Agents must be more transparent

Transparency should be at the heart of everything real estate agents do, and technology should be about helping agents get closer to consumers and not just about boosting productivity, an industry conference has heard.

"Let's be the [industry] that is transparent," Ben White, director at Ray White Group, told attendees to the Young Professionals in Real Estate (YPIRE) Gold Coast conference earlier this week.

Mr White told a room full of sales agents, principals and property managers that he was horrified that some agents still didn't share information with their vendors. This included information on who visited an open home.

He said websites such as tripadvisor.com, which had built a huge following by allowing people to directly comment and rate their stay at a hotel, could be the template for what might occur in the real estate space.

It was therefore better for agents to implement this approach now, as this would allow agents to be transparent with consumers on their own terms, and would help them stand out from their competitors.

"It's time for this industry to get its credibility back," he said.

Mr White added that technology, whilst delivering obvious productivity gains, should be more focused on helping an agent get closer to the consumer.

He said consumers were now comparing their online real estate experience with what companies in other industries were offering, including banks and telecommunication companies.

For instance, he said vendors might question why they know what their friends overseas are doing via Facebook, but they don't know what's happening with their property, or agent.

In an industry where one in two people who attend a home inspection don't receive a callback, he encouraged agents to take a cold, hard look at how they might be perceived by consumers.

"How would someone choose an agent in my area," was the question he said agents must answer.

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