Strong relationships and innovation will be central to success this year

Estate agency veteran and FocalAgent CEO Lee Wainwright shares his thoughts on the market and highlights the two areas where agents can differentiate themselves from the competition during 2023.

Focus on buyers, as well as sellers

Lee said: “The challenges of buying a property were much greater last year than they are today. In 2022 there was fierce competition, with huge demand set against limited stock, meaning many buyers were forced to pay over the odds for a property that was less than perfect for their needs. In 2023 there’s more property for sale, less competition and repricing in the market.

“For agents, it’s about taking the time to really understand what people are looking for. It’s not just about finding a 3-bedroom home for a family with two kids. If the kids are 3 or 4 years old, that might mean being in a quiet cul-de-sac; if they’re 9/10 years old, good schools will be the top priority; if they’re teenagers, it might be side by side parking. Agents who put time and effort into building strong relationships with buyers, as well as focusing on winning instructions, will find it much easier to sew deals together.”

A return to normal

“The property market this new year feels very different but it’s actually a return to more normal conditions,” Lee added. “It was the post-pandemic property market that was unusual. I’m often asked if now is a good time to buy and whatever the market’s doing, my answer is always the same: ‘What’s your alternative?’

“Rents are at record highs and there’s a major stock shortage, so you have to think about the whole picture. What I love about estate agency is it’s a privilege to help people find that home which is right for them and their specific set of circumstances. What else do people buy that affects their lives to the same extent?”

Reaching a wider pool of buyers

“The most exciting development in estate agency this year will be the advance of short-form video and its use across social media, which provides a new environment for agents to win passive buyers. It’s the equivalent of flicking through the property pages of the local weekly freesheet a few years ago.

“Short, sharp, punchy videos popping up in the social media feed of people who aren’t actively searching the portals for a property, has the power to reach a whole new audience who don’t even know they’re looking. And there’s a big opportunity to win new instructions too, when those passive buyers are pulled into the funnel and decide to list their home, and you’ve already shown that you take property marketing seriously.

“At FocalAgent we’re excited to be trialling new video products, launching later this spring, to meet growing demand in the marketplace for short-form video. Early indications are very positive and I expect it to be a massive growth area.”

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