It’s a funny thing for a Proptech founder to say, but anything short of a suit wearing, fast talking, slick haired robot, probably isn’t going to displace the function of a traditional sales agent anytime soon. I get it, your agent opens a few doors adds a few extra buyers to the mix and before you know it, the property is sold and they’re walking away with a big fat commission cheque, when let’s be honest, property in Sydney sells itself.

But here’s the thing, don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. Forget about whether or not you’re paying for the agents next entry level BMW – the only thing that matters is the bottom line for you. Below are some of the keys areas where agents get the tick over DIY or other innovations in the market.

 

Price

Setting the sale price of a property isn’t a complicated matter. Usually an agent will look at recent sales in the area and then do some closer matching based on the configuration and qualitative aspects of the property; pool vs no pool, outdoor entertaining etc.

I know what you’re thinking, you could do that right? Wrong.

I could look at 10 different property sales, similar in; area, configuration, building materials, mod-cons and amenities and still only have a very small sample size.

A good sales agent, with experience, confidence and a little bit of ego, has sold hundreds of properties from from start to finish. They know what’s hot, what’s not and when to push just that little bit harder. You want that knowledge and experience when setting your price, too low and your leaving money on the table, too high and your property will sit on Domain and Realestate.com.au, accruing selling plus holding costs.

 

Marketing

Marketing a property for sale requires finesse. The timings of sale ads on listing portals, the level of spend promoting your ad, the imagery and copy used to articulate and showcase the property, staging the property so that your crappy old furniture doesn’t put off a potential buyer –  all skills you’ll need proficiency in if you have a hope of selling effectively without an agent.

A well resourced sales agent will have a network of skill sets ready to plug in at a moments notice, they’ll also project manage the process from start to finish. Spending money in the right place at the right time, invariably will create value over and above your costs, fetching a higher price at market. I know services like Purplebricks, provide a network to do it yourself, but access isn’t the issue – it’s curating the right people for the job and having the nous for effective oversight.

 

Negotiation

An intermediary during any negotiation is valuable. At least with Purplebricks you get an agent of sorts to help you sell your property – but going full DIY with a digital service and you’ll lose the circuit breaker between you and the prospective buyer. I love Proptech, just the other day I was playing around with a UK web app, Settled. The tech is seriously slick, but falls short on fundamentals. As a buyer I don’t want to walk into an open home and have a discussion with the vendor about what he or she thinks there property is worth. Owners opinions are polluted with sentimental biases and attachments formed during the build, occupancy or renovation of the property. In short their views are inflated and inaccurate. A selling agent, whilst of course aligned with the seller, should still have a professional view of the property’s worth and shouldn’t be offended with any honest feedback from potential buyers. They’re also there to play hardball when you need them and use all the tricks up their sleeve to get a buyer over the line.

My business isn’t bricks and mortar, nor is it sales – but being able to recognise when technology doesn’t add value is important. Until that robot hits the shelves, I’ll stick with the agent when selling.