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‘Reimagining the high street’ how can estate agents differentiate?

by LLP Reporter
13th Jun 19 10:20 am

Estate agencies can differentiate their brand in a competitive market by reimagining their high street offerings and positioning themselves as ‘residential property experts’, according to Sava.

They can do this by providing a holistic range of services aimed at anyone thinking of buying, selling, adapting, improving or managing residential property, says the firm, which provides surveying and valuation qualifications for the property industry.

Agents must build additional services into their offerings

Lower average commission fees and government regulation such as the Tenant Fees Act are combining to squeeze agents’ incomes. This means that providing additional revenue generating services has become a crucial factor in the long-term survival of agents up and down the country.

The marketplace is also incredibly competitive, with many agencies offering the same services and promoting similar messaging. This makes it difficult for consumers to choose which firm to instruct.

Therefore, providing a more comprehensive range of property services could help agencies to grab the attention of potential clients and win more instructions.

For example, using additional in-depth knowledge gained through qualifications, agents can build new revenue-generating services, such as condition surveys or valuation reports, into their product offering.

Austin Baggett, managing director of Sava said, “Forget ‘Local Property Experts’, it’s time for agents to become ‘residential property experts’ and provide a wide range of professional services to their clients.

“Most sellers are buyers too and may be looking for a survey or valuation. You can also target anyone in a chain with your additional products, knowledge and advice.

“Agents can thrive by building long-term relationships with their clients and being considered the local community’s property expert of choice.

“By providing valuable advice on anything to do with property, from traditional buying and selling to key structural or building information, agents can create more opportunities for themselves, making the market seem less crowded.”

Knowledge is key to brand evolution

Two things an agency can do to differentiate their business and increase their income is improve their property knowledge and gain industry-specific qualifications.

Coming across as more knowledgeable in front of clients could help agents to secure new instructions or take on repeat business.

Baggett said, “Having a certificate on the wall or letters after your name can be beneficial, but the real value from taking qualifications comes in knowing what you’re talking about and becoming a real industry expert.

“Property sales and the moving process can be complex and you’re often dealing with people’s most valuable asset; therefore, consumers need reassurance and advice from someone they can trust.

“By having a greater understanding of buildings and how they work can make you more interesting, versatile and help to build further confidence in your brand.”

Tim Crowe, owner of Crowes Estate Agents said,  “Sava’s surveying qualifications have certainly helped to increase confidence among our existing clientele. For something they would usually instruct a surveyor to do, they can now ask us to do it, which they prefer. This also helps to maintain our long-term client relationships.”

“Moreover, being able to offer surveys has created an income stream for our business and when it comes to valuations, having RICS accreditation distinguishes us and can help win instructions.”

Why do agents need to stand out?

In recent years, competition for business among estate agents has become increasingly fierce.

Not only have traditional agents had to battle it out with online operators charging low upfront fees, but all the data points to people moving home less frequently.

For example, according to Zoopla research, Brits currently move home every 23-years, compared to around every nine years in the late 1980s.

These factors, alongside political events such as Brexit unsettling the housing market, mean thousands of agents are competing for a reduced pool of new sellers each month.

Baggett said, “It’s certainly a challenging market out there due to a range of political, demographic and industry-specific factors, and with more estate agents than ever there’s less business to go around.

“That’s why it’s so important to differentiate your brand, giving consumers a solid range of reasons why they should work with you and not your competitors. On top of this, providing a comprehensive range of property services is the key to being successful in the current market.”

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