There’s no doubt about it: the Australian real estate market is changing. The Reserve Bank of Australia has increased interest rates for the third month in a row, raising the official cash rate from 0.1% to 1.35%. This could add hundreds of dollars to the average monthly mortgage repayment, and perhaps even more by the end of the year, with rates tipped to reach 7%.
This, coupled with inflationary pressures, is driving uncertainty in the market. Sellers are more tentative and many buyers are waiting and watching. This means less stock and less buyers. Agents are fighting harder than ever to win their next listing – and then to sell it too.
Clearance rates have dropped steadily every week since March. This time last year, they were at 77% – now they’re at 55%. With this change, comes tension. Why wouldn’t there be when agents are looking at not making commissions? Reduced revenue means reduced costs. But what can you do?
Let me tell you right now: now is the time to question your processes and technology is undoubtedly the answer. Because the best way to limit your exposure to cost is to look to technology.
You can improve your efficiency by automating manual – and often onerous – tasks. Take prospecting, for example. Traditionally agents have spent countless hours cold calling and sending mailers. No one likes cold calls and mailers are made for the bin; you just hope to catch someone’s eye along the way. Going digital can change this.
By taking the prospecting process online, the digital agent is able to reach many more people with much less time. At Realtair we do this with Price Updates, which only take an address and two minutes to pull together.
If you’re looking at how technology can help your business, the thing you need to ask yourself is, “how can this tech help me to spend more time with my prospects, my sellers, and my buyers?” Because that’s what really matters.
A simple way to achieve this is by taking your documentation online. Ensuring everything is tracked, easily accessible and compliant can take a considerable amount of resources. Making this process digital allows you and your people to concentrate on what matters most: building meaningful relationships.
While this period of change might be uncomfortable, it’s important to remember that people will always need agents. Births, deaths, debt and divorce all prompt people to move, and that will always remain true.
For those readers looking for property, you’re going to get better buying value now than what you would’ve a year or two ago. If you plan to hold property for a period of time, then you mitigate the risk of a fluctuating market.
Good agents will also be looking to review their buyer experience as well. The better this experience, the better your reputation will be.
In particular, you need to be mindful of buyer unease. In the current market, buyers will look for agent transparency in the sales process. No one likes to feel as if they’ve been treated unfairly, and that’s especially true now. Buyers need to have complete trust and certainty in you. The more trust they have in you, the more trust they will have in the industry as a whole – and that benefits everyone.
Technology like Realtair can help you provide this exceptional buyer experience. It allows you to keep everyone in the loop, every step of the way, and keep track of every action throughout a properties lifecycle.
My advice to agents and agencies is this: if you’re not reviewing and evaluating your technology, you need to question whether you want to be in this industry long term. Because agents won’t be replaced by technology, but agents that don’t embrace technology will be replaced.
It won’t be the technology that replaces you, of course, but it’ll be the person using that technology that will. The real estate industry is changing, and the best agents will be the ones that adapt with it. The best agents are digital.