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Do real estate agencies work online and without an office?

Discover the potential of creating a real estate 100% online.

Traditionally, real estate companies have always had an office in which to carry out all the daily tasks. Not only do your employees work in the office, but it also serves to receive visitors, have a showcase for the public, and much more.

The problem is that buyers are increasingly turning to the Internet to buy houses.

Instead of visiting an area on foot, many choose to visit portals such as Tajarat properties to take a virtual tour of the property. From the comfort of your home, of course. If it is no longer necessary to receive clients in an office, could a real estate agency work 100% online?

Do you really need an office for your real estate?

The usual thing for any real estate agency is to have an office. Preferably located in a busy area for everyone to see that you exist.

You get up every morning, open your doors, and do your business while people look at your shop window and your property portfolio. Hopefully your storefront will catch the eye of a few people and they will stop to take a look. And maybe you can have a potential buyer this hand.

The usefulness of having an office in a real estate.

Typically, you need a physical office to do the following day-to-day tasks:

  • Receive interested clients and meet with them.
  • Show your shop window to the public and promote your properties.
  • Have your employees in one place.
  • Make a presence and show your brand.

But except for receiving clients in person, everything else can be done 100% online and without an office. Every day that passes, new technologies emerge that allow you to promote yourself through the Internet – for example, you can offer virtual tours directly on your website, or work with a 100% remote team thanks to all the communication tools that exist.

People buy houses online.

In recent years, people have gone from looking for a house on the street to looking directly on the Internet.

The new way to buy an apartment is to search on Google or enter one of the main real estate portals to see what is in the area. In fact, it is one of the reasons why real estate companies rely too much on portals today.

When they are interested in your apartment, the normal thing is to make a visit without having to go to the office. And if they like the property, all that remains is to negotiate and sign the sale of the home – at the notary, not at your premises.

Personally, I have had the opportunity to see both sides of the sale of an apartment recently, and the real estate office has not been necessary at any time.

How to be a 100% online real estate agency

Since having an office for your real estate is not necessary, is it worth setting up a real estate totally online? There are arguments for and against taking your office, so let’s look at them one by one:

A retail store is expensive.

The main advantage of not having an office is that you save a lot of expenses. In fact, only with the rent of the premises you can easily pay the salary of one (or more) of your employees. Just look at all the expenses:

  • Electricity and water bills
  • Cleaning of the premises
  • Office supplies
  • Technology: computers, printers, etc …
  • LED or luminous shop windows
  • Security alarm
  • Office furniture and chairs

All these expenses only serve to function as an office. They will not bring you more sales, nor will they make your real estate agency stand out above others. This is just the starting point for any business that wants to have a physical presence.

Ditching an office can be a good way to cut costs, especially if you’re just starting out. Instead of renting an office and doing all the paperwork, you can make use of a coworking, or an office in a business centre.

Thus, you can focus on the business itself and not on maintaining it.

Less credibility … for not having an office?

An argument in favour of having an office is that it provides more credibility and trust. But I don’t see it that way.

Credibility is not something that is created with a well-located location, but with unbeatable customer service. A potential buyer does not care how beautiful your office is, but that you can get them the house they are looking for, at a good price, and with a process without headaches.

In fact, you only have to look at the real estate portals. None of them have a retail office, and yet they generate an immense number of potential buyers every day. Needless to say, the name of carries a lot of credibility:

All this can only be achieved based on real estate branding. That is, invest in creating a brand that people recognize and that transmits trust. Branding is a slow process, and it consists of following a real estate marketing strategy consistently for many years.

You need a meeting point for your clients.

Even if your client does not care about the size of your office, you will still need a place to receive them. An office can be a good starting point, as it is cheaper than an office and allows you to accommodate visits with ease.

But if you decide to be a 100% online realtor, there are also many ways to interact with a buyer through the Internet. For example, you can use video conferencing software to meet in real time. Or use a real estate CRM to manage your documents and send them by email. Today, there is a tool for every business need:

All of this may seem very impersonal, but it all depends on how you want to target your business.

In many cases, a client won’t mind a remote deal if you offer quick and on-the-spot solutions. The same goes for your offer; if you have fewer expenses, you may be able to offer more competitive prices.

Less productivity and control

Whether you have an office or not, productivity is very important for your real estate. If you don’t have an office, you should be sure that your team works equally hard on their own.

This depends on the company culture that you have generated, but in any case, remote work is proven to work. There are very large companies that allow you to work from home (or from your own offices), and that are equally profitable.

All this is achieved with a good organization, well-planned operational processes, and a clear way of communicating. If your team is clear that they must dedicate a schedule of their time strictly to work, the office is no longer so important.

The real estate storefront can attract customers

One disadvantage of your online real estate is that you do not have a showcase to attract clients. Storefronts are still a fairly affordable form of passive advertising – you’re showing your portfolio to everyone who walks past your office, for minimal cost.

But also keep in mind that cartels are not too effective.

A shop window does not allow you to quickly search for a specific offer, nor does it give you the possibility of showing your entire portfolio. At most, it could be said that they serve to make a client enter your agency to ask.

In addition to that, you also have to know if your storefront is effective in attracting customers. You may be located on a central avenue in your city and many people are interested in your flats.

But it is also possible that it is a waste of time, and that it is much more profitable to obtain leads through the website.

First of all, keep in mind that the shop window requires maintenance. You have to print the cards in good quality, and make sure that all the information is up to date. If the storefront turns out to be doing nothing, you could focus your efforts on other sales channels.

The solution? Measure where each potential buyer has met you and see how many sales come from your storefront. You can do this with a real estate CRM like Vendome, of course.

Real estate agencies without an office can work.

In summary, setting up a real estate without a physical office and that is profitable is perfectly possible. You simply have to be clear about your value proposition:

  • Who am I selling to?
  • What does the client expect from me?
  • What type of properties do I sell?

Logically, a luxury real estate agency like Engel & Volker’s needs a space to present their properties and receive a buyer. It is part of the experience they offer.

But each real estate is unique and can be focused on a specific market niche. And in many of them, a 100% online service may work.

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