Real Estate Offices, more than a front window
“There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all customer service, and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all real estate business,” Laing+Simmons’ Travis Wentriro said.
UrbanX boss Dan Argent questioned the need for a real estate office with a streetside window to showcase an agency’s listings. “I literally can’t remember the last time I had a client in our office,” Mr Argent told Real Estate Business. As a result, he thinks shop window displays are irrelevant, and computer screens are the new shop window of choice.
Laing+Simmons’ head of network growth, Travis Wentriro, agrees with Mr Argent that, in most cases, the shop window is not where most people find their next home. “But the real estate office can fulfil other purposes, especially around attracting new talent to the team and providing them with a comfortable, bright and engaging place to work,” he said. “Some start-ups in specific locations may prefer a physical office to establish themselves in the local market, and if this can be done cost-effectively, it might be worth pursuing.”
Additionally, Mr Wentriro sees some merit in established agents with substantial market shares in their patch being able to save overheads on a physical office without impacting the customer experience. “The importance of a physical office depends on many variables, including the specific locations, the cost of the premises, the other costs of doing business and the stage of the business life cycle that you’re in, just to name a few,” he said.
“Real estate businesses that choose to operate without a shopfront must ensure they have the strategic marketing platform in place to be able to service their existing customers just as effective, while attracting new customers as well.”
Mr Wentriro points to Laing+Simmons’ point of difference as their offices position themselves as local experts. As a result, a physical office makes sense for them to be able to emphasise their local ties. “We recognise that growth in the current climate means offering the people in our network choice and flexibility,” he said. “Whether that is through supporting them in establishing a physical presence in a high-street location, or in a secondary space, through co-branding with their existing business name or even through a purely digital presence. “We’re willing to work towards mutual success.”