With housing markets in many cities now well on the road to recovery, hundreds of professionals are once again seeing the benefits of pursuing a career in the real estate industry. But should you do go the whole hog and rent yourself a physical office? Or is it okay just to work online? Read these benefits and decide for yourself:
Most people won’t automatically dismiss a business just because it only exists online, but you’re probably going to have to work a bit to convince them that you’re for real and know what you’re doing. After all, it’s no big secret that online businesses are cheap and easy to create- who’s to say you won’t give up on this real estate thing in a few months and leave them high and dry? In contrast, opening an actual brick and mortar office takes a level of commitment that isn’t easy to walk away from. That money you’re investing to lease the space and make it look nice is in itself a form of advertising that tells potential customers you’re not going anywhere.
By leasing space in a high-trafficked area and putting your company logo over the door in big neon lights (probably not literally), you’re announcing yourself to everyone who happens to pass by in a way that’s just not possible online. There are no virtual streets to drive down or businesses that you can see while taking a virtual stroll. This kind of passive advertising is something that can help get a lot of walk-in business.
Expanded customer base
By solely operating online, you’re automatically limiting yourself to a specific kind of customer- people who are willing to look online for a realtor! There are many people (especially older clients) who simply won’t consider doing this. Some older potential customers may not use the internet at all, and others may feel that a decision as big as buying or selling a house shouldn’t be left up to an agent’s Google search ranking and a few anonymous online reviews. By opening a real world office, you can attract people who are still nervous about web transactions and woo them with a face-to-face encounter.
Become a one-stop shop
One of the bigger advantages of opening a real estate office for your business is that you can rent out any of your unused space to related businesses like mortgage and title companies. This way, any customers that come to you (or them) can get everything they need taken care of in one convenient place and you can drum up more business for each other by recommending clients. And don’t underestimate the convenience factor for you when you can ask questions to closing officers and lenders just by knocking on the office down the hall.
Make use of your time
Part of being a real estate agent is that you constantly have to drum up new business. When all you have is a website, this means spending a lot of your time answering emails and trying new online marketing techniques to even get to the point where you can meet with a potential customer in person. With a brick and mortar store, this downtime can be spent in an office where people can see you and come to you without any of that preamble during your regular business hours. Even if most of the people who stop in or call just have a few questions, you’ll be able to start forging that relationship that will make them want to use you as their agent. No matter how many emails you send, it’s just not the same.
About the Author: Jerry Davidson is a business professional who specializes in commercial real estate. Click here to see some of Jerry’s work for Door Systems.