It may seem a long time since normal trading took place but many agencies are now finding they are picking up leads and some deals despite the lockdown.
Midlands agency Centrick says it’s seen positive results in recent weeks thanks to what it calls its ‘digital-first’.
Since the lockdown began on March 23 it has edited and uploaded over 140 virtual viewings. All the viewings were filmed before restrictions were put in place and the agency says that it has since had the time to edit and release them.
The agency has also devised a contactless handover so that tenants can sign contracts digitally and collect keys without having to meet face-to-face.
"Despite lockdown restrictions prohibiting people from moving home unless it's absolutely essential, we are still seeing leads pour in thanks to the marketing campaigns we have in place. By providing services which allow consumers to engage with us while following social distancing rules - such as virtual viewings and instant online valuations - we have been able to find opportunities and keep the business ticking over” explains Andy Butts, Centrick’s group sales and lettings director.
The firm says its commitment to digital marketing has allowed it to continue generating leads, even though a large proportion of the market has been on hold for a number of weeks now.
For example, Centrick generated over 200 rental property leads over the Easter weekend alone. The agency has also continued to generate vendor and landlord leads through its ValPal instant online valuation tool. Many of these leads have come directly from Facebook ad campaigns, while it has also been promoting its hugely successful virtual viewings across social media platforms.
"Centrick is a model agency. It is adapting to a challenging market and still managing to interact with consumers while adhering to the government's lockdown rules," says Craig Vile, Director of The ValPal Network.
"The agency's results show that the market is still active and demonstrate why committing to digital marketing during this tricky period can be hugely beneficial. Encouraging consumers to carry out instant online valuations of their properties can help agents to keep consumers engaged in the moving process now and fill their sales funnel so they can hit the ground running when the market becomes more active in the coming months" says Vile.
The ValPal Network is a product of Angels Media, publisher of Estate Agent Today and other Today titles.
Meanwhile John Bray and Partners in Rock, north Cornwall, says it is still negotiating new sales and taking on new property.
“Last week we agreed a sale on a property with a guide price of £275,000. It was empty having recently been refurbished throughout … A local buyer viewed the particulars, and the video walk through, and entered into competitive bidding to secure the property above the guide price. Launch to agreed sale happened in just two days” explains John Bray partner Josephine Ashby.
“Another recent deal involved a brand-new property in North Cornwall. One of the buyers had seen the house, but the other hadn’t managed to visit prior to lockdown. They decided they were happy to proceed on the basis of a video walkthrough and the sale is progressing” she adds.
“Video walk-throughs are becoming common-place for vendors who aren’t happy to wait out the lockdown. Where property is vacant we are able to produce these videos safely, and serious buyers are often happy to buy without visiting the property in person.
“We are also using virtual staging for vacant properties to help buyers get an impression of what the property would look like furnished.”
Ashby says some vendors prefer to put their property on the market under the radar, appearing on the agency’s own website but not on the portals.
“Our web traffic is up 50 per cent since the lockdown, and 80 per cent of that figure is made up of new visitors. Telephone calls are dramatically reduced, but buyers and sellers who call are very serious. We have time to spend talking everything through in great detail.”