When it comes to the future of the property market in the wake of Covid-19, there are two main schools of thought.
The first predicts a housing boom, while the other warns that house prices are set to fall. Whichever viewpoint eventually proves to be correct, estate agents’ services will be in demand.
There are already some positive signals coming from the market. The appetite for European properties from buyers outside the EU reached record highs in July as international travel began to resume and estate agents have seen a 'mini-boom' in demand since the gradual reopening of the UK housing market.
Meanwhile, more than half of wealthy Europeans in urban areas have reportedly been caused to consider selling up and buying homes in the countryside due to the pandemic. All of these statistics are clear signs the sector is seeing movement again.
However, with so many restrictions in place, it is now important for estate agents to take urgent action to alleviate any reluctance buyers and sellers may have to enter their offices to discuss potential property sales or enquire about properties on the market.
Using the right visual communications, it is possible to find innovative ways to engage and encourage customers to step through the door and reassure them that it is safe to buy or sell a property in the current climate.
In order to do this, estate agents will want to consider how they could benefit from having in-house capabilities for their signage/promotions, rather than sourcing from third-party suppliers.
So how can they get the most benefit from implementing such printing capabilities to create effective visual customer communications?
Building up customer confidence
The strategic placement of clear eye-catching signage in estate agents’ windows and on the exterior of their offices will play a vital role in attracting customers and starting conversations that will help to rebuild buyer confidence and get the property market going again.
Window stickers, posters, banners and backlit signage are a great way to notify customers that the office is open for business and to promote the ‘hot property of the week’.
Likewise, flyers and direct mailers can re-engage property investors and home buyers/renters who were looking to purchase or rent pre-lockdown.
By investing in a single printer, estate agents and property businesses can produce everything they could possibly need, from property layouts and specifications to luxurious brochures.
Whether it’s indoor or outdoor signage or direct mail, clear, consistent and visually stimulating communications will be critical in reconstructing the property market.
Investing in a ‘do-it-all’ printer that produces a wide range of applications cost-effectively on-demand and in professional quality, will help estate agents quickly produce new property information to send to potential buyers or promote on-site.
Getting safely back to business
Keeping a safe distance is one the most vital pieces of guidance when it comes to avoiding the spread of Covid-19. However, as estate agents begin to experience an increase in visitors as their offices get busier, it can be more challenging to source and implement signage that encourages social distancing quickly and easily.
Property businesses must position themselves to respond to industry changes and update their communications quickly. This means being able to create new signage as soon as the Covid-19 restrictions change.
Otherwise, the consequences may be another financial hit if they are unable to open as a business until the necessary signage can be provided. Much of this comes down to being able to print signage in-house as and when it is needed in order to keep the business agile, rather than having to face waiting for an order to arrive from a supplier.
Taking these pro-active measures will provide estate agents with the agility to respond to changing regulations and build the necessary confidence for customers to attract them into their offices again.
In these challenging times, it will be reassuring for the property market to thrive once again and already more "for sale" and "sold" signs are beginning to appear.
The ability to print a wide range of customer-facing collateral and signage quickly, easily, cost-effectively and on-demand will help estate agents rebuild the customer confidence necessary to make this happen.
*Javier Lopez is Industry Vertical General Manager of Business Development Transformation EMEA at OKI Europe Ltd