By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.


Jonathan Rolande: How agents can survive the 'new normal'

In his latest column, Jonathan Rolande, founder of House Buy Fast, explains how those working in the sector can beat the odds and boost their chances of survival. 

Even the biggest optimist would have to admit that things continue to look pretty bleak in the sector. 

I remain confident the market will stay resilient but a double-digit drop in house prices now looks highly likely. However, this week did bring a small ray of light in the shape of decreasing inflation. It’s a small win, but one we should be positive about. 


Right now I think there is one thing that binds anyone working in the sector - be it estate agents, landlords, developers or letting specialists. And it is this: we should all be taking time to step outside our day-to-day businesses and look objectively at how we are operating.

Anybody who deals with estate agents knows that contrary to the popular myth, they work hard for their commissions, often fronting huge costs and offering a service that’s free-to-use until a sale is complete. In many cases this is often months down the line. 

They support local charities and community projects, their offices are usually amongst the most well-kept on the High Street and as we all know, when they go out after work they support the local bars and restaurants like few other professions. 

But odds are, there are going to be casualties over the Autumn and Winter. Under performing branches will shut. There will be redundancies. We’ll lose some experienced and well regarded colleagues who don’t have another bad market in them and choose to retire. 

However this is nothing new. Markets change and we have to change with it. What's happening right now won’t be an extinction event but it is a chance for us to evolve. It is a chance for us to adapt and to come out into the reinvigorated market - whenever that may be - stronger and with fewer competitors. 

For now it’s all about survival. 

Spend less than you earn. Question every bill. Look at your costs.  Staff are likely to be your highest cost. Whatever they earn, add 25%+ for NI and holidays. Ask, are they committed to getting through this with you? If not, you  may need to make a difficult choice. .

Review your portals. We live in fear of that monthly bill. Analyse it. Just how many leads does each bring? Do they convert? Portals can often cost the same as a monthly salary.  Is it the best use of money?

Leafleting and all paper marketing is another area that needs to be looked at. Assess the results. Don’t do it  for vanity or market share. Let the competition waste their money. Spend yours where it counts. 

Subscriptions are another area you can save money. Check for web subscriptions you don’t use. If you do need them, try to negotiate. 

Utilities will be draining your funds as well. Check you are not paying a sucker rate between contracts. 

\Mail is another area where you can save money. Stamps are £1.10 each. Are they giving value? Can you use email, WhatsApp? Texts? Anything but post. 

Analysis of online spend is essential too. Your PPC clicks might just be competitors. How many sales has PPC given you? My guess is less than you think. 

Also think carefully about how you can leverage new income. 

Can you increase fees? 

Social media is a cheap investment too. It impresses clients. It makes sales. Embrace it. 

If you’re not into lettings, you haven’t missed the boat. Start today, it’s small money but regular. You might need it.  

Look at how you are adding value. What are you better than compared to competitors? Make it known. Be loud and clear. 

It’s time to forget what we knew about the market, the new normal is here for a while to come. 

Let’s beat the odds. 


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up