FocalAgent CEO Lee Wainwright was a guest panellist at the recent ICG webinar hosted by industry guru Chris Watkins, exploring the current state of the property market and asking agents the vital question, ‘Will you thrive or just survive?’.
After two years of extraordinary activity in the housing market the clouds are gathering, but it’s certainly not all doom and gloom and the next 18 months will present a clear opportunity for agents to separate themselves from the competition and build their market share.
A return to more normal conditions
It hasn’t felt like a normal property market for a long time and agents have rightly made hay while the sun shone, but this phase is now drawing to a close. It’s not all bad news though, with instruction levels still high compared to the historical norm and sellers keen to list their homes at the price peak.
“We’re no longer seeing 20 to 30 buyers for every property but that presents a chance for good agents who understand best practice to think about how they can differentiate their offer and seize the opportunity presented by shifting conditions,” said Lee. “We’ll see agents who are proactive grow bigger and faster than those who hold back – and that’s exciting.”
Building a consumer-friendly marketplace
Spending more time at home since the pandemic has made our homes more important to us and brought more emotion to the buying process. The narrative has changed from simply whether now is a good time to move financially, to finding a base that ticks all the boxes in a place where people really want to live and work long-term. This presents a chance for agents to demonstrate their deep understanding of their local area and really get to know customers.
Lee said: “Having a marketplace that is more buyer-friendly is a fantastic opportunity for agents to genuinely engage with buyers, build great relationships and make life better for the consumer in UK real estate.”
The reality is that today, most people won’t pick up the phone to an unknown number. ‘Hitting the phones’ is probably a less effective marketing technique than it once was, especially considering a video trailer or local market update straight to camera could reach thousands of people instantly on social media. This is where having professional photography, floor plans, 360 tours and video content really makes a difference, enabling agents to elevate their brand over the competition as well as sell and let homes quickly and for more money.
Tech at your fingertips
Estate agency is about moving people, so customer service is going to be paramount. There are many differences between now and other challenging market periods such as 2008 but one key differential is the vast amount of tech now available to agents, including the ability to outsource key functions such as marketing, photography, floorplans, social media and viewings. Freeing up the time of experienced and competent staff so they can thrive by adapting to market conditions and investing in relationships to grow their business, will be critical to success.
Click here to watch the full webinar.