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REITM Focus: Evolution of the real estate agency industry (I)

The traditional home buying, selling, and renting experience that used to require much personal interaction and manual processes, is changing and increasingly going virtual, as with many other aspects of daily life.

Starting with this issue of CEAnergy, we will be doing a three-part series that features the evolution of the real estate agency industry for both property agents and clients. Here is part one.

Standing out from the crowd with a personal touch

Property agents are employing innovative marketing strategies to enhance their personal brand and remain top-of-mind with their prospective clients. (Image: Unsplash)

It’s common today for property agents to encounter consumers who are already armed with up-to-date property market information, a list of properties they are keen on, and have higher demands on their agents.

CEAnergy explores some of the innovative marketing strategies that agents here and around the world have been using to provide greater value-added and personalised services for their clients when facilitating their property transactions.

It’s all about the “packeting”

Some agents use a “client welcome packet” to introduce themselves to prospective clients, and pitch their services. It would include information like their track record, awards received, services and expertise, contact information, and in some cases, personalised souvenirs.

It is a part-welcome, part-FAQ kit as the packet includes answers to the common questions that clients typically ask, such as the agents’ experience in specific locations, whether they specialise in certain property types, and how their typical marketing plan is like.

Agents shared that giving the welcome packet to prospective clients starts the client-agent interaction on a firm footing as it helps to assure clients on their credentials and address any preliminary queries clients might have.

Some agents who have had an initial meeting with their prospective clients and got to know their needs, expectations, and concerns went the extra step of including customised advice in their welcome packet.

If nothing else, the welcome packet is a way to generate referral business from people who have interacted with the agent before, if they decide to pass the packet to family or friends who are looking to engage an agent.

Developers and property agents engage social media influencers to market a new property. (Image: Instagram)

Don’t just post a listing - tell an Instagram story

Consumers have grown accustomed to products promoted via sponsored Instagram posts or Snapchat stories, and some developers and property agents are joining in.

Some developers forge social media influencer partnerships, and have the influencers post beautiful pictures of the property to promote it. Some of the partnerships take it a step further where the developers arrange for the influencers to live in the property. The influencers then feature snapshots of their experience in their social media feeds.

Some property agents become the influencers themselves, using their social media accounts to show off new listings and open houses to their thousands-strong following.

In addition, as agents connect with their followers on social media, videos are becoming part of the suite of marketing tools that agents employ. As opposed to photos where they can only show one angle of the property, videos provide a better showcase of the property’s layout and features. Agents can also boost the visibility of these videos in online searches by optimising the video descriptions.

Home is where the staging is

Some property agents adopt home staging as a way to market a home on sale, and go so far as to rent furniture, home décor items, and art pieces to create a visually appealing home living concept. (Image: Unsplash)

In Singapore, home staging as a marketing strategy is fast gaining popularity. Some property agents are taking up professional photography skills, partnering with furniture rental companies, or engaging professional home staging services. The aim is to have the property stand out and provide a concept of how various spaces in the home can be designed and used in a visually appealing way.

Combined with the posting of photos and videos of these properties on social media platforms, property agents are saying that home staging does move properties at a faster rate.

In some cases, homeowners get to move the “props” like furniture and home décor items to their new home. So the upfront investment works out to be worthwhile in the end.