"If you don't like change, you won't like extinction even more." RE/MAX New Zealand chief executive Don Ha doesn't mince words as he drills home the message that the real estate industry needs to make drastic changes in the way it operates in these unprecedented times.
Don, who has spent over 27 years in the industry, says agents who have changed the way they work to adjust to the situation are reaping the rewards. On the other hand, those still waiting at home, waiting for the market to reopen, are missing out. "The new way of doing business may seem strange, even chaotic, to some salespeople, but don't forget that chaos also brings new opportunities. This is an exciting time to be in real estate."
According to Don, adaptability is the reason why RE/MAX has continued to grow despite operating in the backdrop of a global pandemic. He backs up that claim with figures: "The number of RE/MAX offices grew 83 per cent, sales growth increased 50 per cent and the number of agents grew 52 per cent. Since the last lockdown in 2020, we have added a new office every three weeks."
So, what explains this growth? "We didn't wait for the pandemic to blow over because we knew it wasn't going away soon. We worked right through it and changed the way real estate has traditionally been done. Today, our agents can do everything from their homes and the office. They don't need to meet vendors and buyers. With virtual meetings and auctions so easy now, we don't have to physically meet people to sell a home."
Don refers to the 54 units that RE/MAX pre-sold in Takanini in under one week during the current lockdown. "Prospective buyers were to able see the plans, talk to our agents, read the contracts, show their IDs and do their banking online. Their lawyers vetted the contracts over the internet. Our team completed the contracts without once stepping out of our homes and offices. We had Kiwis from places like France and Japan buying without physically seeing their future homes."
Whether you are starting off, coming back into the industry, or have experience and expertise in another area, Don has a simple message: "Instead of waiting at home, waiting for things to change, people must accept the inevitable transition from physical to online. The outcome is the same – people will still buy homes. Real estate agents who don't become innovative and are mentally stuck with their thinking (that the pandemic is a temporary situation) need to adapt quickly. Hoping for the market to open won't help. Waiting for level 1 or 2 is just an excuse. That's the new reality."
A number of initiatives by RE/MAX during the lockdown helped its salespersons overcome the various limitations that were in place. The company hosted more than 30 online training sessions and webinars, and conceptualised and produced a recruitment video, which included footage from shots taken just prior to the lockdown. A virtual auctions platform, allowing agents and buyers to conduct business as usual, proved to be a huge success.
The company partnered with TAFE College to offer the New Zealand Certificate in Real Estate (Salesperson) Level 4.
On September 6, RE/MAX held their first ever virtual ceremony via Zoom, after the planned awards gala at the Intercontinental Wellington was cancelled due to Level 4 restrictions.
Clearly, for people wanting to enter the industry, RE/MAX offers an exciting, stimulating and supportive work environment. "We are a people's company. Education, training and access to innovation are available to all our agents. Unlike most CEOs who are focussed only on management, I'm still at heart a real estate agent. I still visit open homes and conduct seminars as that's my passion. I'm available to network on a weekly basis. Having been a salesperson, then a franchise owner, and now a CEO, I understand the entire gamut of the real estate industry. So, when any member of our team has a problem, I can reach out and guide them."
RE/MAX is also currently looking at multiple online auctions. "I will give the presentation online and release the lots, and you can buy one lot, or two or more. My vision is to sell $200 million worth of stock simultaneous at our silent auction/platform," says Don.
Real estate is a powerful wealth creation tool that allows agents to help people achieve their property goals. If you would like to be part of this industry, RE/MAX New Zealand now has a training institute in association with TAFE College for potential new recruits who can study the real estate course at the RE/MAX New Zealand head office or through weblink for their nationwide RE/MAX offices. The first intake will start on October 1.
For more details visit their website or contact: Keith Niederer: [email protected], 027 4933 477 or Alan Elliott: [email protected], 021 994 881.
First published Stuff Ltd more...