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The importance of human touch

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Technology is useful but isn’t the whole story

The one constant in life is change and the property market is no stranger to adapting to current and market trends, says Mike Greeff, chief executive of Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate.

Changes to systems happen on a regular basis.

Real estate agents have proved their tenacity by their willingness and ability to adapt to new systems but, despite the new approaches, the need for traditional real estate practices and systems “remains great”.

“Not everyone interested in buying or selling property is comfortable navigating the process online. A large percentage of people still rely on traditional methods to ensure they follow through on their property goals.”

The key to success in the property market is for traditional agents to move with the times and for younger agents not to rely solely on new technology.

“We should strive to use new technology but keep to our traditional values and best practices. The property industry is always about putting buyers and sellers first, Greeff says.

Traditional and new property approaches need to work together, and he offers some tips.

* New ways of advertising still require traditional methods such as show days: Advertising properties is arguably the most crucial part of getting a property sold. Newer forms of advertising, such as property emailers, email banners and social media ads, are a “surefire” way of determining the level of interest from those looking to buy, sell or invest but show days are not to be scoffed at.

“The appeal of new technology will be lost on many of the older people who still want to look at a property in person, which means the traditional show day remains an invaluable tool.”

* New ways of acquiring leads should always be followed up with personal contact: With developments in the industry moving rapidly, there have been many new inventions and methods introduced to make acquiring leads less of a challenge and more of a reality, Greeff says.

However, new-age real estate should not lose sight of the fact that, even with all of the advanced technology and targeted ways of speaking to clients, there is immense importance to be found in distinct human contact.

Thus, when implementing and using these systems, agents should bear in mind the huge importance of personal interaction and follow-ups.

* New and easier ways of entering the industry should still be followed up with mentoring by experienced agents: While it might be possible to obtain a real estate licence online and conduct most of the work in the virtual realm, Greeff says there is an “immeasurable” amount of knowledge to be gained from being mentored by a seasoned agent.

“Their experience reading clients face to face cannot be replaced by analytics or calculated opinion mining by a computerised algorithm. Traditionalists can, however, benefit from statistical data that shows market behaviours and trends.

“This information, paired with their insight into their areas of specialisation, would make them a force to be reckoned with.”

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