In a recent post to the Facebook page I suggested that Real Estate Professionals should embrace i) Technology and ii) the Regional (Caribbean) market to drive business growth in the New Year.
In this article I would like to expand on these two initiatives. Without doubt digital technology is the biggest driver of business growth globally. In the recent G20 report on the digital economy it stated “It is an increasingly important driver of global economic growth and plays a significant role in accelerating economic development, enhancing productivity of existing industries, cultivating new markets and industries, and achieving inclusive, sustainable growth.” I believe this applies to the local Real Estate market as well.
In 2019 I believe the industry would move further along the digital technology continuum. Both advertising and search will be largely digital. Personal communication between agent and potential buyer will be done mainly through digital messaging. Office processes and information storage will be mainly digital and the majority of the agents daily tasks will be conducted on tablets, laptops and smartphones.
The more progressive agencies will be using data processing with some sort of artificial intelligence with email mail outs. Offers for sale will be segmented with tight targeting of potential customers based on specific attributes. And this is only the beginning, the national land registry promises to become fully online and banks who possess all the personal financial information will start competing in targeting their customers for investments in Real Estate thereby offering them mortgages. In fact some predict that even the purchase agreement will be concluded online with only a visit to sign the papers. In all this the agent will have to become digitally smart, understanding the correct mix between online and offline relationship building.
Digital technology will promote my second growth driver, Caribbean regionalization. The online advertising and digital communication will allow agents to dare to seek out buyers beyond our National borders. It will allow agents to target the expatriate holiday home market with greater accuracy. And eventually be able to offer high end local clients the opportunity to invest in real estate in other Caribbean territories.
With the prospects for high local economic growth (above 1.8 to 2%) at a very low level, agents will have to expand their market to include the rest of CARICOM. This will require them cross registering with different brokers, local and other CARICOM territories. They will have to seek out their CARICOM skills certificate.
This will necessitate learning new markets, forming new alliances and expanding their education. These new business drivers will open up many new opportunities in 2019 and beyond but agents will have to move out of their comfort zones.