Technology influences every industry in today’s market, and real estate is no exception.
Winhan Wong, sales representative for Sutton Group Associates Realty and creator of CondoFishing.com, believes that younger realtors can use their knowledge of technology to gain an upper hand.
“In the City of Toronto, there are over 25,000 realtors and I believe the average age is over 50,” he said. “For me, I’m trying to target people that are recent graduates of university or young professionals, because I’m at that age too.”
His website, CondoFishing.com, is not your typical realtor’s site. It is a free online forum for people who live in, or are interested in condominiums. Visitors can select their area by clicking on a map. They are then taken to their area’s forum, where they can discuss their condo with other tenants or potential buyers.
People can act as their condo spokesman and even post classified ads, private sales or parking spots for rent.
“My initial thought, when I built the site, was to replace the bulletin board,” Wong said, referring to the information boards located in lobbies of most condominiums.
With Internet access settling into so many homeowners’ suites, the website offers the convenience of posting a note on the bulletin board without having to find the property manager and wait for him to complete the task.
Another feature of the website is a section entitled “Ask ‘Win’ the Realtor a Question.” It allows visitors to ask the questions they may not feel comfortable asking in person, protected by the unanimity of the Internet.
“I think in terms of what I’m doing, in terms of websites, it differentiates me between other real estate agents,” Wong said. “It’s more interactive, it’s more of a unique website that other real estate agents don’t have.”
He believes that technology has given a lot of the younger, less experienced realtors the opportunity to compete against the older veterans in the industry.
“About 80 per cent of my clients are first-time homebuyers,” he said. “So I deal with a lot of people that are fresh out of university or young professionals just because we’re at the same age, and I think a lot of them would rather deal with someone closer to their age.”