Future lies with individuals, not brands!

One Agency Annette Pinkerton

Competition among franchises for top agents is fierce and it seems they will promise the world and then under deliver!

Now more than ever franchises and independent agencies are becoming more and more irrelevant.  Especially the ones where you see two agents advertised on the one property.  In this scenario, one agent will generally be the listing agent and the other will be the buyers agent.

The real problem here for franchises is that they are forgetting that “People don’t list with companies; they list with individuals.”

“People don’t list with brands; it’s the individual agent that is important.”  In the above scenario, sellers list with an agent they like then hardly get to work with them as the buyers agent often is the one working on the listing while the listing agent, the one they like, is out looking for another listing!

This doesn’t happen when an agent is the brand!

Times have changed, especially with Covid-19 in our lives and the traditional model of being part of a brand and in an office to capture buyers and sellers is now a thing of the past.

The internet transformed the way buyers and sellers engage with agents over 20 years ago.  Now, more than ever, if a buyer wants to buy in an area they just get online. They look through the listings, they contact the agent, and they go and meet that agent at the property.

Sellers no longer need to list with a local agency, either. Sellers can now list with the agent of their choice.  So the question we should be asking is, What’s the actual point of the local office now and what is the effect?

The fact is, there is no point to having a local office.  And while agents and properties managers are now working form home, I hope that our industry embraces the remote model I’ve been working since 2013. Let’s face it, it cost money to run an office and the reality is that someone has to pay for it.  Since buyers don’t pay for agents, it’s the sellers who are footing the bill for the expenses relating to the local office.  I’ve personally only had 2 buyers and no sellers come into my office since I started my career 11 years ago, and both were to register for an auction which could be done on line or in a coffee shop if we chose to.

Let’s face it, franchises and independent real estate offices are struggling to pay expenses in today’s competitive and costly world.  While branding is essential the only brand that’s really imperative is the agent’s own brand!  The smart sellers of this next decade will come to realise that the franchises and independent brands that work from an office are aggressively trying to increase their turnover to cover expenses.  They will do best to choose an agent who works on a lower turnover giving the agent more time to get the best result.