I had an interesting conversation with a new client the other day. At first, he was adamant he wanted to buy a three bedroom home in a particular location, with space for his car. But as we began exploring the possibilities together, it became apparent that what he’d initially thought was critical actually wasn’t.
“You know Chris, thinking about it, I don’t absolutely have to have a third bedroom, if there was sufficient living space to compensate. What’s more important to me is how easily I can get to work. I don’t want to waste hours every day commuting or being stuck in traffic,” he said.
What’s frightening to me is how rarely these sorts of conversations happen between agents and their customers in this country. Particularly because it’s been a sellers’ market in Sydney for some time, most agents have become complacent, knowing full well they don’t have to work too hard to find a willing buyer (or ten). They wouldn’t dream of asking the sorts of questions buyer’s agents routinely do overseas.
The Australian buyer is effectively expected to figure out themselves what it is they want to buy and where, then front up with a cheque. But even in the most buoyant conditions, this attitude is inevitably costly to the agent over the longer term. Buyers eventually become sellers and if you’ve failed to offer a buying experience that’s memorable for all the right reasons, you simply won’t be their agent of choice when that time comes.
It’s very clear that buyers need help to find the property that offers the right combination of space and lifestyle factors to suit their particular needs. Nature abhors a vacuum as we all know, and part one of this series already described the technology that’s rapidly being developed to help analyse property lifestyle factors.
Remember, this the technology is driven by a need – the need that people have to disseminate their choices in an increasingly complicated world. I believe this is something we as agents should be doing now.
To take ownership of this space, of helping our customers understand their options and evaluate the best ones, stepping well beyond the usual things like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. The technology, when it comes, can then be the agent’s tool to do an even better job of servicing the customer.
The other alternative is for the technology to end up being a tool for the client to use themselves, undermining the role of the agent even further in the property transaction. Effectively taking one step closer to the agent becoming obsolete.
Chris Wilkins as published on www.recondaily.com