An industry veteran has lauded the importance of relationship management as a key skill for real estate agents in the post-boom era, which is likely to be marked by more modest property price growth.
Century 21 owner and chairman Charles Tarbey told REB that recent declines in home prices represented a return to normal in the property market after the boom of the mid-2010s, which required a markedly different skill set from real estate professionals.
“In the market that we’ve been in, the fear of missing out takes over, so putting out the flag and standing out the front while an auctioneer continues to take money from people until someone runs out isn’t the sort of market that requires a great deal of education around relationships and negotiating between sellers and buyers,” Mr Tarbey said.
“The market we are now in requires all of those things, so the two types of agents that will succeed are those that understand the need for training around it, and those that were there pre-boom and will fall back into the pattern of building relationships.”
Mr Tarbey said while an agent was contractually obligated to the vendor, like any intermediary business, the real skill was in cultivating relationships on both sides of a deal and finding common ground between the buyer and seller.
“It’s not just educating the seller; it’s also educating a buyer on how they can present themselves to a seller who would be happy to sell to them at the right price,” he said.
“When someone owns a property, it’s their home, and if they don’t like the attitude of the person who’s made an offer, they often don’t care if the buyer offers more; they simply won’t sell their home to that person.”
Mr Tarbey said the return to post-boom conditions was likely to see further consolidation as agents either exited the market or joined groups with the scale to invest in supportive education and technology.
“During a boom, all sorts of people get into real estate and find it to be an easy business, but the majority of people who thought real estate was simple have very quickly left,” he said.
“The opportunity for growth is considerable because a number of agents have been sitting on the fence and thinking, ‘Where do I go from here?’”
“I think that presents a great opportunity for companies that have their own training, IT and structures in place, which fortunately we do.”