents rejoin us over this time. Now more than ever, the backing of a well-established brand becomes invaluable to agents who are struggling to make ends meet during the lockdown,” Goslett concludes.