Taking a different view

Gone are the days when the profession can afford to take a narrow view of the real estate sector. To meet future challenges, a different perspective is needed.

The real estate sector is not what it used to be. Back in 1976 when I started out, things were much simpler. We used multi-listing, print media and signboards to sell and lease property. There was no such thing as a ‘database’; we just had boxes of 4x3 index cards sitting next to the phone. And we worked together. There was less competition amongst agents and the industry overall had a more collegiate atmosphere.

Well, haven’t things changed! And the rate of change shows no signs of slowing. In fact, it just keeps getting faster and we face the challenge to keep up.
Oh, how things have changed
Over the last 40 years, the service we offer as agents has changed. So much so that there’s now a whole network of suppliers and stakeholders relying on real estate agents to drive revenue. Put simply, the real estate sector has exploded.

Once upon a time, our main supplier was the print media. No longer. As technology has advanced, so too have the number of suppliers serving our industry. We now have a lengthy list of portals, data providers and online media vying for our attention. Then there’s the plethora of CRM and technology solutions, not to mention all the other ancillary services we now find ourselves using – photographers, videographers, copywriters, stylists, brand and marketing specialists, and more. The list goes on and on.

We’re all in this together
The real estate industry has become a connected economy. It’s an eco-system where we’re all dependent upon each other for survival – agents, online media, print media, web portals, technology suppliers, data providers and many other stakeholders. The sooner we recognise this, the better. As our industry faces the inevitable challenges of disruption we not only need to adapt, but we need to adapt together. As agents we underpin it all. We pull all the elements together. But what does that mean?

Yes, our tools of trade have changed. But so too has the way we deal with each other. As time has marched on, our industry has become more fragmented, suspicious and protective. We each live and work in our own little world. Many agents operate in silos, without any big picture view. If we continue to do so, there’s no doubt that we’ll be side-swiped by disruptors with a better value and service proposition. Our status quo outlook is our Achilles heel.

We need to come together and once again find that common ground that existed 40 years ago. We need to work as a cohesive group. We need to unite to achieve the best possible outcomes for consumers, agents and the industry as a whole. If we don’t, we become even more of a target.

Leveraging our united voice
By joining forces and dropping our silo mentality, we can open meaningful dialogue with a view to bettering our profession and the industry. REINSW’s Industry Summit in November 2015 was a good example of this, where representatives from all parts of the real estate sector came together to discuss the future direction of the industry. To read about the Industry Summit and view a highlights video, go to www.reinsw.com.au/industrysummit.

By working together we can leverage our united voice, become more relevant and collectively be a stronger advocate for the sector. And as agents we can secure our status as the essential element in every real estate transaction.

At REINSW, we’re leading this shift in attitude and we’re encouraging members to take a broader view of the real estate sector. I promise to keep you fully informed and involved in this journey.

John Cunningham
REINSW President