How the real estate industry will drastically change in the next 12 months

-Face the uncertainty and take control of your real estate career-

Written by Antonie Goosen, Principal of Meridian Realty

Major changes in the real estate industry was on the cards for South Africa prior to Covid-19, but the pandemic will accelerate and drive this change like nothing else we could have imagined.

When I founded Meridian Realty in 2005, I was an ambitious youngster with a passion for the property industry and technology.  Back then I was amazed at how poorly technology was used in the industry, and I was keen to make it part and parcel of our company’s DNA.  To prove my point Meridian Realty was to my knowledge the first real estate company in South Africa that exclusively used professional photography in the marketing of its properties.  We were also one of the first adopters of video in property marketing in South Africa.  We may have been a small company, but our marketing was in many aspects’ lightyears ahead of our more established competitors.

During the noughties online platforms were playing a more and more prominent role in property marketing, however millions of Rands was still being spend on printed advertisements.  The tide on printed media finally turned when the economic downturn of 2008 ensued, and thoughtful decisions had to be made with regards to every cent that was being spent.

The digital age was truly dawning on our industry.

The aftermath of the crash cemented my belief that the real estate industry was ripe for change…

  • Why were all the franchises hanging on to expensive brick-and-mortar operations, when the deals were being done out in the field and the buyers shopped online?
  • Less and less clients walked into high street offices… the way consumers were interacting with estate agents was changing.
  • I asked myself whether brokers would be able to justify taking a cut of 50% (or sometimes even more) from agents that did the lion’s share of the work in the years to come?

The more I researched it, the more I felt that the tide was changing. No more would the  traditional agency methods be the norm.  The exponential development of new technology and greater access to the Internet would forever change consumer behavior. Estate agents would have to adapt or get left behind, or so I reasoned.

I knew that it was a matter of time before estate agents would insist on a new way of conducting business and that is how the iAgent concept was conceived.

In 2013 Meridian Realty became one of the very first “virtual estate agencies” in South Africa.  The concept was simple, yet it proved to be highly effective…. our agents worked from home whilst receiving all the backup and support they needed in order to run their businesses successfully, from anywhere. This in turn, allowing them more time to focus on buyers, sellers and canvassing.

Over the last 7 years we have built a strong dedicated support team and our agents seamlessly plug into our ecosystem of virtual private assistants, professional photographers, graphic designers, transaction coordinators, social media specialists, trainers, accountants, finance consultants, office managers, etc.  Meridian Realty is a one-stop-shop for successful and independently minded property practitioners that aspire to run their real estate practice on their terms with the backup and support of a trusted brand.

As the leading virtual estate agency in South Africa we have developed and perfected the systems, tools and technologies that equip our estate agents to operate remotely and help them offer their clients the best marketing possible.  These systems were so much more appreciated when the national lockdown became our new reality and we were all geared to make the most of it.

In the weeks since lockdown started we’ve gone into overdrive and implemented new systems to help our agents deliver Virtual Property Value Estimations, Virtual Property Viewings and countless other tools & training to help them overcome the obstacles we are all faced with at the moment.

I am incredibly proud of what our team have developed and how our agents have responded to the challenges, and I can report that many of our agents have been closing deals during this difficult period.

Nothing can prepare any business for the challenges we are facing during the Covid-19 Pandemic, but we can use lessons from past experiences to navigate a little bit easier through these very rough waters…

Expect change to be the order of the day.  The way that you operated pre-covid-19 will not be the way you will operate during- or post-covid-19.  Consumers will demand to interact with our industry in a new and different way.  The effective use of technology will play a larger and more important role than ever before.  For the foreseeable future, our business will become a lot more virtual.

Estate agents will always remain a critical part of the real estate industry, and as trusted advisors, even more so during challenging times like these.  It is however of paramount importance that you become a tech-enabled agent.  Thousands of estate agents in South Africa will leave the industry because they are not willing, capable or supported enough to adapt to the changing needs of consumers and the marketplace.  For those of us that pivot our strategy and move with the change, there will be immense opportunity to add value to our customers and deliver a superior service to those in need.

My message to estate agents is this:

Stay positive and focus on the things that you can control.

Ask the right questions…

  • What do you need to support and grow your business in this day and age?
  • What tools do you need to service your clients under the new normal?
  • Take this time to take stock… be honest does your company offer you the backup and support of real people and technology that add genuine value to your business, or are you largely left to your own devices?
  • Are you on a fair commission split considering company inputs vs. yours?
  • Are you tech-enabled and do you get the training and support to continue to stay ahead of the curve?

If you don’t currently have the support or necessary skillset to effectively sell property under the new normal, then why not take the plunge and research our offering?  We partner with like-minded professional estate agents and will help you adapt your business during these uncertain times.  We are committed to finding solutions for every obstacle that we might face in the coming weeks, months and perhaps even years ahead.  We are focused on providing an exceptional level of service to our agents, and we have been leading the way as a truly virtual agency for the last 7 years.

Bring your passion, experience, expertise and drive, and we will take care of the rest.

Simply plug into our ecosystem and start selling…

Together we will get through this and you will thrive once again!

Follow these simple steps to apply to become an iAgent:

    1. Visit meridianiagent.co.za to read more about our unique offering and competitive commission options where you can join The 100% Club after reaching your CAP for the year.
    2. Fill out an application form so that we can proceed to meet online. Our criteria are that you need to be registered as a Full Status Estate Agent and be able to show a minimum annual gross commission of R500 000 for the previous year.
    3. After signing a Service Level Agreement with Meridian Realty, you can start scaling your business into the career of your dreams.

Visit this website for more information about Meridian Realty and what it is they stand for.