Laing+Simmons has said that it is going to be a challenging time over the next 18 months for every real estate business, and for independents the challenges are likely to be amplified. Here are six ways to weather the storm.
Network growth manager Travis Wentriro has said that the next 18 months will likely see flat prices and fewer transactions. At the same time, affordability will remain an issue, compliance will remain onerous, technology will continue to disrupt and talented agents will be in short supply.
“It sounds grim,” the growth manager acknowledged.
“But there are ways to future-proof a real estate business if the goal is to build a resilient long-term asset.”
Here are the six ways to survive the next 18 months, and thrive.
1. Be clear about your end goal
Mr Wentriro said that a successful office depends on much more than simply a desire to be your own boss.
“Are you looking to buy yourself a job, grow an asset to sell down the track or establish a business for future generations?
“You need to be clear about your primary motivation. If you want to be the owner of a business that doesn’t rely on you to bring in 98 per cent of the revenue, then the platform of systems, resources and people you build upon must be solid.”
2. Technology is disrupting the industry — accept it
Technology is not going to change real estate, added Mr Wentriro, as it already has.
“And the disruption is going to become far more seismic sooner than most agents think.
“Technological advances are being customer-driven. People demand immediate service at times that suit them, through the channels they prefer, and if you don’t have a system to deliver this immediacy of personalised service, you’re already behind the eight ball.”
3. Leverage your network
“There are definite benefits in being able to leverage the experiences, resources, skills and even team members in defined networks that complement each other,” Mr Wentriro said.
“Don’t forget social media, remembering that while regularity of posts is important, quality always trumps quantity. Are you providing valuable information to an engaged and ideally growing network, or are you overselling and potentially turning people off?”
4. People power: recruit wisely
Mr Wentriro said that this one is easier said than done.
“Every agent knows that recruitment is a difficult, time-consuming and often unrewarding process. The best agents come with big overheads and rookies require an investment in training and development that few principals have the time to commit to.
“But real estate is a people business, not a property business. Your team remains your biggest asset and if you do occasionally plan to take a holiday, you need to be confident that the wheels won’t fall off while you’re away.”
5. Audit your brand
Mr Wentriro said that it’s valuable to do a stocktake of where you stand in the local market.
“Brand recognition is more important than ever when competition for listings intensifies and when it comes to attracting a smaller pool of buyers.”
He said that there are a range of questions to visit regularly.
“What’s your current market share and has this changed in recent times? How visible are you in the local community? How does your collateral stack up against your competitors?”
6. Organise your resources
“The demands of business ownership can be a huge distraction for agents who would like nothing more than to get back to what they do best,” Mr Wentriro said.
“Your library of resources is the most influential factor in achieving the ideal balance.
“So, take the time to establish a comprehensive system for organising your compliance requirements, human resources functions, bookkeeping, accounts payable and receivable, employee training and development, and all the other ownership functions that distract you.”