While the property market remained subdued during the final quarter of last year, positive aspects are emerging, such as mortgages rates beginning to stabilise, mortgage brokers and lenders starting to offer some good fixed-rate deals and many agents reporting good levels of activity during the initial weeks of the New Year. This is according to Kris Mclean, MD of The Guild of Property Professionals, who adds that while he believes 2023 will be a more challenging year for the sector, as it stands there is strong evidence that the housing market will be supported by sustained rates, with the swap rate now starting to narrow.
“Right now, the evidence suggests that we will start to see sustained stabilisation within the mortgage markets again, which should open up the market to more buyers and bolster the housing sector for a period. The market was turbulent during the last quarter of 2022, however, based on the numerous conversations I have had with our Members throughout the country, enquiries are picking up and agents are see good volumes of valuations booked in during these first weeks of the year,” says Mclean.
He adds that while the phones have started to ring again, agents will need to be proactive this year and do their bit to stimulate their marketplace. “Over the past while, high volumes of activity have meant that many agents haven’t needed to be as proactive in seeking business, however, in a challenging market such as the one we are currently facing, agents are going to need to proactively put measures and practices in place that will help them gain more business,” adds Mclean.
“There are two types of buyers in any market, namely active buyers, and passive buyers. As the name suggests, active buyers are those who are actively in the market and looking to purchase a home. They will be visiting portals, phoning estate agent offices, looking at social media posts and doing whatever they can to find the right property. However, in past markets, circa 20% of transactions were created by passive buyers, which are buyers that agents approach, engage with and arouse their interest in moving home. These are opportunities that agents create by stimulating their marketplace,” Mclean comments. “If agents do not have a plan to stimulate the passive marketplace in the local area, they are potentially missing out on the additional business they could be getting from this portion of market.”
According To Mclean, agents should be looking at aspects such as past market appraisals, which could be as far back as two years ago. “If agents haven’t done so already, they should be touching base with people who they may have done a market appraisal for in the past, asking if they would like an updated valuation or information of what is currently happening in their local property market. Guild Members have access to in-depth property market data and competitor analysis, which can be used to their advantage when speaking to potential vendors on appointments,” he adds.
Social media campaigns are another way to engage with potential clients. “A social media and digital marketing strategy is essential. For a relatively low budget, social media advertising can vastly increase exposure to your targeted audience, drive traffic to your website and generate leads, provided you tailor your content accordingly. Video content should be part of the strategy, as people are more inclined to show interest in video content than any other form of content digitally. According to statistics, 92% of users watching a video online will share it with others, which means it is an effective medium for driving traffic and increasing leads,” says Mclean.
Another thing to consider are properties that have been on the market with other agents where the transaction has fallen through. “Guild Members have access to an Auto Prospecting System that provides valuable data on fall throughs, as well as other potential trigger points when a vendor is most likely to be unhappy with their current agent. At these trigger points, the system will generate intelligent and targeted letters, each relating to the vendor’s individual situation and frustrations,” Mclean explains.
“Of course, there are also agents’ CRM systems with lists of applicants, so now is the ideal time to pick up the phone and talk to people. Rather than waiting for the phone to ring, spend some time going through lists and speaking to potential clients and applicants.”
Mclean says that to create the most potential opportunities within their local markets, agents should have a social media and digital marketing plan, a print marketing distribution plan, and an automated plan using proptech products designed to automatically prospect and distribute marketing material. “It is all about driving hits to your website, getting hits on your social media pages, and it’s all about making the phone ring, rather than waiting for it to ring. In today’s market, agents should accept that their first point of contact in most instances will be outbound,” he concludes.