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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Should agents restrict repeat viewings to combat rising petrol prices?

Agents are preparing their businesses for the cost of living crunch, with considerations on fuel use, heating and window display lighting.

Much of the focus of the cost of living crisis has, of course, been on how struggling households are being hit by rising energy bills as well as record fuel costs.

Rising inflation and increased bills are also influencing how estate agents are running their own businesses.

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Estate Agent Today is keen to hear how agents are adapting their businesses, particularly as high street branches don’t benefit from energy price caps to keep window displays lit and will be paying more to fill up a tank to drive to and from viewings due to high petrol prices.

We spoke to members of The Guild of Property Professionals about changes they were making to cope with rising costs.

Most will have already moved to low energy LED lighting for window displays, but there are other changes being considered to cut costs.

Philip Jackson, director of Birmingham-based Maguire Jackson, says: “The rising office costs have made us review the existing heating & the indulgences we have allowed several staff, with individual heaters being under some window side desks.

“Being city centre based, our contracts with the utility companies are being scrutinised like never before.

“The overall costs of estate agency are rising from staffing through to fuelling our fleet of cars. 

“This minute these costs aren’t being passed onto customers however I sense they will as the market is set for a period of rationalisation as many smaller high street agencies come out of the market with owner occupiers retiring or the returns not proving to be exciting enough to a younger audience.”

Fuel costs are also becoming a cause for concern, especially amid potential buyers asking for repeat viewings.

John Newhouse, managing director of Middlesbrough-based Roseberry Newhouse, says: “It would appear that the only thing not rising is estate agents fees.

“One of the bigger issues for both staff and business is the rising cost of fuel which appear not decrease with the same speed as they go up according to oil prices.

“We conduct accompanied viewings on the majority of properties and have more and more buyers wanting more revisits. 

“At some point this will need to be reviewed with regard to cost especially when agents act on a no sale no fee basis.”

Mick Money of  Wymondham-based Money Properties says the rising bills has provided an opportunity to look at all costs.

He adds: “We are turning the heating off every evening and all our lights are timed to go off at 10pm.

“We are looking into more energy efficient ways to heat and light our office. We are also trialling working from home on a more regular basis.

How are your branches coping with the cost of living crisis? Are you cutting car journeys, restricitng the number of viewings or even considering raising fees?

Contact marc@angelsmedia.co.uk to share your story.

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    The first thing to do might be to actually qualify buyers properly before simply agreeing to do viewings at all.
    The tendency for buyers to treat viewings as if they’re trying on clothes in a department store is and extraordinary waste of agents money, fuel crisis or not.

  • Richard Rawlings

    Is a desk heater really an “indulgence”? If agencies can’t afford to look after their staff to a decent level of comfort then perhaps they need to take a deep look at their business, as there are obviously wider issues to be considered.

  • Michael Day

    When covid first hit, many agents moved to carrying out accompanied virtual viewings as a first stage. Most have gone back to ”old ways” I expect many to realise they should have persisted and revert - productivity is the key to profitability.

    Of course, quality qualification of enquiries is key.

  • Where Is The  Monii Money

    Or go EV...

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    You cant see the house because I am saving petrol LOL

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    Repeat viewings are a sign that a property is under serious consideration. It's the initial viewings that are much more miss than hit so perhaps those thinking like James above should just abandon the initial viewings altogether and simply get straight to the second and third viewings. Of course this may be logistically (and indeed temporally) challenging but hey, it'll save a couple of quids' worth of petrol each time.

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    “It would appear that the only thing not rising is estate agents fees"
    With properties gaining the largest growth in many years, as a % of the selling price, does that not mean more commission for agents?

    Richard Rawlings

    In theory yes Paul but any decline in volumes would more than offset this. Additionally we are by far the cheapest agents in the world - any other sales related role is usually recognised by at least 15% of the eventual sale price. Whilst this would be unrealistic in residential sales most British agents completely undervalue the contribution they make to not only securing the best price the market will pay for a property but also ensuring that the deal goes through. Other agents around the world do not have a hassles we do but charge up to 10% or even more!

     
  • Samantha Sullivan

    You don't need an office for sales anyway. I can see the need for lettings for the keys, tradesmen, signing contracts etc but certainly not needed for sale, there's the first saving.

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