Surviving the property pandemic

This past month has been a tough one. Not only were we required to make drastic changes to our daily lives, but we have had to push through what can be described as the worst-case scenario on the business front.

 

As the property market continues to remain in a static position, agents will need to adapt to a new way of working.

 

But how?

 

And what is going to change?

 

Bryan Biehler, Managing Director and co-owner of Huizemark, and Director of the recently formed REBOSA council says “Everything is going to change, and in ways we don’t even know yet.”

 

As leaders in the property industry, Huizemark has built a 58 year old business on brand equity and value. Ironically, just over half a century later, this is what will define a business of the future. “Although technology and digital transformation has been something Huizemark has kept as a priority during its growth, we’ve never lost sight of the value of the relationship we have – not only with our clients but with our Agents and Franchisees too,” says Bryan.

 

Bryan says that even during the lockdown period, Franchisees and Agents were still making up to 30 calls per day. “We have always focussed on providing a property solution, not simply selling a house.” Staying in touch and communicating with their communities is key to relevance. He believes that an area in which estate agents will see big changes in will be Showdays, as citizens continue practising social distancing, and that a property viewing will no longer fulfil a ‘viewing’ purpose, but rather an opportunity to inspect a property, after considerable digital engagement has taken place.

 

Bryan also believes that buyers will soon need to be financially ‘pre-qualified’. “In a negative economic environment, sellers are going to want to know what the financial position of potential buyers is if they’re going to agree to access due to the potential risks involved.

 

Bryan says Huizemark can already see this trend taking shape based on the stats the team pulled three weeks into lockdown. 52 virtual Showhouses have already taken place since lockdown, with 101 listings, 36 bond applications, 127 appointments with clients after Lock-down and 45 sales. Franchisees have been urged to expand their digital boundaries to make sure they’re influencing and engaging within their networks in not only a verbal way, but a digital way too.

 

Bryan also foresees an increase in the pressure on Agents to up-skill and on real estate agencies to provide relevant, remotely accessible training that takes cognisance of the changes in the Real Estate Arena. “Estate agents will need to up their game as far as their skillset is concerned and will need to be prudent with how they evaluate the properties they’re trying to sell.” The more mature Estate Agents will need to become more digitally savvy to be able to offer their clients the kind of service they come to expect. The industry as a whole will have to get used to learning new skills on an ongoing basis or face becoming redundant. He goes as far as to say that the manner in which Agents deal with the lockdown and the knock-on effect thereafter, may well define their success in the future so it may be an idea to consider courses or programs that can provide these skills.

 

From Bryan’s perspective and as a business leader, it has also been a priority to maintain high levels of encouragement and positive thinking during what has been seen as a ‘negative environment’.  Franchisees are contacted daily by the Huizemark leadership team, with motivational support and tasked with 3 goals per day – every day, to complete. “We’re partners with our agents and understand that in an ‘always on’ world, the work/life balance MUST be a priority.”