2014 agent or 2018?
- is it birth of a new breed of estate agent…
2018, so far, has been a rather strange year from a market point of view, I personally, don’t feel the market has changed.
Prices are still slightly higher than they were 3 months ago, and again 3 months before that.
But what has changed is the Agents.
Something that hit home recently is two agents within the same town closing down. Something that just proves to me, that if you’re not at the top of your game, giving it everything you can, you could be next.
The way agents are now is different. In 2013-2015 it was an easy market. You could put a 3-bed semi on at £325,000 and it would go NUTS! Within 24 hours you would have people cueing up to make appointments, people were calling all day to book in and see it, open days with 15-20 people were normal.
It didn’t take any skill as an agent during that time, after all you simply needed to answer a phone and open a door…. the marketing didn’t have to be great, the pictures were ‘average’ at best…. But as an agent, you knew. Putting a property on Rightmove it WOULD sell.
Then in 2016 it began getting slightly tougher. That 3-bed semi at £325,000 is now £350,000. And there were more of them. So many more. Meaning as an agent you needed to find ways to make yours look better than everyone else’s.
Then 2017. The phones were somewhat quieter. Open days stopped having 20 people and now have 10, BUT things were still selling.
- even quieter. Open days now have 3 or 4 people.
But the only that HAS changed is the marketing. Agents now have to work a lot smarter, concentrating on other avenues of marketing, ensuring the photography is up to its best possible standard and not settling of anything that isn’t perfect. The description has to stop being the usual DIY shopping list of “smooth ceiling, window, radiator, skirting, and the dog” and now have to tell a story.. marketing has to be smarter but personal while making sure you get as much exposure as possible.
Pricing has had to be smarter… there has to be a Plan A, B, C and D. there has to be a strategy for everything.
The agent who started in the industry in 2014 who has spent two years just answering the phone now has to work far harder then they have ever known.
The valuer who was working 11-hour days because they had valuations coming out of their ears, is now found in the office. Prospecting.
So there is no getting round the fact, the market IS TOUGH! …. BUT things are selling. The agent who works smarter, ensures everything it up to a high standard, has that plan A, B, C, D and a strategy for everything is winning.
The agent who is embraces social marketing is now finding new avenues of advertising, the agent who is always staying on top of your property listings to ensure you are the most attractive out of your competition AND is getting the viewings.
Negotiation is harder, in 2013-15 you didn’t have to negotiate, if a person wanted to get the property they would need to offer asking or above to get it. Purely because if they didn’t, someone else would.
Now negotiation is an art, those who are great at is are getting the best prices, those who aren’t strong and experienced with negotiation are finding it hard with many offers not getting to a position of agreeing a sale.
Me, personally, I love this market. Its tough but it means as an agent you have to work hard, work smart, find each challenge and find a solution. The whole set up has changed. Ive never enjoyed my job so much as I do now.
Will you find me in a three-piece suit? No. will you find leaflets through your door from us? No. will you hear me say things like mailing list and “we have London buyers”? No.
Why not? Well its simply, that stuff doesn’t work. It may have done before but then again so did newspapers. I can do the job I love and be myself. I know what I can do, what I can deliver, and I find people understand that. I don’t need to put an ‘estate agent’ act on, I don’t need to pretend to know everything about everything, I go in, tell people who I am, what I do, how I do it and why I do it. That way people know what to expect, because, when I leave, they know me.
I met with a vendor yesterday to give them an update on where we are at. Where did I meet them? Costa. That’s right, Costa coffee. So, we had a meeting to discuss marketing in a popular busy, Coffee shop, and do you know what, it was great. Never in my career have I been able to do that.
So, my point?…
The market it tough, but there are already some casualties of a tough market. Those not up to scratch are having to take drastic measures. BUT who would of known they were going? Nobody. Which shows you don’t know who is about to go.
So when picking an agent, you need to be looking at their performance, be looking at their tactics, be working out their methods, finding out their strategy, their plan A, B and C’s. and seeing if they are still in the comfortable 2014 zone, or if they have developed and improved year on year on year.
So the question is for you, as a homeowner. Do you want to sell your home using an agent with a 2014 mindset? Or a 2018 one? …. Because I promise you, there is a difference.