29 Jun Estate agents expect big industry changes
In the wake of enforced inactivity due to lockdown, many estate agents are looking at redundancy and job changes while there has been an increase in self-employed agents and more online activity.
Research by recruitment agent Rayner Personnel, reveals two-thirds of UK estate agents are considering changing roles following the pandemic. Many are considering jobs that are self-employed or let them work from home.
According to the study, those who are most concerned about job security are valuers. This could be down to the increased reliance on technology during lockdown to fulfil this role. Agents working for online estate agencies, more than 80%, were also worried about their employment future.
Many estate agents are still closed
Property Industry Eye ran a survey as the housing market reopened in May and found that two-thirds of estate agents anticipated their offices would be open again by June.
Last week, they ran another short survey and found over three quarters are fully or partially open, but less than half of offices are fully open. A third of agencies are operating on a prior appointment basis while one in ten is open for reduced hours. But one in ten offices is still closed.
The impact of lockdown on income
Inevitably, the whole industry has been hit hard by the impact of coronavirus and the countrywide lockdown.
Comparison website GetAgent analysed the average fee charged by estate agents and the total potential value of residential transactions.
In financial year 2015-2016, the average estate agent charged a 1.3% fee plus VAT. This equated to £2,622 on the average house price of £201,695. Five years on and the average fee has fallen to 1.25% plus VAT. But the average house price has risen to £231,906.
Therefore, income from each transaction for the average agent has risen by 10.6% to £2,899, not including VAT. But with an 11.8% fall in transactions compared to previous years, this has resulted in a shortfall in fees of around £86.4m across the industry.
A self-employed business model
Many agencies are investigating the possibility of operating a self-employed estate agent business model. And they seem to be looking for new recruits with no prior estate agency experience.
Ideal candidates should be organised and outgoing and enjoy meeting and helping people.
David Brierley, who bought easyProperty from the owners of Fine & Country and the Guild of Property Professionals last year, says around 25% of his current representatives are non-agents. He commented: “They come with no baggage, they’ve got no preconceived ideas, they’ve got no nasty habits left over from the traditional route.”
However, there are many variations on how a self-employed estate agents’ model can work with big differences in potential income and benefits from different companies. There’s also the question of whether your agents can work with other firms in the property sector at the same time as acting as an agent for your company.
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