Promoted by Domain
Operating as a real estate agent in the age of COVID-19 has been met with its fair share of challenges – online viewings and auctions and 3D virtual tours – in a knock-on effect that meant the industry needed to pivot, and pivot fast.
But with an improving job market, record low interest rates and government stimulus, the Australian housing market has picked up pace with property prices rising across the board amid a surge in demand.
With last year’s buyers market transitioning to a seller’s one, now is the time to equip agents with game-changing tools so that they can provide a best-in-class, secure and flexible service to vendors and ensure their viability in an unpredictable market.
“A growing pain point for agencies has been diminishing margins for real estate businesses.Further to this, last year agency cash flows were hit hard at the start of the pandemic as listings dried up.” said Trea Scott, commercial projects manager at Domain.
“There has often been pressure for agents to front the VPA. And when you have an ever moving property market cycle where listing volumes can be low, competition intensifies and that’s when commissions and funding VPA get put under pressure.
“This meant that agents are footing costs on behalf of buyers which, coupled with ongoing fixed costs and overheads, cash flow is put under pressure,” said Scott.
Matthew Hayson, director of Sydney’s Cobden & Hayson, knows that steady cash flow is what keeps agents in the game.
“To maintain a resilient business, closely monitoring cash flow is crucial to the success of any agency.” Hayson said.
“Many clients may be asset rich but accessing immediate funds to prepare their property for sale can be a sensitive conversation and we know it’s one of the big pain points. This may often lead to hesitation around selling, maximising their homes appearance or committing to the appropriate marketing exposure which impacts the overall efficiency and success of the sale.”
Centralising cash management to focus on efficiency not only strengthens an agent’s position in the market but allows agile businesses to come out on top and build a lucrative marketplace around them.
Opportunity and innovation
There is a viable opportunity for agents to lay the appropriate groundwork to better control cash flow, increase compliance and minimise risk. Which is where Domain’s flexible payment solution, MarketNow comes into play.
To give vendors flexibility, and ease up cash flow strain, MarketNow, in partnership with instalments fintech Limepay, allows agents to get ahead of the curve and provide a game-changing secure payment gateway that offers financial flexibility.
It allows agents to roll out more valuable marketing schedules which in turn provides vendors with better outcomes and increased return on investment.
The secure online payment gateway allows agents to collect the total marketing costs from vendors upfront when selling their property and gives them the option to defer payment of up to $25,000 until a later date. The cost for vendors who use the pay later service is a 5.5 per cent charge on their marketing costs.
Harnessing the power cash flow
“We want to help agents improve their business workflows with the right tools to gain efficiency and compliance while delivering a great level of service to their vendors,” said Scott.
“Our secure payment solution is a win-win for both the agent and the vendor. It renews confidence, improves agent-vendor relations and enables efficient cash flow for all parties involved.”
In a competitive marketplace, a ‘buy now, pay later’ option for marketing, styling and minor home improvements means that vendors have more flexibility to manage their budget without sacrificing an essential step in the home selling process. For agents, it means they can do their jobs more effectively.
Hayson agrees, “MarketNow provides our clients with a little bit of breathing space and enables them to pay later down the track.
“Often agents feel compelled, when competing against other agents, to offer packages that suddenly become a burden or increase risk. This often sweetens the deal but suddenly we’re left carrying the costs.
“What MarketNow does is completely alleviates and removes any risk for the agent, all while keeping you competitive in the market against your competition.
To find out more, go to: agent.domain.com.au/marketnow