26 November 2010
Housing market recovery in 2011 looks like being slow at best. Buyers are realising the strength of their position or are nervous about commitment – either way, this is resulting in uncertain sales that often fall through, which means that in 2011 agents will need to spend time working with sellers to help make properties stand out to buyers, more saleable and quicker to transact when they do find that illusive buyer.
2011 is set to be challenging for everyone associated with property transactions but the agents that create a strong identity with buyers by standing out from the rest will cope the best.
The question for 2011 is ‘what are buyers looking for from an agent when there are so many properties on the market to choose from?’ I believe the answer is ease, speed and certainty of buying the property they have selected from that agent.
Indeed, the OFT has said that there needs to be a shake-up in how homes are sold, leading to a better deal for house buyers and sellers. The OFT believes that innovation in the property sector, in particular through online services, could have a dramatic impact on the cost of buying and selling a home.
This is a sensible view when you consider the findings of the OFT Housing Market Review of November 2009, which showed that 42% of sellers in England and Wales said that their sale had been delayed and 25% of all sellers in England and Wales had experienced a sale falling through after they had accepted an offer on their home. The findings also showed that 43% of estate agents said solicitors were the most common cause of delays and 51% of consumers had experienced ‘serious problems’ with solicitors.
Consumers and estate agents (who after all only get paid when they successfully sell a property) are fighting against an archaic system desperately in need of modernisation which causes uncertainty, stress and extra costs.
However, John Fingleton, OFT Chief Executive, said: “In the present economic climate, it is more important than ever that people get a good deal when buying or selling a home.
“Encouraging new business models, online estate agents and private seller platforms could put useful competitive pressure on traditional models and lead to better value for buyers and sellers. We also encourage home sellers to negotiate hard on commission fees and consider using alternatives to traditional estate agents.”
These comments imply that traditional estate agency is a bad thing and I simply don’t agree. I believe that the best consumer experience, which can be defined as a fast, certain transaction that is cost effective, is delivered by a blend of traditional estate agency combined with new ways of improving communication and removing uncertainty and delays. I cannot see that by moving to online estate agency or private seller platforms gives consumers a better experience.
Looking forward to 2011, the need has never been greater for a solution to help pre-package properties for sale and ultimately give the housing market the much needed boost it so desperately needs.
Estate agents can call Clear on 0845 643 6164 to discuss the solutions further or visit www.clear-ltd.co.uk for more information.