Which real estate agent, boutique or franchise?
Real estate market impact
Do businesses need an umbrella system – franchise – or is a point of difference viable? As a business consultant that focuses on small business, knowing your market rather than a standard model is key. Real estate agents cite that clients are often impressed with franchises but concede that great boutique real estate agents are highly sort.
When choosing an agent think about what you want and consider which agencies suit your individual needs. Branding is important because it indicates market share but you need to align the brand to you.
One size doesn’t fit all in real estate
Elizabeth Dumonic Principle of Elite Women Real Estate (EWRE) began her real estate career working in Melbourne franchises. Her 24 years of experience inspired to open a boutique agency.
Elizabeth noticed people wanted services the agency couldn’t provide and she decided to close those gaps. Indeed, Elizabeth’s mission is to offer more than a franchise can and it’s her point of difference. Elizabeth understands she will not suit some clients but those that want personalization relish the difference.
I interviewed Elizabeth to ask what she believes her point of difference is as a boutique.
What can a boutique real estate agency offer?
The same access to marketing platforms but more personalized and flexible.
Many clients think the large franchises have more market reach but all agents use Realestate.com and Doman.com. Purchasers don’t care who is selling it they want the property. That’s not to say the agent doesn’t count it’s more the property is the priority.
The agent’s importance is connected to the experience and serviceability. The staff must be reliable, responsive, empathetic, knowledgeable and represent the property and the real estate agency as expected.
Personalization is highly really valued by my clients. Coming from a franchise I know staff are curtailed by the business. The rules are the same for franchises that’s why they are franchises. It can be rigid for vendors and purchasers because it’s not tailored to the clients it’s for the franchise.
Flexibility is my signature I believe. I work with clients and often find novel solutions to problems that simply can’t be entertained by a franchise.
What are your key differences for selling properties?
Franchises often have set opening hours and are reluctant to work outside those inspection schedules. That’s not to say that agents won’t accommodate purchasers it’s just the inspections are specifically week-nights and Saturdays.
If a Melbourne franchise does open for inspection Saturdays, all of the branches of that franchise will do their opens on Saturdays. But say an agent in a franchise wanted to open or auction Sunday? You would need all those Melbourne franchises to change to entertain Sunday inspections – doesn’t happen.
I find Sunday inspections and auctions hugely successful because people love that extra day. In effect I get extra inspections in a shorter campaign – creating urgency for the vendor and convenience for the purchaser.
“Shorter selling campaigns create urgency and prevent the property looking stale”
Spending weeks having the property perfect is a drain. Cleaning a house getting it ready for an open inspection is time-consuming. Making sure that there are no cooking or pet smells, ensuring there is fresh linen and towels, that every counter is clean and that the kids’ rooms are packed up is taxing. And when the purchaser doesn’t like the property after you have made it nice it can be defeating – so short is sweet.
The highest level of interest is in the first weeks. Most vendors are advised to choose the Premier listing spots on the platforms guaranteeing top place. However, over the next three to four weeks their listing will drop to page four, five or six particularly in a suburb where there’s a lot of listings.
As with normal web searches people only look at the top page. In real estate people think if it’s not on the top page the property has been on the market for too long there must be something wrong with the price, the home or the agent.
Why is your time on market shorter?
A typical franchise will auction between four to five weeks. I believe this is a real strain on the vendor. The vendors are opening up the house midweek and Saturdays often with other impromptu inspections for weeks.
In my long experience, the length of time is critical. Vendors need to have interest that comes in the first weeks; demand that comes from being fresh stock and transactional for purchasers.
Buyers generally have seen a lot of stock and ready to purchase buyers are the target. Those buyers know what they want, what is out there and are ready. They won’t entertain overpriced stale property. A reduced timeframe has many opens and generally sells over and above because buyers can see that there is an urgency.
At EWRE we auction in two weeks maximum of three. Effectively what that means is the property is open Saturday with several other opens – in fact, we offer opens morning and afternoon on the same day as well as Sunday morning. During the week we suggest either Wednesday or Thursday twice one in the morning and afternoon
As franchises refuse to work Sundays that creates a high level of competition which is great for clients. We often have100 up to 300 people turning up at our auctions because there’s no competition. I’m listing many homes because I’m able to demonstrate that length of time and urgency yields great results.
One more thing
Short campaigns work but that actually means getting the property ready might take longer. We tell our vendors they must be ready and that includes, presentation and structural competence.
We coach and mentor vendors and explain that purchasers love certainty. I really insist on building and pest reports being completed prior to the sale program. I explain that gives the vendor control. If reports are completed prior to the sale program the vendor knows the problems and can choose to fix the property or adjust their price.
Purchases value the vendor providing a report because it fosters trust. Even if their solicitor suggests they get an independent report it is unlikely to be different from the vendors.
As a boutique, I can provide what others can’t and my clients really value our point of difference.