The way we live and work has been dramatically altered by the pandemic. It follows then that the way people buy and sell houses will have also been affected. Real estate agents who have not yet adopted a digital approach to their marketing may be far less effective than those who have.
Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, explains that more and more buyers are beginning their search for homes online. “Traffic to our website in 2020 increased by 30,86% when compared to 2019, which shows how many more buyers are using the internet to enable their search for their dream home. Real estate agents who do not have an online presence are hurting their chances of finding a buyer for their seller’s listings,” he explains.
Instead, Goslett encourages agents to adopt a digital strategy with a targeted marketing campaign to reach the relevant consumers. “Invest in a digital strategy and make use of data mining and business intelligence software to provide predictive analytics insofar as consumer decision making is concerned. Then, develop campaigns based on audience demographics as opposed to using a “shotgun style” approach to advertising. This way, agents can reach buyers who are relevant to their market which will hopefully speed up the process of matching relevant buyers to relevant listings,” Goslett explains.
However, Goslett also explains that digital marketing can only go so far. “After months of social distancing, consumers have also come to value personal connections and face-to-face interactions more so than ever before. While digital marketing strategies are great for generating leads, the agent will still need to follow up on these digital leads by providing high levels of personalised customer service in order to conclude successful transactions.”
When it comes to applying the above advice, Goslett recommends that sellers be thorough in their selection process when searching for a real estate professional to sell their home. “Never select an agent based purely on who provides the highest valuation or the lowest commission rate. The longer a home stays on the market, the lower the home will eventually sell for. Sellers can end up losing hundreds of thousands of Rands off their selling price if they have selected an agent who has priced the home incorrectly or who has not marketed the home correctly,” he warns.
As a final word of advice, Goslett explains that the market is saturated by first-time buyers at the moment – many of whom require plenty of guidance from their real estate professional and many of whom spend most of their day behind some form of a screen. “Sellers who hope to attract this market ought to search for a real estate professional who not only has a digital marketing strategy in place that can reach these buyers, but who also has a wealth of knowledge, a friendly disposition and who responds quickly so that first-time buyers seek their assistance when looking to find a home,” Goslett concludes.