Demographer Bernard Salt has pushed real estate agents to create their own apps and open new lines of communication.
Speaking to REB ahead of REB ReInnovate in 2022, futurist, demographer, and founder of The Demographics Group Bernard Salt noted that customers have become more proficient at using technological tools and are now seeking a technological connection with service providers.
This has been spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, which prompted everyone across different age groups to use QR codes, digital vaccine passports, and even the COVIDSafe app.
As such, Mr Salt suggested that in addition to delivering an updated and “sleek” website, real estate agents would benefit from designing their own customised app through which they could create a customer base of prospective residential property buyers and sellers.
“I think Australians are leaning into what I call the ‘great appification’ of businesses,” Mr Salt said.
“We need to get real estate agencies right into this. They need to create their own real estate app, through which they can keep the chatter going. Keep your customer base informed and engaged.
“That, to me, is certainly the way of the future, and it will dominate the way real estate deals are done in the 2020s, especially in residential real estate.”
While real estate agents built networks to ingrain themselves in their community in the past, developing cutting-edge technological and communication tools that evolve continually are now required to generate business, Mr Salt added.
“You only have to look at some of the fast-food or supermarket apps to see how this is done,” he said.
“If you can download a COVIDSafe app, then you can download a real estate app. You then have a database and a relationship with your prospective customers. They’re not going to go somewhere else when they want to buy or sell. They’re going to come to you.”
When lockdowns forced agents to conduct auctions online, some like Richard Matthews Real Estate adapted by creating WhatsApp groups for the property address on sale, allowing agents to communicate with all prospective buyers of that property.
Sustainability, a key focus for millennials
Technological proficiency and investment are also critical for real estate agents servicing millennial clients, Mr Salt said.
Sustainability and ethical considerations have also increasingly been driving millennial behaviour, which could extend to their preferences for residential property.
Concerns around sustainable living have come into sharper focus after the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, in which the UN body for assessing the impacts of climate change stated that the greenhouse gas emissions from human activities were responsible for around 1.1 degrees Celsius of warming since 1850 to 1900 while estimating that the global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming (which would cause more heatwaves, longer warm seasons, and shorter winters).
As such, Mr Salt said millennials would prefer real estate that is sustainable and connected with the community while ensuring that the transaction has been ethical, fair, and transparent.
“You need to make sure that your policies and procedures (and your staff) reflect the same principles of inclusivity, diversity, fairness, and transparency, and that those principles align with community expectations,” he concluded.
Bernard Salt will be elaborating further on what the customer of the future would look like and how you can adapt your service model to stay relevant at REB ReInnovate in March 2022.
Tickets are selling fast, so click here to secure a spot.