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Doing more online: ride the digital wave into 2023

MAIN IMAGE: Terence Sewraj; The Virtual Agent CEO


Thinking ahead to the New Year, advances in proptech will take on an even larger share of the administrative burden carried by real estate agents, freeing them up to sell, says The Virtual Agent (TVA) CEO, Terence Sewraj.

“Looking back at the Real Estate Industry Summit held at the end of last year, it was clear that 2022 proved a watershed period for the real estate industry in South Africa. We saw the large-scale adoption of digital technology and a collective pursuit of innovation across the sector,” says Sewraj. “Coming out of the pandemic into a completely different property trading environment, any valid reasons for resisting the digital revolution dissipated.”

With everything an agent needs now on their mobile phone at their fingertips, digital integration has become a way of life and an invaluable asset to the sector.

Seamless solutions in a single digital platform

Like most industries, real estate adopted digital tools as and when they became available, with each solution addressing a particular need. Having to navigate a software solution to manage the sales process, another to track a lead, and yet another for customer relationship management (CRM), made it impossible to enjoy the real benefits of working online. “This was no digital revolution with operations fractured and multiple systems being used haphazardly. Digital solutions should be a pleasure to use, designed around the user’s needs, eliminate mundane tasks and improve the whole work experience,” says Sewraj.

TVA understands that it has the highest adoption rate among agents which it ascribes to the company’s sharp focus on the real estate sector and its purpose-driven motivation to service all real estate agents’ needs in a single platform. With a powerful data and CRM package, TVA streamlines processes, elevates efficiencies and keeps track of documents, reminders and notes. “We listen to what estate agents want, and build a solution,” says Sewraj. “A good example of this is our Deal Tracker, launched last year. In a single view, agents get an interactive snapshot of all their listings and the status of those deals on an eight-stage tracker.”

TVA also makes the tough task of canvassing easier by providing qualified access to data. Working smarter, armed with insights and customised property reports, agents have a higher success rate and go into negotiations well-informed.

Mass mailouts, birthday reminders, sale anniversaries – all those important but time-consuming touchpoints can be managed by TVA’s integrated CRM package. “There’s no need for agents to sweat over these types of repetitive, data-driven tasks. All they need to do is provide the system with accurate information, employ their marketing and creative skills, and the digital platform takes care of the rest.” Nurturing relationships has never been easier.

Another reason behind the digital platform’s popularity is its ability to customise any aspect of the software. “With an in-house team of developers and data scientists, we can quickly adapt to changes, regardless of where they emanate – be it a request from a client, or a change in legislation. Our solutions might be complex, but we will always translate them into a simple, intuitive user-friendly interface.”

Growth and expansion

“As the leading provider of a customised digital service to South African real estate agents, we see 2023 as a year of opportunity,” says Sewraj. “In terms of product development, we will be launching new features within the first quarter, and also plan to expand our footprint. There are very promising prospects in other African countries and we hope to be supporting those new clients in the new year. There is currently no service quite like ours in the United Kingdom and we are also exploring exciting prospects in that busy market,” says Sewraj.

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