Bricks And Mortar Still Vital Commercial Tool

Embracing technology has been inevitable during recent times, as estate agents have taken to conducting more online valuations, encouraging sellers to provide virtual tours and utilising other methods in an attempt to keep the property market moving.

Although working from home may have its advantages, 80% of estate agents have revealed that having an office to work from is a vital aspect to their business. An office, which once lockdown measures are reduced or removed completely, they will return to with fervour.

The Guild of Property Professionals surveyed its members recently, to see what their thoughts were when it came to re-opening their physical offices once lockdown restrictions eased or what different methods of working would they consider.

Iain McKenzie, CEO of the Guild said:

“While most said that their office environment would need to be set up differently to ensure social distancing restrictions and health guidelines were adhered to, the majority were hoping to return to their offices and keep their agency model as it was.

“Although websites, portals, social media, and more recently virtual viewing and valuation tools, are key elements to the estate agency, many still feel that a physical office presence and being able to interact with the public will remain a large part of their business going forward, even with social distancing measures in place.

“While the sector has quickly adapted to using technology and virtual tools, something that may have been considered a gimmick a mere few month ago, the reality is that estate agency will always be a people business.”

The views of the Guild’s members isn’t surprising, especially as many high street agents are the backbone of their local community especially in the local property market. And many agents believe that having a physical office in the high street helps to continue to promote their brand as opposed to working remotely at home.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in agents thinking slightly differently, and potentially considering alternate ways of working, which could include agents working remotely.

Iain McKenzie, added:

“While most of our network regard a physical office as important, it seems that many are open to change as things progress and the market settles into a new post-COVID-19 normal.

“Around 53% of members said that they would have fewer desks in their offices, with approximately a third saying they would enable some of their employees to work remotely on a permanent basis.

“If the last few months has taught us anything, it is that agents need to be adaptable, ready to innovate and of course resilient.

Safety is still first and foremost in people’s minds, as no-one wants to help contribute to a possible second wave of coronavirus sweeping the nation.

Iain McKenzie said:

“It is vital that all sectors returning to work to do so safely.

“Following Government guidance, we’ve worked closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to develop the six-point guide for estate and lettings agents returning to work.

“Our number one priority is ensuring that our members adhere to Government advice and can provide a safe environment for all concerned while they carry out their business.

“By working together and following some simple yet essential steps, we can all help keep each other safe while getting people moving.”

With rumours of lockdown said to ease, do you think estate agents will be prepared to go back to their high street office if they’re allowed to do so?

Today's Conveyancer