During these unprecedented times, there is a great deal of uncertainty for the property market making it incredibly challenging to plan for the future, so what’s next for estate agency? Emma Vigus, Sam Hunter, and Hannah Stringer and share their views on what the future holds for agents.
Emma Vigus, Managing Director, mio
“To effectively and quickly progress stuck transactions, Agents are going to have to collaborate more effectively with the other parties to a transaction – Conveyancers, Valuers and Mortgage Brokers. For example, it’s no good having a deal ready to go if the Surveyor can’t carry out a Mortgage Valuation. I hope this leads to a long-term change in behaviour across the residential property industry where parties work together rather than continuously blaming each other for delays.
The mio chain view which incorporates milestone updates from Buyers and Sellers, Agents, Conveyancers, Mortgage Brokers and Surveyors to give a clear picture of the status of each transaction in a chain, will be critical to helping all parties understand what’s happening and where to focus their efforts.
Focusing time where it’s most likely to generate income is going to be critical to survival so I think we’ll see the best agents undertaking a really robust evaluation of properties before they list to ensure they are taking on instructions that will complete as quickly as possible. I think that’s likely to lead some Agents to recognise the value of more up-front information which will, in turn, enable agents to better qualify buyers who should be more informed about the properties they are interested in. In similarity to collaboration I think this will lead to a long-term change in the way Agents manage their pipeline with more focus on certainty of income rather than volume of listings”.
Sam Hunter, Homesearch
“The future of estate agency is about being connected with all the people in your patch and knowing exactly what they want and when they want it. Independent, corporate, high street, online, hybrid, associate, self-employed? It really doesn’t matter.
As technology starts to play more of a role in an agent’s day to day activities, one thing remains (and will always remain) true: great estate agents are professionals who understand their clients and value long-term relationships.
Forget high street and remember high service.
Estate agency is a remarkably competitive industry. That’s unlikely to change even with the death of the .5% agent (they may survive the lock down, but they won’t see the year out).
It’s the world class agents who put service at the top of their strategy and are skilled (and care) enough to adapt the service they offer to meet the individual requirements of each and every one of their clients that will thrive as we make our way into the new-normal.
What the best agents have always known is now clear to those who merely tried to do business on fee alone – no lead generation tool, no portal, no marketing material will ever truly compete with an agent who has the relationship with their client.
The race to the bottom is over. Covid-19 saw to that. True estate agency is a skill, not a commodity; and the future is bright.”
Hannah Stringer, Moneypenny
“The property market has reopened for business and many estate agents are beginning to unfurlough staff and ready themselves for a new normal. However, the reality is that the sector’s future looks very different and there are some key considerations for agents to make if they’re to continue to thrive.
Call volumes are recovering, as the public turns to the phone in a demonstration that people value human interaction more than ever. We can certainly expect this desire for meaningful human contact to remain, particularly when it comes to letting, buying and selling property.
Another symptom of living through a pandemic is impatience. People have been forced to put their lives on hold for months and as soon as the wheels of industry start turning again, they’ll want to act fast. The property market will bounce back as agents work to get stalled purchases over the line, find new homes where chains have collapsed and respond to new enquiries for homebuyers seeking more space.
As enquiry volumes increase, it will be vital for agents to have the resource in place to cope. That means answering every call and handling live chats around the clock. Being contactable is crucial to a fast recovery and it’s expected that more agencies will turn to trusted outsourced partners. By investing in extra support with service when clients need it most, savvy agents can focus their teams on more commercial matters and build a future of success.”
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