CHALLENGE: To build your success as an agent, you need access to the best software, advice, support and resources — but getting it all can come at a prohibitive cost!
SOLUTION: Memberships for real estate agents can enable access to everything you need, at a lower price and guide you towards reputable and reliable products and services.
The resources that run real estate
Right now, running a real estate agency costs money. Not a little bit of money, a lot of money.
Where once, offices operated with paper-based systems, or a computer or two and the odd software platform, relying almost solely on their people; over the last few decades, technology has started to take over and the way we do business has changed.
These days, to be truly effective — to remain competitive — agencies need access to the best data, the most cutting-edge marketing subscriptions, accessible website builders, the latest information on compliance and so much more.
Making money — attracting new managements, listing and selling — remains the key priority for agencies. But saving money is also a major consideration of any licensee-in-charge who wants to maximise profit and minimise costs.
A membership with a real estate cooperative or advocacy body is one of the easiest ways for agents to make cost savings. These organisations bring together large numbers of agencies, to enable lower prices on their own products, and the capacity to negotiate discounts on products of third parties.
Real guidance, right products
As new technology and practice does emerge, a notable challenge for agents is keeping up with the changes, but also understanding which new providers offer reliable and reputable products, and where to look for scams or offers that are too good to be true.
Learning which platforms and service providers are right for your agency can be a full-time job all on its own — especially when it comes to comparing the breadth of features and price tag, with that of competing products.
Real estate membership organisations are designed to do that legwork for agents — to minimise the time agents need to spend on researching a product to ensure they get a good deal and that it will serve them in the way it promises.
Most membership groups use their own resources to thoroughly research or develop products, so they can guide agents in the right direction.
Community is crucial
In an industry like ours, where change on a regulatory front, in particular, is frequent and sometimes complex, being part of a community of agents is really important.
Firstly, a community gives you a place to seek the perspective of other agents who are experiencing similar conditions or who may have more experience or knowledge than you do.
Secondly, a community gives you a voice — it ensures changes to the industry aren’t just happening TO you, but are happening with you and because of you.
Some membership organisations are built around community and consultation. They act as the mouthpiece for their members, regularly reaching out to agents to understand what is affecting them, their opinion on proposed change, their challenges, and representing this to regulatory bodies that have the power to improve the industry.
Finding the right real estate membership for you
If, for you, real estate success is firstly about people, next about access to the right tools and resources, and finally, about the voice you have — your power to influence change, evolution, regulation — finding the right membership is easy.
Start by creating a list of crucial needs for your agency, for example, an accessible website may be one need, comprehensive, up-to-date market and property information may be another, and order them by priority.
It is likely no membership group will provide access to EVERY product or platform you need as all agencies operate differently, but the one that meets the most of your priority needs is likely the one for you.
Once you have written your list and compared it to the offerings of various member-based organisations, ask yourself these questions:
- Are membership costs competitive? What do you get? How much of it is relevant to you? What is the quality and how much does it cost?
- How many of your needs does it cover compared to other membership providers?
- What does the provider stand for? If it is important to you that it is a representative voice of the industry, does its messages and values align with your own?
- What is the customer service like?
- What do members say?
Spotlight on EAC membership
EAC is, of course, a membership based cooperative. Initially, decades ago, it was formed to negotiate more cost-effective group deals on software, advertising and other industry necessities for its members, based on economies of scale.
These days, as well as continuing to deliver its original service, EAC is a strong and sound voice for its members in the industry, working with regulatory bodies like Fair Trading, and it is also a producer of cutting-edge real estate technology that helps its members excel in their local areas.
When reviewing your checklist, consider these quick insights:
- EAC has one of the lowest membership costs around, but offers more than most other real estate membership bodies.
- Values-driven, EAC is focused on ensuring the industry functions in a way that is fair for both consumers and agents, that regulations make sense and are relevant and that all agents have the opportunity to succeed.
- With its finger on the pulse when it comes to how the industry is changing, EAC offers access to online and face-to-face training with its very reputable partner, the Australian College Of Professionals.
- Knowing how confusing and complex property law can be, EAC gives its members access to free legal advice from renowned firm, JemmesonFisher.
- EAC’s product range — for which members receive notable discounts — is extensive and high-quality. From comprehensive property data, to responsive real estate websites, compliant online and printed forms, video marketing and 3D tours, to discounted insurance, technology and hardware, and expert coaching, all your needs are covered!
When asking yourself, ‘Do I need a real estate membership?’, the answer is simple: if you want your agency to grow, if you want your people to have access to the best and most-cutting edge platforms and service providers, if you want to save money — you need a membership.