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Estate agents must ‘embrace technology’ to stay ahead

09 Sep 2016

Today’s consumer – and, not least, the home buyer – wants an easier, more streamlined, route to market, given that he or she now has instant online access to a wealth of information without the assistance of an intermediary, says higher-end homes marketer Ronald Ennik

“There is no question that agents who embrace, and keep abreast of, digital technology will maintain a competitive edge – by way of instant access to powerful online marketing tools, such as social media, current market statistics, digital imaging, price trends and comparisons, home features, and suburb-specific profiles," says Ennik.

“There is no question that agents who embrace, and keep abreast of, digital technology will maintain a competitive edge – by way of instant access to powerful online marketing tools, such as social media, current market statistics, digital imaging, price trends and comparisons, home features, and suburb-specific profiles. 

“And it will remain so, as information technology continues to roll out in the South African homes market of the future,” says the founder and principal of Ennik Estates, the Gauteng affiliate of London-based Christie’s International Real Estate. 

“However, the fact remains that successful home selling is, and will remain, essentially people-driven – with an experienced estate agent playing the pivotal role,” says Ennik. 

“The home buy/sell process revolves around myriad factors, including personal relationships, skilful negotiation, awareness of market nuances and sentiment, knowledge of neighbourhood lifestyle dynamics, maintenance of links with buyers and sellers, monitoring of planning and re-zoning trends, as well as keeping abreast of the needs of suburban individuals and families. 

“This should be familiar territory to top performing estate agents,” Ennik says. 

Competitive edge 

“Meanwhile, estate agents who cling to the traditional template of real estate marketing could lose momentum as the digital transformation erodes their competitive edge. 

“Furthermore, as information communications technology continues to roll out in South Africa, it will keep changing the way real estate marketing services are delivered,” says Ennik. 

“It will also continue to alter the shape of the traditional business models used by legacy estate agencies – and estate agents should welcome the process rather than fear it,” adds Ennik. 

“On the corporate front, there is no question that South African real estate companies which subscribe to this game-changing digital phenomenon will be more productive and successful than less technologically-driven competitors. 

“A recent Real Estate Trends Online Performance Study in the US showed that 90 per cent of consumers polled did online research before they bought their last home,” says Ennik.

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