The great news is that there are actions that agents can take in the lead-up to Christmas to improve their business in 2022.
PropTech for progression
PropTech proved its credentials during the pandemic, when it became so vitally important for the continued functioning of the industry. While things have opened up much more again, and things like virtual viewings have declined in importance somewhat, PropTech is still playing a hugely vital role in the day-to-day of agency.
The greater use of PropTech and automation can help enhance processes and remove those mundane, time-sapping tasks. It is not there to replace humans or human input, but to give people the gift of time to get on with the things that really help grow a business.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses came to this realisation as we were all forced to get the job done online.
PropTech enables agents to conduct business online, tenants and buyers to view properties online and appropriate documentation to be completed through a trustworthy online software.
The hiring of great staff
New technology and automated processes force businesses to hire great staff. This is because companies will no longer have to hire staff to perform time-consuming or repetitive tasks.
Instead, skilled workers can focus on more creative elements by putting their time and expertise into more important parts of the company.
Of course, the decision to implement technology should be planned and executed in a way that will benefit the company as well as its staff. When carried out properly, this means training staff to use it to its full capability, allowing the business to be pushed in a direction that promotes growth.
Fewer fall-throughs and a better buying and selling process
This is a big ask, of course, but it’s certainly something that needs looking at and improving in a big way. Far too many house sales collapse each year – conservative estimates suggest between 225,000-300,000 per year – causing untold stress, misery and financial complications.
One of the reasons for this is the laxer home buying and selling system that England has in place – where gazundering and gazumping are frowned upon but commonplace practices, and where it’s often too easy for people to withdraw from a house sale without enough of a disincentive to stop them from doing so.
Equally, reservation agreements or lock-in agreements – which help to tie buyers and sellers into a deal much earlier on, with compensation obligations for those who pull out – are the exception rather than the norm in the property market.
While plenty of good work is being done in the background, by the Home Buying and Selling Group (HBSG) in particular, the rate of progress and decisive action remains much too slow. If agents, buyers, sellers, conveyancers and other interested parties in the property sector could receive one present this Christmas, a better, more streamlined home buying and selling process would no doubt be top of their list.
Save time and money with part exchange and chain repair
For now, with fall-throughs much too high, it’s important that agents have a plan B or contingency option in place.
With this in mind, two more presents that agents should gift themselves to improve their business in 2022 are part exchange and chain repair.
Part-exchanging is a property purchase alternative that is renowned for sparking consumer satisfaction. The moving process can often take up too much time, causing buyers to pull out of a sale. Zoopla reports that leasehold sales typically take longer, as they have an eight to 10-week timeline for conveyancing alone.
Alternatively, part-exchanging a current home for a brand-new property can occur in a few weeks, assuming the developer agrees to buy your house.
Agents will also often seek to reduce the number of chains falling through to improve business and their bottom lines. Many sales often form part of a chain, and these are more liable to fall through since small issues can have a major impact. Once one part of the chain breaks down, this causes a domino effect leaving many people unhappy, disappointed and out of pocket.
However, a chain repair specialist firm can help prevent this by purchasing the property that is subject to falling through, stepping in when things are about to go wrong. The firm is there to act as a safety net that will get the property up and running if a chain collapses or a seller needs a guaranteed sale.
Agents must remember that they can improve what is in their control. The market has been a resilient one, but with next year's market expected to be a slightly weaker one and the chance that transaction numbers could dip, preparation is key.
2021 has taught us that time and flexibility are precious when it comes to the property industry. PropTech, hiring the right staff, part exchanging and chain repair can all help support a better business in 2022.
*Chris Hodgkinson is Managing Director of part exchange specialists HBB Solutions