4 mins read

It goes without saying that now is a difficult time for the property market, particularly for those who work in the industry. Many agencies have taken the decision to furlough their employees, or to temporarily close until the market begins to thaw. Others are carrying on their work, as much as they can, from home.

There’s a lot of information about the financial support available that can help tide your business through this difficult period, but business health is more than just financial. We’ve looked at some of the other tools available to estate agents to help you weather the storm, and get prepared for the future beyond the lockdown.

Networks

Now more than ever is the time for collaboration and stock taking. With a reduction in market activity the focus is on supporting the property industry as a whole, rather than trying to one-up your main competitors; everyone is facing a harder time than normal.

Property transactions are a necessary part of our economy and it’s inevitable that they will resume after the lockdown has lifted. Our latest homeowner sentiment survey showed that 77% of homeowners were still intending to put their property on the market this year. But how we act in this period will have a genuine and lasting impact upon how the industry is viewed, and how we operate in the future.

It’s been amazing to see the way the industry has rallied together to support one another. With established and new groups of agents and service providers joining together to support each other and offer value to the community whilst our usual roles have been disturbed. Some notable mentions (but there are several more) include the ‘Agents Here to Help’ Movement, along with more established groups like Women in Residential Property, and the many estate agent organizations which undertake charity and community work across the UK.

These groups offer support, guidance, friendly faces, and an opportunity to further your business by staying visible among the property community, and by learning from them more about what the industry and consumers need.

If you’re not ready to join a formal network or group, reaching out to other people on a more informal basis can be a great way of staying in touch with the industry, and keeping the pandemic in perspective.

Virtual Tools

Perhaps the most obvious ‘support’ tools to mention are the virtual tools and technology now available to estate agents. Proptech was a huge industry even before the coronavirus lockdown, but the need to work from home has caused even the most reluctant adopters to experiment with virtual tools, and many advocates to see this as a turning point in the industry. This is a moment where the property industry can test which bits of technology work for them, and how effective they really are. As a result of the impact of coronavirus many proptech companies are offering their services free of charge, making this the ideal time to see what works well, and what doesn’t fit so well, for your business.

There are a number of options that could aid an estate agent in this climate. Virtual tours and online, cloud-based sales progression software, are just two examples of the valuable services available to agents looking to make progress with sales even from a distance.

Virtual tours vary from video tours, which can be taken on smartphones, to 3D photograph simulations, which require specialist equipment and training. Using enhanced visual footage of homes can help keep speculative buyers interested in the properties on your list, even if they’re not able to visit them in person. Being able to ‘tour’ homes from a distance allows potential buyers to shortlist properties they like the look of so that they are ready to act as soon as the market begins to move again.

Sales progression software can provide invaluable support for home sales that are already in process. These services allow your team to view a property’s progress through the entire sales journey, from offer to completion. This is particularly useful if during this period of remote working, members of your team have to take over properties they haven’t previously worked on. They’ll know exactly where to pick up, and what to do. And, because they are cloud based, there’s no interruption caused if you’re switching between working in the office to working at home (and back again - once the lockdown has ended). Some sales progression software also offers a consumer interface so that buyers and sellers are able to track the progress of the sale remotely too.

Here at GetAgent we’re also continuing to support our agents with data and statistics about their performance. We’ve launched a data-driven dashboard that tracks the property market on both a national and local level. It updates daily and follows the impact of coronavirus on the property industry with an objective eye. We hope this dashboard will support agents in their future planning efforts, and will provide some clarity at a time when the property industry is filled with predictions and pessimism.

Keep up to date with the latest government guidance on coronavirus and the housing market.

If you need any support or further information we are happy to help. Get in touch with us on: 020 3608 6556 or email: hello@getagent.co.uk