What’s the future for the estate agent?

By Christopher Hall, of the Norwich & District Association of Estate Agents

My view is that go ahead, forward thinking agents should be listening to their discerning clientele where top of their list nowadays seem to be transparency, approachability, a willingness to listen, understand and respond, consideration of their daily routines, empathy with their situations and an understanding of their reasons for moving. Whatever, my view is that the home buying a selling process is going to drastically change over the next decade. The portals are at war between themselves fighting for agents listings and now turning to heavy tv advertising to win or keep listings. In my opinion this will continue until there is a central property database similar to the US MLS (muti listing system) where agents are willing to share. Undoubtedly home buyers do need protection from those who abuse and provide incorrect property information and both private sellers and bad agents have to be policed to provide information and conform to the Estate Agents Act, the property Misdescription’s Act, the Money Laundering Act and Data Protection, and be members of the Ombudsman’s Scheme where redress is offered and to offer PII and client money protection. Until there is full compliance and those that supply false information come under the same restraints as agents then the market can only be as solid as its weakest foundations. In time, I guess agents will be licensed, but hopefully for

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the right reasons.

Tomorrow’s agent will still match by price, beds, type and location, but of growing importance is lifestyle. They must also appreciate that there are now more media platforms than just newspapers, local magazines, the web, radio and TV. As such the agent needs to see who their target audience is, how and where they live and what media channels best tap in and what agent message is then given to attract what result. They may be office based, work from home, alone, with others, the choice is theirs, but for sure the web has created a new window for agents, a window of opportunity, as such we will also notice the agents with a better presence will still win the trade.

The future of agency will require agents have more facts in front of them, as to answer and match qualified buyers to listings. Information such as searches, past survey reports, subsequent guaranties, repairs, planning, things that today take time and extra effort, one day will be answered and in place before the listing even comes to market.

Christopher Hall can be contacted at ch@chris-hall.co.uk

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