Despite the surge in consumer preference to search property online, a traditional real estate office is still the most effective channel to attract local buyers and sellers, according to a leading real estate group.
The unstoppable influence of buying online is threatening the very existence of many retail distributors but the power of a tangible local presence should not be underestimated when it comes to real estate, according to Richardson & Wrench (R&W).
The new principal at R&W's new office in Pyrmont, Nick Countouris, has invested a large amount of his own money decking out the foyer with marble to attract buyers into the office.
Mr Countouris said the money should give a more upmarket atmosphere to the Pyrmont shop front. But in the age of online shopping, shopfronts are increasingly coming under scrutiny with many stakeholders believing the industry will shrink office sizes in a bid to reduce overheads.
“I completely agree that shopfronts are becoming less important. But that’s the reason why we wanted to really push this office to another level,” he told Real Estate Business.
“We still have properties up in the windows, but that’s not what attracts people anymore. We want to attract the attention of locals by having a presentable and tidy office.
“You really need to make people stop as they’re walking past and say, ‘Wow’ when they see the office, and having a café and a pub close helps, too.”
The new office will service the suburbs of Pyrmont, Glebe, Forest Lodge and Ultimo.
R&W group franchise director Peter Flynn said the Pyrmont office was well positioned to capitalise on the existing brand presence in the inner city.
“This territory offers huge potential for a highly skilled professional such as Nick,” said Mr Flynn.
“He is a good fit with the demographic, has lived in the area for 10 years and is well-known for his success transacting residential, commercial and industrial property.”
“Demand continues to exceed supply as more and more people seek a home close to the Sydney CBD and its many lifestyle attractions.”
Mr Countouris said the intense development of Pyrmont over the past decade, as part of the NSW government and City of Sydney urban renewal policy, had added an exciting new dimension to the area.
“Importantly the village like character has been retained, but the increased population has made it a very lively, cosmopolitan place to live,” he said.