Brick and mortar realty brokerages turning into relics, says agent

by Neil Sharma13 Jun 2018

Retail stores have been hard hit by online shopping, and according to one sales representative, it’s only a matter of time before real estate follows suit.

“The real estate market is driven by millennials,” said Gary Semeniuk of The York Region Eco Team with Keller Williams Realty. “Baby boomers are not really the movers and shakers. Millennials have taken over the market and what we’re finding through our experience in trying to penetrate the millennial market is they tend to be less responsive to physical real estate. They’re digitally motivated and they primarily want to deal with us through text.”

It’s precisely because of the outsized millennial market that Semeniuk is convinced the days of brick and mortar realty brokerages are becoming relics.

“We focus on a number of different niches, and one would be renters and landlords,” he said. “In one particular group we have just over 2,700 people, and the majority of the group are millennials trying to figure out how to buy into the market. I just need to speak to them on the phone to ask a few basic questions so that I can represent them, but the point is that I don’t need a brick and mortar office.”

The York Region Eco Team doesn’t even hand out paper advertisements—unless it’s to advertise a car show, among many other fun community outreach initiatives.

But the team’s online presence illuminates the ways in which traditional real estate is transforming. Semeniuk has known veteran agents with as many as three decades experience lose market share to the new class of sales agent who leverages technology instead of plastering their face on park benches.

“What we’re doing in our group is feature a number of different speakers during Facebook Live sessions,” said Semeniuk. “I have a paralegal lawyer who speaks once a month; I have a lender who speaks once a month; I have a financial planner who specializes in the millennial market and helps them figure out how they can afford their way into homeownership. I think it would be in the industry’s best interest to adapt because the old way is getting tougher and tougher.”


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