A survey suggests there’s no firm correlation between a traditional agency’s opening hours and its performance in selling property - and in fact it may be doing its clients a favour by opening less.
Data from comparison website GetAgent suggests that there is no obvious benefit for estate agents who stay open for longer.
It analysed the average opening times of agents in relation to the time it takes to sell a home subject to contract and found that those open for the least number of hours - between 41 and 60 hours a week - performing the best.
In details, of those agents open only up to 20 hours a week, the average opening time was 14.6 hours. These agents were only open on Saturday 33 per cent of the time, and never on Sunday.
However, the average time for a property to be listed as sold subject to contract was 158.7 days.
Meanwhile those that were open 80-plus hours a week, the average was 86.1 hours and they opened all Saturdays and Sundays.
Yet they only managed an average time from listing to sold subject to contract of 167 days - that’s 8.3 days slower than those with much shorter opening hours.
The reality of course was less clear cut and those ‘in between’ - opening from 21 to 40 hours a week - actually took longer still to get a property sold subject to contract, at 197.6 days on average.
“A lot has been made over longer opening hours, driven by a change in the industry due to online and hybrid competition. The perception is that if you’re open for longer you are able to provide better service due to a greater degree of accessibility. However, this simply isn’t the case and longer opening hours can actually have the opposite impact” explains Get Agent chief executive Colby Short.
“As always, it’s not the hours you are open, but the quality of the service you provide within those hours. All too often, an agent will open for longer, but this can lead to demotivated staff and a greater workload that can be detrimental in the long run. Particularly in this day and age technology can do a lot of the heavy lifting on a day to day basis and the smart agent is the one that incorporates this to work smarter, not harder, providing a better service in the process.”