How SME property agents can best utilize online platforms

September 14, 2015 13:45
Fred believes websites and apps are great tools to disseminate information to clients, but in handling negotiations and closing deals properly, computers cannot replace humans. Photo: HKEJ

Although there's been a big jump in the number of online real estate platforms that match buyers and sellers or landlords and tenants, not all property agents agree the internet is the best way to conduct business.

Fred took over a small real estate agent business from his mother in 2009 and tried tapping the internet to facilitate property deals the following year.

But negative customer feedbacks such as complaints on contract details changed his mind about going online, Fred told the Hong Kong Economic Journal.

He halted the project.

Some crucial functions of an agent, like balancing the interests of the two sides, can't be relegated to a computer, Fred said.

Still, he acknowledges that listing and searching for properties online is an irreversible trend. He is open to taking advantage of the technology but primarily for marketing purposes.

In fact, he is now discussing with his brother how to produce their own app to let customers access the latest property news.

Yet other tasks are better left to a flesh-and-blood estate agent.

Also, he says, “customers are requested to go check out the unit personally”.

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EJ Insight writer