Choosing Your Real Estate Agent; Does the Brand Matter?
Last month we headed to the sunny Gold Coast for AREC, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest real estate conference. I know the thought of three thousand agents in a room would send shivers down the spines of many, but that is neither here nor there.
It was an interaction I had with a Canadian couple en route which really got me thinking. They happened to mention how much they love flying Air New Zealand, and they really meant what they said. So much so that they had avoided the direct route via Air Canada and diverted via Auckland, adding three hours to their trip!
For any brand this is the pinnacle of customer loyalty and something we all strive to achieve. So what was it that drove them to inconvenience themselves to that extent? Their answer was simple; the staff and the service.
This got me thinking. How important is the agent and what role does the brand play in the real estate transaction?
What role does a brand play in real estate sales?
In our experience, homeowners beginning the process of selling their home will approach agents from a range of agencies and set about effectively interviewing for the position. Most agents will come armed with company-produced collateral focusing on the benefits of selling with the brand that they represent.
Brands in real estate are just like banks. They all do the same job – selling your house – but it’s at the margins where you start to see the differences: how do the signs look? who does the photography? how big will the ads be on online?
However, having worked for a few different companies, I see the biggest and most impactful difference from brand to brand is how they empower their agents and where the emphasis is placed by the ownership. Does the brand stress profit over agent development? Does it make its agents feel like partners in the process? Do the agents want to be a part of the culture?
The challenge that a real estate brand faces is that agents are independent contractors with a lot of personal control over their businesses. This means that, even when interviewing five agents from one brand you are likely to get five very different services offerings, levels of resource, experience, and skill.
Like the Air New Zealand experience, the drive is to create some consistency across the agents that work for their company but, as anyone who has flown with the national carrier knows, it’s the individuals that make the experience special.
At the end of the day, the buyer is there for your house, not the logo on the signboard out front. Brand means nothing to them. What really matters is how many of them turn up to your next open home, the knowledge and experience of your agent and how they manage your potential buyers.
Does agency size matter?
I’ve changed my position on brand size. Having worked across a number of companies, I didn’t see any benefit in being involved in a large national/international brand. Much like my point above, I always felt the brand had very little to do with the service we provided. But I’m here with my cap in my hand to say that I was wrong.
My experience with Ray White, which is Wellington’s largest real estate company, has shown me that bigger isn’t always better, but it sure does shorten your odds.
Again, it has nothing to do with the way that we deal with our vendors or their potential purchasers (that is still down to our own hard work) but in this game, size does equal opportunity for us and our clients.
On a day to day level, we have access to some world class tools and systems which means no buyer gets left behind and we get the best out of every sale. But the exposure to the sheer number of agents operating across all levels means there is always something new to learn and someone to learn from. Later this year some of the team are off to a company conference run by a leading expert in the field from Harvard – you don’t get that every day.
So, brand size does play a role in the growth of the salesperson which in turn leads to better knowledge, service and results.
The Wellington Market – The investors are back!
We have noticed over the last month an increase in investors attending open homes and then successfully purchasing properties. Not only that but the investors are offering more than buyers who intend to occupy the property.
Now this is a good thing if you are considering selling, as all of a sudden the buyer pool has increased. It is bad news for buyers who must compete for investment style properties such as smaller homes, home and incomes or multi-unit properties.
Why the change? The capital gains tax has been put back in the bottom drawer which gives confidence to investors. Add in a cut to interest rates and a 5.5-6 % return looks pretty attractive and achievable. Now you have the possibility of your new investment being cash flow positive and making un-taxed gains. Stock levels remain low and good quality homes are achieving fantastic results.
All indicators point towards a strong spring.
WELLINGTON MARKET QUICK FACTS
Average sale price by Ward:
What’s on this July in Wellington:
Igloo Village, St Johns Bar & Restaurant, 5 Cable St, Wellington
The coolest winter fun is happening at the pop-up Igloo Village at St Johns. Wellingtonians can cozy up in an igloo and enjoy a decadent selection of treats on the waterfront this winter.
The transparent igloos are the place to enjoy all the upcoming winter festivities including AhiKa and the Matariki Sky show or recount your adventures after a visit to Second Unit. So grab your friends and family and join in the fun.
Beauty and The Beast, Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee St, Te Aro, Wellington
Another day dawns in Pantoland. Meanwhile, there is some serious sneakiness going on in the kingdom. The nasty Witch, Hidiosa McSchnagglebottom, has turned Prince Pelonius into a hideous beast! The spell will only be broken if he can find someone who will love him for who he is and not how he looks.
This classic story has been given a pantomime makeover in true Pantaloon style. Will the Beast find love and return to his true form? Or will Hidiosa have her evil way and keep him as a Beast forever? Find out at Beauty and the Beast next school holidays.
Vodafone Warriors v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Westpac Stadium, 105 Waterloo Quay, Wellington
Get ready for the highly-anticipated return of the Vodafone Warriors to Wellington in 2019. You won’t want to miss the best in NRL action right here in the capital city.
Vodafone Warriors v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (Round 18) in Wellington on Friday 19 July (kick-off 8.00pm).
If you, or anyone you know, could benefit from a considered market assessment by Wellington’s only licensed agent and registered property valuer, please do not hesitate to call. We are always happy to help.