In the past a career in real estate was viewed by some as the sway of those wanting a no experience needed, part time job.
However, today this couldn’t be further from the truth, says Harcourts Wellington Franchise Development Manager Jay Tapley.
“The Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA) has tightened requirements around licensing and codes of conduct. Continuing education is mandatory and, as in every profession, information technology now plays a huge role in what we do.”
The REAA requires all sales consultants to be licensed and hold a National Certificate in Real Estate Level 4. Licenses need to be renewed every 12 months, and at least 20 hours of continuing education must be completed.
This high level of professionalism is changing the demographics of real estate, Mr Tapley says.
The most recent REAA demographics show 16% of female and 17% of male real estate sales consultants are currently aged in their 20s or 30s, and this trend is expected to continue and grow.
Of note, Mr Tapley says, is that there is not one particular personality type that best fits the industry.
“There are over 600 real estate sales consultants in the Wellington region, around 5,000 in Auckland and each brings their own individual style. How you connect with one person will not work with another, and that’s where an agent’s unique personality is important.”
Mr Tapley says as well as changing demographics, methods of marketing are also vastly different.
“Long gone are the days of marketing consisting of handing out a few photocopied fliers,” Mr Tapley says.
Harcourts designs its own mobile device apps to make managing clients and properties easier for sales consultants.
Other Harcourts software allows sales consultants to manage a sophisticated client database, with customised alerts to ensure appropriate follow up contact.
Marketing materials, such as brochures or newsletters, are also created through Harcourts’ software. There are dozens of templates which can be altered and personalised according to the sales consultants’ requirements. This means professional and brand appropriate marketing material can be created in minutes for any property.
Mr Tapley says very successful sales consultants tend to be those who use all the internal IT systems effectively to follow up with clients and maintain regular contact, as often 90% of custom is repeat or referral.
Top sales consultants also complete more than their minimum requirements of continuing education. Harcourts offers regular training programmes through the Harcourts Academy, with sales consultants able to attend courses in topics such as advanced sales, auctions and IT.
“We promote constant upskilling. We find that those sales consultants who embrace the new technology and dedicate themselves to being the best are doing the most business.” Mr Tapley says.
This year Harcourts is celebrating 125 years. Established in 1888 in Wellington by J.B Harcourt, the company has become New Zealand’s largest real estate group and is now exporting services and systems into eight countries around the globe. Still privately New Zealand owned after 125 years, Harcourts is an iconic Kiwi business success story.