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03 Oct The importance of real estate agents in an online evolving society

“There is no doubt that the prevalence of the internet and the growth of social media has revolutionised the way estate agencies market properties. We are able to advertise a listed property within minutes of acquiring a sole mandate, and we can target the advertising more effectively too,” says Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate. “This however, does not change the need for a highly trained agent to be the active force behind the marketing, be it online or more traditionally in print,” adds Greeff.

Furthermore, while a significant number of buyers source their properties online, there are still many who do so via more traditional sources such as newspaper advertising, drops, and more significantly direct contact with an estate agent or visiting a show house.

In response to the current commentary and hype around the fact that agents are being replaced by real estate apps and other professionals who are able to sell properties, Greeff says: “While there are changes in this regard, it’s important to investigate the facts, and these are that many buyers continue to seek the personal interaction with an estate agent. The most recent Propstats bear me out; they reveal that while 55% of buyers across the Cape peninsula found their property online, the remaining 45 % of buyers (a significant number) found the property by other means, which include show houses, referrals, and being contacted directly by the estate agent, since they were an existing client,” explains Greeff.

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He goes on to say that buyer activity in terms of online property searches are less prevalent in certain areas of the Peninsula, most notably on the Atlantic seaboard where 80% of buyers say they sourced the property through means other than online; 40% were existing clients of estate agencies and 15% visited show houses – the remainder were referred, contacted telephonically or saw the property in the newspaper.

“In the suburbs of Constantiaberg, as many as 64% of buyers sourced their property “offline” and notably, 20% sourced the property by being existing clients, which means they had had direct contact with an estate agent, who made a careful note of their requirements and subsequently found a suitable property for them. In addition to this, 31.5% of buyers had bought a house they had first seen on show,” says Greeff.

He goes on to say that Hout Bay is also a stronghold of buyers (65%) who seek personal contact with an agent. Here as much as 47% were existing clients, therefore heard about the property directly from an estate agent.

“In the southern suburbs, the stats show that 58% buyers prefer sourcing their properties offline. 27% Bought a home after an agent introduced them to it,”

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“These stats are fascinating since they actually mirror the way we at Greeff are strategising our marketing. In the Southern Suburbs, Hout Bay, Constantiaberg and False Bay – where fewer than half of buyers are sourcing their properties online – Greeff’s agents are highly trained and experienced individuals who pride themselves on providing exceptional service to buyers and sellers alike. They go the extra mile and have clearly listened to buyers when they’ve joined our database to buy a property. Interestingly, in the City bowl where a greater percentage of buyers (58%) are sourcing their properties online, Greeff’s property brokers are primed for the challenge. Manned by young, energetic graduates who are wired to market properties in a predominantly online environment, the Greeff City Bowl team is achieving enormous success in this region,” says Greeff.

“The combination of younger and older estate agents at Greeff makes for a perfect and balanced mix of individuals who complement each other and along with a strong strategic marketing department are therefore able to fulfill the current requirements of the Cape property market and reach qualified buyers across a spectrum of online and offline media and most importantly through personal networking,” explains Greeff. “We are committed to evolving with the ever-changing face of the industry, and to this end, we ensure that we keep abreast of all technical innovations and train our agents and admin staff accordingly.”

*Statistics source: Propstats Buyer Source Summary

Words: Greeff

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