Real estate agents have been doing what they do for hundreds of years. And though advertising of properties has jumped from printed page to the screen, until recently, properties have still largely been sold just as they were when the profession was young.

So, if it's not broken, why fix it? Why change a process that has effectively enabled property owners to work with an experienced agent, cast the net for buyers, narrow down the field, and sell their property for a price they are happy with?

The answer is simple. Buyers. The people who are handing over the cash and purchasing properties have changed. Sure, they are still motivated by factors like location (and in modern times, access to good schools and internet connection), but now they are demanding more from the actual purchasing experience.

The world has become smaller, the market is global, and buyers are demanding a level of access, convenience and immediate gratification that they could never demand in real estate before -- even though they have been enjoying it in other parts of their lives for years.

As real estate adapts to online sales and auctions, we look at what this means for how you select a real estate agency to sell your property, and the new skill set an auctioneer must have in order to remain relevant .

The evolved agent

Selecting a real estate agent can be difficult. You want someone who will work hard to achieve the price you are looking for, but who is also personable and accessible -- someone you don't mind talking to, who never makes you feel like you've asked one question too many.

But is that all you should be looking for?

As the market changes -- and it is, and it will further -- demand will change and property values will fluctuate. Working with an agency that is prepared to capitalise on every opportunity, take advantage of new sales techniques, and evolve their practice so it is truly in your best interest (rather than just what they are comfortable doing) will be crucial to achieving a result you are satisfied with.

Whether it's using online auction to reach more buyers, give bidders more access and bring transparency to the sale; or tools that enable online tours, more open communication or advanced buyer marketing techniques, an agent that has evolved their service is able to offer you more. They are smarter, and genuinely committed to generating a successful sale, no matter what new skills they have to attain or methods they have to try.

When selecting your agency, ask yourself -- is the traditional method of selling, with no advancements, really enough, or do I want more?

Tip -- ask your potential agent some of these questions:

  • How will you promote my property initially?
  • How will you use initial property marketing data to optimise promotion, market smarter and decrease the time my property is on the market?
  • How are you reaching more buyers, and how are you keeping them engaged?
  • How are you negotiating to achieve the best price for me?
  • How has your agency changed their practices over the last five years to make the most of new technology to sell my property?

The new generation of auctioneers

Auctioneers are quick-talking, quick-thinking professionals who have a unique and special skill set. While many of us find the idea of bidding at auction a little intimidating, few of us stop to think exactly how challenging it must be to call a fast auction in front of dozens of people.

Auctions have been undertaken since ancient Greece, and though the process has likely changed immensely since then, over several recent decades the essentials have basically stayed the same.

But now auctions are changing.

Auctioneer skills sets have always revolved around the ability to think and talk quickly, to captivate a room and to encourage every last bid out of registered bidders. They have been on location, at a specific time and date, face-to-face, and they've required people to turn up to be involved.

With the introduction of online auction, for the first time in decades, auctioneers have the opportunity to diversify their skill set and what they offer. They can customise their service to better meet the needs of their clients, and to better match the demands of the buying audience.

While traditional auction will still have a solid place in real estate for some time, property owners are starting to see the value in offering their property in an online auction:

  • Registered, approved bidders from all around the globe can participate, pushing up competition.
  • Previously, several auctions for similar properties may be held by different agents at the same time and on the same day, splitting the buying audience. With online auctions, buyers interested in all of these properties for auction at the same time can participate in every auction -- pushing up the buying audience and competition.
  • Property owners no longer sit off to the side and nervously await auction outcomes, they can now watch, in real-time, as every bid and offer is made, getting a first-hand view of their property sale and being involved in important decision-making.

To keep up with this trend, auctioneers will need to evolve their skills and adjust the way they think and strategise, depending on the method of auction delivery. Important new skills to look for in your auctioneer, include:

  • Being at least a little tech savvy: knowing how to use an online auction platform and being able to explain it to property owners and bidders will be important (at Sale Ezy, we provide this support).
  • Capitalising on data: being able to understand data relating to onscreen listing engagement and use it to increase interest and convert interested people to bidders will be crucial (at Sale Ezy, your agent's dedicated support partner will help in this area).
  • Written communication: Gen Y particularly is not fond of picking up the phone, and between this generation and Gen X, we have the largest and most influential group of online shoppers in Australia. Being able to translate that charisma and connection from spoken communication and negotiation, to written communication online will help achieve more sales with better results.
  • Learning to read the room: one of the biggest talents of an auctioneer is being able to read a room, to immediately see genuine interest, understand each unique bidding strategy, and know when you can get more out of any one bidder. Online means no faces, so learning to read the action on screen so you can support the process with digital and phone communication will become a vital skill.

Real estate is evolving, and it's important agents and auctioneers evolve too. Those traditional, relationship-based skills will continue to be incredibly important to any sales process, but enhancing and diversifying skills set to capitalise on what technology can offer will mean the difference between your agent having a solid future or working harder than necessary for every listing and every successful sale.