Are the High streets still relevant? Do glitzy offices really entice people off the street or is it more beneficial for agents to work remotely? According to the most recent Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors monthly survey, agents are becoming increasingly gloomy about the state of the UK housing market. Falling buyer numbers and a drawing out of transaction times have triggered bleak outlooks for many high street outfits. While there are clearly broader economic factors at play, there is also another key question here and that’s whether the traditional agent business structure is to blame.
The end of high street agencies?
When consumers complain about agents, the most consistent issue (other than overuse of jargon) is often the costs involved. And this issue isn’t going away. In fact, the new breed of online and remote agents – such as Purple Bricks – have built entire advertising campaigns around the difference between traditional agents fees and the lower costs of agents not wedded to a high street office. There’s no doubt that with the overheads involved in a permanent office and a full time, on-site staff, it’s hard for traditional agencies to compete.
The new era of remote working
Remote and flexible working is a hot topic across every industry right now. Technology has revealed the potential for more agile business infrastructures that enable service standards to be increased while costs are streamlined. Plus, 53% of people feel that they would be more productive if they could work outside the office. So, flexible, remote working appears to be a win-win.
Why agents might benefit from remote working
- No office means no overheads so costs can be cut and reductions in fees passed on to consumers to make the business more competitive.
- Remote agents can deliver better customer service, travelling to meet buyers, sellers and developers rather than customers making the journey to a high street office.
- Agents working remotely can be more motivated, not just to find the most attractive properties but to make genuine buyer matches to ensure a sale.
- Technology keeps us all connected, from video calls and conference calls, to platforms such as Basecamp, which allow for easy remote team management even if you’re not under the same roof.
- Cloud based resources are perfectly designed to enable remote working, such as Nimbus Maps off-market site search and property intelligence platform, which puts data on ownership, planning and availability at your fingertips, wherever you are.
The property market in the UK is going through a time of change and for agents it’s crucial to keep up. Embracing the remote revolution could well be one way for the industry to evolve into a brighter, better future.
Have an opinion? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Tweet us @nimbusmaps.