Technology has completely reshaped how property is researched, viewed, marketed and sold.
Thanks to the internet you can now do anything online; buy and sell, get property valued online, auction it or go on a virtual home tour. And did we mention, augmented reality, virtual home staging and 3D modelling? Just some of the features on offer or coming soon.
Welcome to the world of online real estate.
Mirroring what's happening in other industries - Airbnb (accommodation), Uber (taxi trade) and streaming services like Spotify (music) - the real estate sector is ripe for a shake up. The good news is that the primary beneficiary of all this digital disruption is us, the consumer. Not only has technology helped improve the overall efficiency of the real estate sector, it also promises value for money and some much needed transparency.
The truth is that the real estate industry was disrupted a decade ago, when real estate listings moved online.
"Technology has completely reshaped how property is researched, viewed, marketed and sold."
You no longer have to leave home to buy and sell real estate. Online portals give you instant access to information about any property, including sales data, floor plans, photos and much more. In Australia realestate.com.au and Domain are the two major players in this space, with monthly audiences of millions - an unthinkable amount of exposure in the pre-internet age. And it is all accessible on the go, with apps offering a dedicated, personalised experience.
The advent of the online marketplace has also encouraged a once unthinkable notion - people selling their own homes, without an agent.
"Online portals give you instant access to information about any property, including sales data, floor plans and much more."
For sale by owner (FSBO)
For sale by owner, or FSBO, dispenses without a real estate agent completely. Driven largely by the relative ease of listing and marketing your property online, some sellers are willing to try this DIY approach, even if they don't fully comprehend what it entails. While there are obviously some pros to selling your home yourself, some of the cons include the rather obvious fact - you have to do absolutely everything yourself. That includes listing, marketing, negotiating, conveyancing and more.
Our own research shows that most Australians (75%) do not feel that they could improve on their agent when it comes to selling their property.
Hybrid real estate services
Hybrid services, function like a budget real estate agent, in that you have some human interaction, and marketing included in your package, but with a flat fee that reflects the reduced level of service. At face value this model, particularly the flat fee, seems attractive, but like anything it pays to read the small print. Sellers often have to undertake some of the tasks a real estate agent would, like negotiating with a buyer. And if your home doesn't sell in the allotted timeframe you forfeit your flat fee. Others offer a twist on this model, allowing you to list on their portal and use your own agent to negotiate with the buyer.
It is too early to say if hybrid agencies deliver real value for sellers, particularly around the level of service their customers receive, which can vary widely. You can find out more about how the hybrid model works here.
Find and compare real estate agents online
This is us. OpenAgent helps you choose the best real estate agent for your property sale, a crucial first step in the process. How does it work? We analyse all active real estate agents in Australia, looking at 2,000,000+ transactions and 14,000+ customer recommendations and reviews to find you the most qualified real estate agents to sell your property. Selling your home is one of the biggest financial transactions you'll ever make, hire the best agent and you will save time, experience a better service and get the best price for your property.
"Hire the best agent and you will save time, experience a better service and get the best price for your property."
So does all this mean that real estate agents are an endangered species?
We don't think so, not for the best agents at least. The cream of the crop are going to adopt new technology - like virtual home tours and 3D modelling - to market their client's properties to an engaged, connected audience. A knowledgeable, successful agent with an intimate knowledge of your local market can offer a wealth of value and will always get you a better price for your property. And that at the end of the day, is what most people want.