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Real-estate agencies in Brussels: the results of a study to evaluate professionalism

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A few weeks ago I announced on this blog that I started a small-scale study on real estate agencies in Brussels. One week after the launch the results were already catastrophic, the response rate being very low.

The method of the study was the following. I sent a detailed inquiry to the first 58 agencies (in terms of goods for sale) of Brussels, requiring that they send me their offers. I chose to inquire on purpose for an upper-tier priced building (priced at €1m), assuming that a higher sale price would be an incentive for real estate agents to answer more rapidly (their fee being a percentage of the price).

On the graphic below you can see the evolution of the response rate.

Out of the 58 inquiries I sent on day 1, I received a cumulative response rate of 12%.

I received 4 answers the first week, 2 of them being unqualified (meaning that the building proposed were not matching with my criteria), 1 was qualified, and 1 was a message to apologize that no building was available at that time which matched my criteria.

I received 2 more qualified answers on week 2, and surprisingly a answer on week 4. The latter was probably the most unusual of all since I didn’t include even a note, just an attached pdf file depicting a building which was at the complete opposite of what I was looking for.

My take:

Real-estate agencies in Brussels are far from being professional and depict practices which are very amateur-tainted. My little study revealed a response rate of 12%, which means that 88% of real-estate agencies didn’t even make the effort to answer (remember here what the criteria to judge service quality are).

Not only do they fail to answer enquiries but they also fail to return calls or even answer the phone. Real-estate agents seems to completely misunderstand how best practices could enhance their credibility and financial results and browsing a catalogue of real-estate ads gives another look into their amateurism. The vast majority of pictures depicted in the ads are taken without any understanding of how to hook the customer which results most of the time in poor view or even unsharp pictures.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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