The local office isn’t the powerhouse it once was as now more and more principals opt for spacious off-street offices, one leading agent has said.
According to Paul Tonich, director of Altitude Real Estate in Western Australia, the future real estate office will be modern, spacious and in a more affordable location.
“In the next couple of years my lease will be up and we are probably going to go second storey instead of ground floor,” he told Real Estate Business.
“We don’t need that streetscape anymore as we don’t have any homes in our front window. Gone are the days when people stand outside the glass and search for properties – they are online.”
Due to a strong online presence, Mr Tonich can service areas far wider than his competitors, eliminating the need for a local streetscape office front.
“Vendors are no longer looking for the agent closest to home, they are looking for the best agent they have contact with,” he said.
“We have created that contact with a strong online presence.
“I have had vendors who ask me if it is a disadvantage that I do not have a base local to them, but the reality is that I wouldn’t be a better agent if
I moved in around the corner – and we show that with every listing we have.”
These comments come in response to a recent Real Estate Business feature article spotlighting shop fronts versus virtual offices. While Mr Tonich believed the industry was not ready to go completely virtual, he did predict a change in how the modern office would run.
“If you are smart with your business and you want growth, then a more spacious and inviting office is where real estate workspaces are heading,” he said.
“You don’t need to pay for pavement anymore – and essentially that is what we are doing now. We are paying big money to have a pathway outside our offices.
“Principals can earn more money by moving to the second storey and investing in more space for their staff.”
According to Mr Tonich, successful businesses will have numerous Effective Business Units (EBUs) within the company.
“EBUs take up space. The best agents have more than two or three personal assistants working the engine at the office while they are out making sales,” he said.
“A spacious, modern working environment is more important to a modern real estate business than a streetscape location.”
However, Mr Tonich admits the streetscape office still has its place in real estate.
“There are a few reasons a streetscape can give you an advantage, so every business owner needs to examine the pros and cons,” he said.
“For example, if you’ve got a main advertising spot you might not want to give that up.”