Zoocasa’s re-emergence in the online space is expected to force agents to examine their value proposition and hone their skills.
“Some of the nicest websites are presented by some of the weakest Realtors,” said an agent on the REP forum. “All of the fanciest bells and whistles' like drone flyovers, and video walk-throughs are enticing, but if the Realtor can't negotiate, he or she will do you little good outside of the hot markets of Vancouver, Toronto and a few others spread across the country.”
The agent's comments reflect a growing realization for agents as they compete with digital real estate services like Zoocasa, which was shut down less than two weeks ago after Rogers deemed the operation a failure, losing more than $1-million. The efforts to relaunch Zoocasa is forcing some agents to evaluate where their value lies.
Offering a new unique platform, Zoocasa has dropped the discount label and instead has gone the educational route, trying to provide value by scouting local neighbourhoods for homebuyers.
“Our mission is to give homebuyers access to the best possible real estate tools and information while providing a premium level of in-house customer service — and that means building a team of professionals who can adapt to changing consumer expectations,” Lauren Haw, the new CEO of Zoocasa, told the Star.
Agents have been doing this for years of course, and the emergence of online platforms have placed them in direct competition with discounted brokerages for commissions and general market share among homebuyers. Consumers are flocking to technology as a means to find homes to evade what some feel are unreasonable commission prices.
In addition to drawing referrals and the power of negotiation, agents are maintaining their value despite pressure from online players in Canada’s real estate market and are calling on the public to make smart decisions.
“The public has to take full credit for hiring the part-timers and the unknowledgeable and making them viable,” the agent said.