Warren Buffet famously once said:
“If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die”.
The world of Estate Agency is changing dramatically, much faster than it has ever changed before, the digital world is catching up with an ageing and stale business model that needs to adapt if it is to survive.
The major players in the industry have seen this; Countrywide, Connells and Savills, all either have their own online/hybrid offering or hold a significant investment in one.
High street agents are being forced to extend their opening hours far beyond the 9-5 norm with some even being reachable by phone up to fifteen hours a day in an attempt to win more valuations and book more viewings, just so that they can keep the wheels turning. The problem with this is that it costs the agent a substantial amount of money to do this every day.
Admittedly, the Great British Public are far busier than previous generations so extending opening hours does seem like a good idea on paper, but we now live in a world where we have any content or service we want at our fingertips and it’s accessible in either a few clicks or a few taps. Being constrained by opening hours is something that businesses can ill afford, especially those in an ever-decreasing market.
Step forward the hybrid model.
The hybrid model is not the online model. They are entirely different things. Online is what it is, we don’t need to go through that. But the hybrid model can be best described as an agent who provides multiple levels of service to suit varying customer needs.
The veterans of the industry will say that Estate Agency will always remain the same, it hasn’t changed in 30 years and it won’t change now but I must argue that they are wrong. They have seen the industry change more than most have but I think they all need to understand that Millennials and generation Z are gaining a foothold on the property ladder and their needs are not the same as Xennials.
Others believe that offering anything other than 1%-2% + VAT makes them look cheap or lessens their brand in some way. Quite the contrary, you will in fact open up an entirely new type of customer for your business. A customer that is happy to do a lot of the work themselves, who just want their property marketed by you and nothing more.
You shouldn’t be afraid to admit that the industry is changing and please do not pass up what is a great opportunity to embrace change. Allowing your buyers and vendors access to communicate feedback, offers, book viewings and valuations all online 24 hours a day is just smart business sense, and it isn’t anything you should be worried about adopting.