Estate agents quitting companies and setting up on their own will prosper only by tapping into the most appropriate level of PropTech, it has been suggested.
In recent weeks Estate Agent Today has reported on a growing number of agents apparently moving to the self employed model with companies like Keller Williams UK, eXp UK, Harding Green and others: earlier this week, consultancy TwentyCi suggested some 339 High Street branches - 2.6 per cent of the total - closed in 2020.
Now software company Rex says slick PropTech can save staff costs and drive more instructions for agents going it alone.
"If an agency has downsized, it can certainly use automation to augment its staff and continue operating with a lower headcount" according to Rex chief executive Anton Babkov.
For example, automating the creation of lists for follow-up activities can help agents to build long-term relationships with their clients by reminding them when to reach out and providing a template of exactly what to send.
But he warns that automation for the sake of automation is to be avoided.
“It is possible to over-automate, and remove the potential for important agent-applicant and agent-vendor exchanges" adds Babkov, who says a prime example of this is removing agents from the viewing booking process, which eliminates the potential to discuss a buyer’s property goals and needs - an extremely valuable part of the process.
Moreover, removing the ability for agents to personally provide vendor feedback is another example of over-automation which dilutes the role of an agent and reduces the ability to maintain a productive relationship with clients.
Most effective for fledgling self-employed agents, he suggests, is securing the best CRM with an emphasis on automation; having PropTech to provide buyers with a list of properties that match their interests, as well as notifying them when a new property which meets their specific requirements goes live, is also a positive.
"One of the main priorities for self-employed agents and those just starting out will be keeping as much money in their back pocket as possible. Using a CRM which facilitates effective automation can keep staff costs down while agents build their portfolio of clients and book of properties” he concludes.