The largest hurdle estate agents are up against today is in fact selling houses – an agency’s key activity. In this unique industry, many external factors can affect sales, including government policy. For example, the key buy-to-let market was almost destroyed overnight following the introduction of a higher rate of Stamp Duty for second homes.
Other barriers are in place affecting sales. Today more estate agents are active than in the early 2000s boom years, but there is less movement of housing stock. The statistics are sobering. Only 4.5 per cent of properties in the UK were bought and sold in 2017 – read more about the slowdown here: https://www.ft.com/content/39b612ba-72a1-11e7-aca6-c6bd07df1a3c. In addition, people move less. Typically, home owners now move around every 16 years, compared to seven fairly recently.
Fewer Customers on the Ladder
There are other factors creating adverse conditions in the industry. Many of today’s generation of young people aren’t wealthy enough to get on the property ladder, and upwardly mobile ‘second steppers’ seeking the next rung on the ladder have become scarce, spending money instead on home improvements, holidays and cars to avoid a big outlay on an expensive property.
With fewer listings and more competition, this means there are fewer homes for the typical estate agent to market.
How Agents Can Succeed
However, it is not all negative. Agents who offer a unique or quirky service can succeed. For example, the innovative Purple Bricks, which charges a fee from the outset, has seen a lot of interest and activity. One agent up-ended his window display by showing listings upside down to see what the reaction would be. Just one extra sale generated by such a gimmick would be worthwhile. Another agent created an Advent calendar on Facebook which dispensed small gifts to the agency’s listings in the period before Christmas.
Agents should make the most of review websites, which can reinforce claims to be the best in an area. Customer reviews will enhance an agent’s image and promote trust in potential customers. Notable Estate Agents Bath based include https://www.pritchards-bath.co.uk/.
In these lean times it is important to stand out from the crowd. Take risks and don’t be afraid to be different. Base your strategy on in-depth knowledge of your business, location and demographic to be a winner.