The quick answer is “NO”.

However, as with any industry, staying stagnant without evolution would mean certain death.

Thankfully, there are available technologies and real estate platforms that allow one to transact on their own.

But even with the appeal and support of growing trends, it will take time and more advanced tech before a greater shift in behaviour towards performing “do-it-yourself” (DIY) real estate transactions will be adopted en masse.

The role of the real estate salesperson

Broadly, the role of a real estate salesperson is that of a marketer, deal-maker and, ultimately, a trusted advisor. But have real estate salespersons in Singapore been living up to these expectations?

Probably not. As exemplified by the telling increase in people who to DIY as a viable route. Aside from technological advancement that is making it easier for DIY transactions, there is a general sentiment that service levels can be improved.

To illustrate, in a rental transaction, a great real estate salesperson should be able to provide a client with, amongst other value-added services, home staging, property management for rentals, regular updates, and follow-ups.

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They should be able to give a strong sense of security that the property is being well taken care of.

The current landscape – challenges for the real estate salesperson

Amidst a relatively subdued real estate market, whereby property prices are struggling to find a direction, and on the back of an uncertain global economy, one wonders about the immediate future of the real estate industry in Singapore.

As mentioned earlier, DIY and social media platforms are getting smarter and have empowered homeowners and homeseekers to meet and transact. The recent enthusiasm of blockchain and decentralised ledger technologies bring an added promise to disintermediate and disrupt industries.

Real estate will undoubtedly be one of the juiciest industries, plainly because of the high costs associated with performing transactions.

Real estate salesperson 3.0 – leveraging on tech to create value

In my previous article, I envisioned the role of the real estate salesperson to being that of a private banker. The real estate salesperson would need to evolve and pick up new skills to better serve their clients and become the one-stop solution for all their clients’ accommodation, and even relocation, needs.

For instance, if the salesperson serves the expatriate community, it will be handy for them to be able to provide advice on tax obligations and arranging for schools (if it is a family relocating) in Singapore. They should be an expert in managing properties and have strong in-roads into banks and wealth management services.

With technology, it will be a lot easier for real estate salespersons to become more efficient in handling their day-to-day tasks and freeing up their time to focus on servicing their client.

Aside from the search and list plays like PropertyGuru, there are productivity tools such as RealEstateDoc.co that allow for real estate digital document management and e-signing. These tools can significantly reduce the administrative and paperwork involved. Property and domestic service management apps such as AfterYou and Facilit8te can also provide the convenience of managing properties for landlords.

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The real estate industry is changing with technology and, for the real estate salesperson, they can either embrace and evolve or be swept up in it. The top salespersons of tomorrow will be the ones who know how to leverage on these changes and turn it into advantages which they can harness.

While DIY platforms will continue to improve and compete in the real estate pie, the evolved tech-enabled real estate salesperson will continue to stay relevant in the industry as long as he/she continues to cater to the increasing demands of their clients. Yet, providing extraordinary service will be the key differentiator.

Who knows, it may not be long that the real estate salesperson earns their rightful fees by way of crypto-currency in the future.

Averspace is an example of a proptech company that provides a full suite of services – from search-and-list, to calendarizing appointments, chatting between parties and finally closing the deal with secured digital documentation and signing, all on a single easy-to use-platform.

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