The lockdown diaries, #10: A golden opportunity for Pam Golding?

Rewind 2 years

18 Months ago the Pam Golding Group dropped a bombshell when it announced the acquisition of online fixed fee agency, Eazi. This was at a time when Leadhome and PropertyFox was also hot in the news with similiar fixed fee offerings, and they all caused quite a stir to say the least. Both Leadhome and PropertyFox have since modified their models, but Eazi is still holding on to the fixed fee model, although with just over 300 mandates at the time of writing. It clearly showed that Andrew Golding had an appetite for taking calculated risks, which I respect.

The industry is very much stuck in its ways but the current lock-down may just be the Black Swan event that upsets the real estate apple cart and forces a change in habits.

Technology war chest

Pam Golding is now in the ideal position to apply what they’ve learned from Eazi into their own residential model. The Eazi platform facilitates buyers to register and make online offers and provides a transparent platform for buyer, seller and agent. As per a recent statement:

In this regard, we are in the advantageous position of already having access to technological capability and knowledge gained through our association and learning experience via Eazi Real Estate which we acquired 18 months ago and, which already offers a user-friendly, seamless and secure, automated online platform, and which services primarily the sub R2 million market.

“As a consequence of these learnings, we are transforming and fine-tuning our paper-based processes into a custom-designed, integrated, and technology-driven online system. This will be combined with all the personal and professional expertise provided by our agents, enabling us to offer the same level of professionalism and skill in an evolving property landscape with increased technology-driven activity. ~ Dr Andrew Golding

Now the problem is they had to do some salary and work hour cuts, so the question remains on whether they are firing on all cylinders to make this a reality for the group. Maybe they are already in some ways? It certainly seems like this could potentially play into their hands and make their investment pay off.

Others are also seeing an opportunity

At Entegral we are one of a few companies that caters for fully customised real estate websites and we’ve consulted with a number of agencies who are looking at some innovative new approaches in connecting with and selling real estate.

Virtual tours is one of the best technologies agents can implement now to help with social distancing and remote viewing and we’ve launched a Matterport 3D virtual tour offering this year for clients. A lot of agencies are gearing to offer this as standard feature on new mandates once they are able to do so. It just makes sense with social distancing being the norm for the foreseeable future.

Matterport 3D tours offers an immersive experience for buyers

More agencies are making it easier to connect with clients online and it is here where our ability to offer custom integrations works well, including integrated chat tools on websites:

Other agencies are looking at accepting online offers and we are even seeing online auctions getting implemented:

A level technology playing field

It’s a level playing field when it comes to online marketing, with all agents having access to the same portals and social media channels.

Truth is, everyone in the real estate world also has access to the best technology tools around them. In most cases, the platforms are fragmented and is focused on solving specific needs. It is up to the agent to unify these under their tech own technology war chest and make it work seamlessly for consumers, i.e. become the tech enabled agent everyone is punting. I feel it is here where independent estate agencies have some ‘unfair advantage’, as they can try out and implement new tools without having to cut through red tape for approval.

After our Business as un(usual) webinar a week ago, a few brokers also contacted me and said that they are looking to convert their offices to a full remote work environments or at least scaling down their office size going forward.

What’s holding your agency back?

I know a couple of companies that are held back by legacy systems that simply cannot adopt to the new ways of doing real estate online. These old systems are usually associated with high operational cost & support and cannot adapt to the new instant & highly connected world. I’ve seen a lot of those when I did some consulting for the banks before starting Entegral.

It made me think of this article I recently read:

As you can see, there is a lot happening in the real estate industry. Have you been sitting waiting it out, or worked on a strategy?

Final thoughts

It’s been a tough we weeks for South Africans, we have some of the strictest lock downs worldwide and the economy is hammered hard to say the least. Draft lockdown regulations for level 1–5 was published today with the chance of the Deeds office opening soon under level 4.

I’m still taking my dogs for a run around the house but can’t wait for us to take them out into the woods & beach. In this time we are learning that we don’t need all the things we thought we did.

I’m the CEO of www.entegral.net, I love working with my remote team to solve real estate problems. Questions everything.

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