The Estate Agent of the Future
Saturday, January 26th, 2019
As evolving technology and shifting consumer expectations reshape the property industry, there is much ongoing debate as to whether the future belongs to the High Street or the Hybrid Agent.
The answers to this assume critical importance at a time when prime London is experiencing market decline, leaving many independent agents, once kings of the High Street, evaluating their sustainability.
The hybrid model, with its much-mooted pairing of online lead generation with on-the-ground service delivery, has come under intense scrutiny. The recent demise of one well-known player and the ongoing struggles of several others, not only debunks some of the marketing hype, but also brings the focus back to a prudent observation: It’s far better to empower expertise with technology and than to try to reinvent it!
High Street v/s Hybrid
“The present market is in a binary divide”, says Utsav Goenka, Founder of Vyomm. “It’s the experienced High Street Agents with inadequate technologies v/s online platforms with junior level on ground services” The traditional industry, though highly experienced and sophisticated, is saddled with clunky software and standalone systems that do not speak to each other. It lacks a comprehensive, connected Ecosystem of skilled resources and new generation tools and technology, that will bridge the gap, and create a new Super Breed of Agents.
So, what are the key attributes of this ecosystem, or Platform, to equip and empower the high street Agents to win in the market of today and the future? Is it just new technology, or is there more to it? To get to grips with this, let’s quickly look at the big tech-driven shifts in the industry so far.
Tech evolution in real estate
Over a decade ago, the arrival of online property portals heralded the first wave of transformation; in making it easier for Buyers and Tenants to search and shortlist their interest. Agents were rewarded with greatly expanded customer reach. But this transformation was remarkably one-sided: Buyer/ Tenant leads to Agents!
The rest of the business, particularly the entire property supply side of the market, the Owners and Agents, continued to deal in much the same way as before.
The next big Leap
To make a leap, both legs must propel forward. This implies end-to-end digitalization of the Industry, particularly the supply side, which should be connected to consumers and other service providers, directly or through other existing platforms, bringing all market players and stakeholders into a homogenous and seamlessly connected Platform. A new, overarching framework is needed, which connects the Owners to Agents, and expands to link to and connect to Buyers and all other service providers. "The Agent is the Centre point, the fulcrum of the framework, and empowering the Agent shall drive the transformation of the property selling and buying experience" says Utsav.
Platform attributes essential for transformation:
- Vendor Acquisition: High Street Agents have traditionally functioned within a particular physical location. However, the proximity and familiarity that once meant good business, have now become a ‘restrictive’ and ‘high cost’ in essence. Online discovery, engagement, and coordination between Vendor and Agent changes this dramatically and would enhance, rather than compromise time-honored approaches to building and nurturing client relationships. It will unshackle the Agent from burdensome costs and inefficiency, widening his area of operation and influence.
- Platform power: You can’t cross a chasm by jumping twice. The transition from a static website to a digital platform which integrates the right tools, channels and resources, will be the tipping point in the business transformation. Content, Collaboration, Team and Client management, as well as access channels and marketing resources, will be on tap. Remember when large Corporates first adopted ERP? This will have the similar transformative impact — an essential and necessary Leap to be the Agent of the future.
- Core Focus: As a one-stop solution to vendors, agencies are tasked with everything from photography, marketing, viewings and back office paperwork, to the complexity of deal negotiations and closure. Time and resources are frittered away on non-core activities, when they could be allocated to supporting what an agent does best – building relationships and closing deals. The future Agent requires an intelligent ecosystem, one which can provide access to high-quality professional services to offload skilled tasks, whilst partially or fully automating unskilled tasks.
The Future is High-Breed - introducing Vyomm
We believe that the future is neither High Street nor Hybrid: It belongs to a new Breed of empowered Agents at the top of their game; We call them High-Breed; the experienced and sophisticated Agent, equipped with new generation tools, high quality marketing and creative resources - available instantly on demand, on desktop or mobile app.
At Vyomm, we have built this Platform, integrated with innovative tools, collaboration and marketing resource channels to empower the new Super Agents; the High Breed Agent. It has taken us over three years, and thousands of man-hours, with some of the best minds in technology and real estate to build: It is now open in London to Agents dealing in prime and super-prime properties. Several leading and well known Agents have already started using it actively, to make their trophy listings standout through Showcases, to create groups and collaborate on password protected off market properties, and to win new instructions and close deals faster. With the launch of the new Vyomm Agent mobile app, the entire agency team can now do their work, anytime, from anywhere.
Want to know how Vyomm can help your business? Contact us or request a free demo today!