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Canadians Benefit from Exceptional Professionals

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 28 January 2003 00:00

A lot happened in the last century and a lot has happened in the first years of the twenty-first century, but when it comes to real estate and real estate professionals, Canadians ask, "Has much really changed?"

Canadian property owners and would-be buyers are well aware that real estate brokers and salespeople have embraced technology and invaded the Internet. While increasing numbers of consumers prefer to receive real estate information electronically, many question whether more has changed than the communication medium real estate professionals now use.

How can those interested in engaging the services of a real estate broker or salesperson get past flashy presentations to identify people dedicated to raising industry standards? How can consumers find those intent on developing approaches to real estate sales that ensure substantive improvements in results for consumers, not merely more commission for real estate brokers?

Here are a few perspectives that may help you zero in on professionals that are doing more than translating twentieth-century methods into digital rhetoric.

  • Have they progressed beyond using self-aggrandizing advertisements as the mainstay of their marketing campaigns?

    Real estate is the only profession where so many proclaim they are "number one." This rating is not based on the amount of money earned for clients. It is usually a measure of commission earned for the real estate broker or salesperson, rather than client satisfaction. For most consumers, their home is the largest investment they will ever make. More than 80% of Canadians over age 65 hold more than 60% of their net worth in their real estate. Linking professional ability to building home equity and personal worth for consumers may be the improvement in focus that will elevate real estate brokers and salespeople in the public's eye and help consumers see their homes and cottages as the significant financial assets they are.

  • Can the real estate professional bridge the gap between home and business?

    Residential resale and new homes have long been two distinct industry streams, just as commercial and residential real estate have evolved as two distinct real estate spheres. Conservative estimates predict that home-based businesses and telecommuting are well on the way to becoming commonplace. As the line between home and office blurs, have real estate services broadened to help home buyers evaluate home-based business potential when they inspect likely houses and condominiums?

  • Has the real estate mantra changed?

    Location, location, location has been the dictum of real estate for the twentieth century. This mantra is giving way to "community, community, community" as computer technology and the Internet take the emphasis off physical location. Home-based businesses and other home-based trends like home entertainment are on the rise. For instance, Statistics Canada reports that home schooling is becoming more widespread, with the number of home schooled students increasing every year since the early 1980's. Now, Canadians can live where they like without sacrificing income or convenience. These trends have triggered new service provision and development opportunities for real estate professionals who are alert to changing consumer needs.

  • Does one dimensional service dominate?

    Most residential real estate brokers and salespeople spend thousands of dollars on advertising, but have no services to offer if homeowners are not ready to move. In study after study, more than 85% of those over 65 say they want to "age-in-place," that is, stay in their home or, at least, in their neighbourhood, as they age. Developing fee-for-service and retainer-based services that support aging-in-place and home equity management may be the key to real estate practitioners developing sustainable income in the coming decades while providing Canadian property owners with the support services they'll require.

  • Is competition for knowledge from consumers welcomed or ignored?

    Traditionally, the real estate industry believed that consumer ignorance was bliss. The "don't worry, just trust me" approach to real estate sales was never as popular with buyers and sellers as real estate brokers and salespeople believed. The most common complaints from consumers still arise out of knowledge gaps and lapses. For instance, buyers and sellers continue to be confused by the terms salesperson, associate broker, broker and agent. Not all real estate professionals seem determined to clear up the confusion. Knowledgeable buyers and sellers may challenge the novice, unprepared, mediocre or misleading professional, but they appreciate and refer the accomplished brokers and salespeople they meet.

    Decisions about a major financial asset, your home, should be made with the assistance of the best people available. How will you separate mediocre professionals and services from those that set new standards for excellence?

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