Have you seen the recent report from Roy Morgan ranking the most trusted to the least trusted professions in Australia? Unfortunately, only 7% of Australians regarded real estate agents as greater than a 'high' rating for ethics and honesty.
The good news is: we're above advertisers and car salesmen. Bad news: we're still right down the bottom of the list - and 7% is nothing to celebrate.
So, what does that mean for our profession? And how can we turn the tide to restore the public's faith in both us and our services?
Where does their distrust come from?
Society has changed from what it once was 10 to 15 years ago. The explosion of the digital world and the growth of the Internet has shifted people from naïve customers, to highly educated and highly empowered citizens.
We see it every day - they know almost more than us about the homes they're researching, pricing, trends, condition reports - the works. Gone are the days when they needed us for everything. Now, we handle the negotiation and the promotion, simply because they don't have time -nor do they have the level of experience.
This is evident from the rise of new selling methods, which require a lot of self-help on the part of the owner.
But if we're looking for the real underlying reason: it's the way our services work currently. The negotiation process, especially Private Treaty, is renowned for confusing our vendors and frustrating buyers by leaving them in the dark.
Obviously, we are trying to get the best result, but keeping offers so close to our chests can really hurt the trust factor, because all parties have no idea what we are doing in the background. This leaves a gap for suspicion, and based on the figures from that study, this has a considerable negative impact on the way the public perceive us.
Threat or opportunity?
While some may call this a threat to what we do, it's actually an opportunity. This represents a chance to evolve what we, as agents, offer and at the same time, restore the public's faith in our service.
I, for one, know the essential role we play in ensuring the best outcome for everyone involved in a property transaction, and I am willing to fight for our profession. I'm sure I'm not alone.
By changing our perspective, we don't have to be the 'necessary evil'- we can be pioneers of balance and expertise, to take our rightful place as trusted associates in the buying and selling of Australian property.
What's a better way?
We can restore the value both vendors and buyers see in us by making the process far more clear and user friendly.
By allowing the seller and all potential buyers to see everyone's price and setting a time limit, a fair and final result can be achieved by encouraging healthy competition.
This way, the seller can personally see the process unfold to reach true value, the buyers can bid confidently without missing an opportunity, and the agent acts as a facilitator - championing the exchange.
Openn is a revolutionary, new way that combines the best aspects of private treaty, auction, expression of interest and end date sale into one fair and open process. By using the Openn app, approved buyers compete for the property from the comfort of their own homes, while the seller watches on in theirs.
Made by agents, for agents - this groundbreaking technology makes the process exciting, enjoyable and rewarding for all parties, and it doesn't leave anyone frustrated in the dark.