The 21st Century Agent Tool Guide Part 1 – Succeeding amidst the tough terrain

Succeeding as a real estate agent, especially in Nigeria is not as easy as most people think. People frequently see the agency business from a surface level; which often is when deals close and the agent gets his commission. This is mostly because society celebrates only wins, and when you are able to generate many wins consistently, the process of doing so becomes seemingly easy or cheap in the perception of society. I mean how do you justify the commission you receive from deals when most people think that the only thing an agent does is to take clients on inspection.

They tend to forget the hassle and many issues that agents have to deal with on a daily basis to get the deal closed. The process in general is not always as smooth as a number of people might think. From dealing with fellow unprofessional agents to greedy landlords, to even dealing with window shoppers who appear as clients, the odds that stack against the agent are numerous. We understand some of these problems and in this article, we have identified some of the biggest challenges that agents face especially in Lagos. Additionally, we will also share insight on how real estate agents in Nigeria can position their business to success amidst the tough terrain.

Build your network to secure original briefs

In our last week’s article, we dived deep into the Lagos housing deficit. One major finding was that Lagos needs over 3.2 million housing units to meet demand. This paints to the fact that the residential market in Lagos is currently undersupplied. A number of agents, especially those that are new into the market find it tough getting original briefs. There is competition in the market and our recommendation is to expand your network strategically. In the real estate business, your network is your currency, and an agent’s success to a large extent depends on the quality of his or her contacts. 

Successful agents understand that the best time to secure a brief for a property is to start a relationship with the developer even before they move to site. For properties that are already built, the seller, their bankers or lawyers are the best people to have as friends. The best way is usually to attend industry events and symposiums where there is an assembly of developers or other players. While this will work in most cases, contacts that you make in an informal setting can be your life saver. What will differentiate you, however, is the additional value that you are willing to bring to the developer or seller within and outside the transaction.

Become a king in a specific neighbourhood

One of the things that drain agents the most is trying to be everywhere at all times, or trying to be everything to everybody. Our interaction with some of Lagos’ most successful agents shows that this usually leads to frustration and loss of manpower resources. Except you have the capacity to deploy agents to every location and do it better than everyone else, you do not have any business being everywhere. It is better to pick one or two locations and ensure that you are the best realtor in those locations than trying to cover everywhere. Being the best means knowing everything happening on both the demand and supply side of that market. This is a concept that we call ‘’being a neighbourhood king.’’ This will save you a lot of resources, and you are able to focus on the locations that are most rewarding.

Adopt technology in your practice

Technology has disrupted almost every industry and real estate is not an exemption. From digital tours to the automation of hundreds of other processes, the benefits far outweigh the initial adoption cost. Technology is also helping real estate companies to leverage and analyse internal and external data for better investment and operational decision-making. They are opening up new revenue streams to diversify business and tap into new opportunities within the market. From team communication tools, to task Management and CRM, some of these technology systems will help manage your activity better. Here are a few that you can explore:

  • Beatrix
  • Slack
  • Trello
  • Hubspot, and there are many more out there. 

Outside this, tools like 3D virtual tours are becoming increasingly needed in meeting the needs of busy clients who can not make physical inspections.

Generating Leads for free using BuyLetLive.com

From high subscription costs on listing platforms to the increased cost of running ads on social media platforms, a real estate agent is spending more to get properties in the face of potential clients. A decade ago, listing platforms in Nigeria were very few and mostly free to use because they were still struggling for market share. At the time, social media ads were not popular and commercialised as they are today, and the cost of generating leads online was almost zero. Today, the dynamics have changed. Agents now spend over ₦200,000 per month for the most premium plans on listing platforms.  Our interaction with some of the top agents in Lagos reveals that they spend an additional $2,000 (over ₦1million) running ads on Instagram and similar platforms per month, and the cost keeps increasing every day. In such a congested space, agents are forced to rethink the way they are getting their properties in the face of clients. Luckily, listing platforms like BuyLetLive now offer agents an opportunity to lease their properties for free. Additionally, focusing on generating organic leads through networks and referrals are also very useful and cheap. In our next article, we will be discussing further on lead generation and how to be more efficient using technology. You can follow us on Linkedin for more updates and insight to help you execute and innovate your business with more excellence.

We would love to hear from you. Please send your comments and feedback to research@buyletlive.com. You can also share what systems have worked for you and we will like to keep in touch.

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