July 21, 2020 Last updated August 4th, 2020 892 Reads share

For Sale by Owner Made Easier Through Modern Technology

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

Who remembers the Saturday real estate section in the newspaper? It was the way residential properties attracted buyers and tenants. Gone are the days of real estate agents advertising properties in the major metropolitan newspapers.  If you are old enough to recall the Saturday papers, in the major cities, all contained a massive lift out real estate section.  There were full-page property advertisements down to the classified advertisements, and every size in between.  If you were looking for a property to purchase or rent, back in those dark, old days, it was a matter of circling the ones of interest and then either organizing your Saturday morning of  “open for inspections” or hitting the phone and calling the agents to arrange an appointment.

Consider the Past

A real estate office, typically, had a high-profile window display of “window cards” of as many, if not all, of the available properties for sale or rent.  If they did not have sufficient to fill the window, sold or leased ones remained, to become very faded eventually.  It was the way it was done.  The more properties in the window, the more successful they thought they looked.  Offices typically now do not need large window displays.  They have become boutique offices.  They have their properties displayed, using modern technology.  They have LCD and LED displays showing all their properties on one screen.

From Walk-ins to Online

In the past, there was a constant stream of traffic walking into their local real estate agency.  Tenants would come in each week to pay their rent in cash.  Now, of course, there is online banking, direct debits, etc. that decreases immensely the need to go to the Real Estate Agency.  The receipts were handwritten for each payment.  This is now done using a variety of software programs.  Listing Agreements, Lease Agreements, Contract of Sales, etc., all handwritten and were mostly signed in the office.  These are all now produced electronically and can be signed using software programs such as DocuSign.  People do not have to leave their homes.

Technology’s Affect on Real Estate Advertising

The internet took over.  Real Estate websites replaced the newspapers.  Sellers and landlords were convinced that the only way to attract buyers and tenants was to have their property advertised on these specialized real estate sites.  As these sites took off and became more and more popular, the size of the advertisement got larger and larger – just the way it happened with newspapers.  Of course, the cost of advertising went up with it.  These sites have a monopoly on the real estate advertising market.

Joining the Tech Age

A for sale or rent sign, erected at the property was once, very basic. It would have the necessary information: for sale/for lease, real estate agency logo, and phone number.  With new technology, the signage is now digitally printed with bar codes to scan and embedded technology.

Marketing Has Changed Too

The standard routine for a real estate agency was to have a weekly “stock run.”  All the agents would attend the new listings for the week to inspect them and to take the photographs.  One of these was the designated photographer, often the principal.  Out would come the old camera, and the internal and external photos were taken.  Things have certainly changed.  There are wide-angle lenses to capture the proportions of each room.  Software programs are available to enhance the photos digitally.  Drones are used to take aerial shots, and floor plans are made using modern technology.

Inspections Made Simple

No longer is there a need to leave your lounge room to inspect a property.  Virtual tours are now available to view, and it is just as though you were walking through the home.  These have been especially popular and worthwhile, during the current covid19 crisis.  Driving from one open for inspection to the next, making sure you do not spend too much time there in case you miss your next one, is no longer the only option.  There are software programs available for tenants to advise their intention to attend inspections, without having to make a phone call or send an email.  Speaking of which, can you remember only relying on the home landline to make a call?  Then came the mobile phone, the size of a brick. Now, of course, they have many features and come in all sizes.   The mobile phone is now with us 24/7 and has changed the way we can do business.  Emails are now an everyday part of our life.  Can you remember when you last wrote a letter?

Applications and software programs for the real state industry are readily available.

The red collins ledgers that were to be found on the bookkeeper’s desk have disappeared.  All is done on the computer, using one of the many available trust accounting and general accounting packages that are available.  There are so many applications and programs used within a real estate office now to assist with CRM, team communication, checklists, team collaboration, collection of vital information, telephonic discussion, and even one that makes them all talk to each other.

Employing Virtual Assistants

Many real estate agencies have virtual assistants to manage the routine, back end duties.  These could be intrastate, interstate, or overseas.  A staff of employees working from different locations.  They can all communicate with each other using the above applications and can have visual meetings using programs such as skype or zoom.  This has increased dramatically, with many employees being forced to work from home during this time.

The Changes Keep Coming

Yes, real estate has changed over the years and will continue to improve.  Overheads have decreased, or should have, due to the technology that is available to assist with the day to day operation of the business.  Will real estate agents be around in say 10 or 20 years? How will this Industry operate in the future?  One can only imagine what changes there will be. 

Private Sellers May Replace Real Estate Agents

There is a growing population of people who are selling/renting their properties themselves, without the use of a real estate agent.  The factors causing this are, the costs involved with a real estate agent, the perceived value of a real estate agent, and the access to all of this modern technology.  Real estate agencies charge anywhere between 1.5% and 5% of the sale price to sell a property. The For Sale By Owner type of vendor has worked hard to obtain this property and thinks, “Why should the real estate agent be entitled to a percentage of the home they have scraped and saved for?”  They can access the tools to be their own real estate agent and pocket the commission.  Likewise, a private landlord can advertise for, inspect with, and screen a potential tenant and utilize the tools available to manage his/her investment property, that he/she has a vested interest in.

Is Tech the Death of Real Estate as We Know It?

It may not be the case at all.  However, real estate agents will have to change, to make sure that the DIY market does not start to increase, and decrease the market share that real estate agents have, over this coming decade.

The changes that a real estate agent may have to make:

  • Add value to the sale by being an A-class negotiator.
  • Learn digital marketing so they can advise rather than sell high-cost ads that promote them.
  • Separate themselves from tech and learn to go back to selling themselves and what they will bring to the table.
  • Keep every bit of data that they ever collect from open homes and work it like they are meant to.

This is a big topic right now.  The way everyone is doing business has been forced to change? What are your thoughts?

DepositPhotos – real estate technology

Christine Atcheler

Christine Atcheler

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