The Future of Estate Agency?
The new norm?
If we sat down today and invented a thing called estate agency, it’s fair to say we probably wouldn’t come up with a business that does pretty much everything for “free” in the hope that a small proportion of the people who use it, will ever pay for the service, assistance and help they receive.
So why do we as estate agents carry on in this fashion? Simple, we are creatures of habit and conservative in our thinking.
There are no doubts in my mind that the events of the past few weeks will drastically reshape our world, the property industry is poised for the kind of disruption it has never seen before and whilst things will undoubtedly rebound, the speed may not be sufficient to save many established companies. Those who have high, fixed costs including the cost of premises, layers of upper and middle management, salaries and car fleets appear the most vulnerable.
Against this backdrop, I genuinely believe change must come, in place of the old, and a new way of working and thinking will emerge, fuelled by changing consumer habits and necessity.
The majority of us now conduct our shopping online from the comfort of our sofa, the days of wandering along the high street have been numbered for some time and with the current pandemic forcing more and more people away from the traditional, my feeling is this paradigm shift is here to stay.
If you have ever tried booking a valuation or a viewing, it invariably involves multiple phone calls to offices and being passed around from negotiator to negotiator. In short, it’s pretty frustrating and often restricted to the hours of 9-6 in most cases. What if you could do these things from your own personal online dashboard and receive genuine transparency and information when and how you wanted it?
Umbrella relationships and self-employment
‘Going it alone’ and having your own name above the door has a romantic notion and the sense of “this is mine” is a huge ego boost. But in reality, the costs are restrictive; the risk is possibly too great; and it’s a lonely existence.
On the other hand, there is the option to be part of something already existing, and this basic human need is defined by Abraham Maslow in his hierarchy of needs.
Having balanced both scenarios, I believe the most effective solution is a partnership under the umbrella of a recognisable and trusted brand. The umbrella brand is responsible for supplying the infrastructure, including CRM system, marketing tools, social media set up, branding, mentoring, lead handling and sales progression.
The self-employed partner is responsible for the delivery of services within their own geographic area and most importantly building lasting relationships with their local community.
Experience has taught me the very best estate agents are social creatures, who thrive on interpersonal relationships and flounder when they are overloaded with mundane tasks. By utilising the very best tech available we can play to the strengths of our partners.
Better life/work balance?
The aftershocks of the pandemic will continue to live in our memories for a very long time, the things we once took for granted, such as social gatherings with family and friends, trips to the coffee shop, workouts at the gym, and a few tipples after work are likely to hold a very different value post pandemic.
The time we spend travelling into towns and city centres to the outdated place we called the branch/office, the grief of road congestion and fighting for an expensive parking space, not to mention the pollution it creates, will suddenly be questionable.
There is no doubt working from home is not for everyone and to combat this we have invested heavily in understanding the characteristics of those who are best suited to this type of role. From the outset in the recruitment cycle we are using world class psychometric tools to identify those with the right temperament, which leads to a greater chance of success.
Better earning potential
Over recent years many traditional operators on the high street have struggled to make ends meet and books are often balanced by reducing head count and salaries. This is achieved via shifting of commissions, bonuses and the introduction of higher benchmarks, meaning you must do more to effectively earn less.
The new agency models see partners typically receiving a higher proportion of the revenue generated and anywhere between 50 – 70% is normal within this self-employed sector.
A typical sale of an average priced house is often little more than £100 to the individual working in a traditional agency. Compare this to the £500+ per transaction within the new models and you can see how earnings ramp upwards very quickly.
Once upon a time we wandered into travel agents to discuss and book our summer holidays, weekend breaks and trips to far flung destinations. Today, we are doing these same things but all from the comfort of our sofa and a smart phone… Why should selling a home be any different?
If you’d like to join our team and start your easyProperty journey today get in touch, we’d love to hear from you work with us.
- Author Jason Bull Chief Operating Officer at easyProperty