Real estate principals debate whether a shopfront is necessary to achieve the best business.
The Real Estate Institute of NSW Real Estate Journal recently asked its members which side of the debate they fall on.
First National Real Estate Broken Hill proprietor Zeta Bennetts said she considers a shopfront to be a valuable tool in operating a successful real estate business, particularly in a regional area such as Broken Hill.
“While you can argue that an online presence is everything and that, due to technology, the agent can be wherever the client requires whenever they need it, a shopfront offers added accessibility to clients,” Ms Bennetts said.
“My clients appreciate that they can pop in to my office to see me, to obtain assistance from staff, to pay rent, collect keys or a property guide and, while our online presence is crucial to our business, it is always supported by our shopfront.
“Plus, with easy parking, private meeting spaces and a prominent corner location, it forms part of our brand awareness within our marketplace.”
Ms Bennetts said she feels it also emphasises a sense of community, which is “so important” in terms of personal connection between clients and agent.
“Local identity, reputation and word-of-mouth referral is critical in my local market and that would be diminished if there was no shopfront to support this type of marketing,” she said.
“Our shopfront also shows that we are a permanent fixture within the business community and beyond, lending credibility to our business – we are not here today, gone tomorrow.
“Our business is always a hub of activity for an agency that focuses on sales, property management and short-term holiday accommodation, and our shopfront definitely supports this model.”
The Agency director and CEO Reece Coleman said their main 'shopfront' sits on Google, while their physical shopfront demonstrates their absolute commitment to technology.
“Increasingly, the needs of our clients and our team have done away with the old-fashioned retail space and the need for window displays,” said Mr Coleman, whose agency is in Sydney's Double Bay.
“In the foyer of our office, four digital screens in the window show a steady stream of properties for sale and lease as well as local events.
“Our team operate from first-floor offices, but more importantly, they operate remotely.”
Mr Coleman said every one of their systems is now cloud-based, allowing their team to operate outside of the office and from the homes of clients.
“As lives are busier. Our face-to-face buyer and seller meetings – still critical in our business – are held in either clients’ homes, or at cafes or locations near their offices,” he said.
“Many of the traditional agency models were developed by baby boomers, who are now exiting the property cycle.
“We now have to adapt our businesses and offices for Generation X, Y and beyond. This is for both our clients’ and our team’s needs.”
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