As the real estate industry heats up, opportunities are ripe for brokers to become a “point of difference” for agents, says Loan Market head of sales Mark De Martino.
Competition amongst agents is tense, especially in New South Wales, with five or more different agents trying to list any given property, he says.
“That presents a great opportunity for brokers. As competition heightens in the real estate space to sell, sell, sell, the broker has a significant opportunity. Strike time is now from brokers to go and say ‘I’m going to go out and create these relationships because these guys need a point of difference, and that’s me’.
“Create that opportunity for a referral so that they get more listings. After all, real estate agents just want one thing – they want you to help them put deals together and prevent deals from getting messed around by another broker or another bank.”
Brokers that have used quieter periods to build strong referral relationships will have the advantage, but if brokers can offer a strong value proposition there is plenty of opportunity for them to be involved in this space, says De Martino.
“And I don’t mean ‘I’ll give you great service, I’ve got 30 lenders I deal with, I’ll look after your customer’… everybody does that, I’m not talking about that as value I mean what is your point of difference?"
Part of this is changing attitudes towards pre-approval, says De Martino.
“Before you could get a customer pre-approved for $400,000 and be confident they could find a property for that,” he says. “Now you’ve got to say ‘What’s your worst-case maximum that you want to purchase for and you feel comfortable with?’, because if the market moves ahead of you and you miss this property you need to be prepared for that.”
In the current climate, real estate agents don’t have the time to deal with buyers whose finances fall through, says De Martino.
“They might have had time when the market was quiet and there were one or two sales per month going ahead for an agent, but when they’ve got five or ten listings on the go they have to move lickety-split and the properties will be won by buyers who have got their pre-approvals in place. That is the value brokers should be looking to add to their real estate partners.”
With the real estate market booming in many states, and on the verge of doing so in others, it’s time for brokers to start resetting their targets and position themselves to reap the most rewards, says De Martino.
“Brokers have to start setting their sights higher, being aware of the fact that there’s a lot more activity out there and changing the way in which they interact with not only referrers, but their own customers as well.”