Are you in the process of turning your estate agency franchise into a home-based business? Whether you intend to work remotely for good, or just counteract some of the pandemic’s challenges, there are plenty of ways to run a real estate business from home.
More and more lettings and sales transactions are being completed using digital solutions here in the UK. Between November 2019 and May 2020, the number of virtual tours on Rightmove lettings adverts increased by 179 percent. And ‘walk-through videos’ have been even more popular, with the number rising by 280 percent in the same period (Estate Agent Today).
Property technology - or proptech, as it’s called in the industry - was a growing market before the pandemic; but now it’s become essential to estate agency businesses. As more agents aim to stay at home, they’re increasingly turning to digital solutions to help people find their perfect property.
Working at an estate agency franchise
There are estate agencies covering every aspect of the industry, and businesses might specialise in residential, commercial or rural properties. Some franchises also prefer to focus on either lettings or sales.
As an employee in an estate agency franchise, you’ll probably have a number of different responsibilities. You might split your day between property viewings and admin tasks, communicating with sellers and landlords, as well as potential buyers and tenants. You might also be involved in:
- Writing property descriptions
- Valuing properties
- Negotiating prices on behalf of potential buyers
- Monitoring sales and lettings processes
- Researching the property industry and any new trends
Tips on how to run an estate agency franchise from home
1. Use online valuation tools
Taking advantage of an automated valuation model can be an effective time-saving technique. These systems take collected data to mathematically calculate the price of a property. Although you may be able to get a more accurate result by valuing a space in person, these models can provide useful insight.
The accuracy of online valuation tools (AVMs) will continue to improve, bringing automated estimates closer in-line with face-to-face valuations, empowering both sellers and buyers to make informed decisions more quickly.
— David Jacobs, Yopa Co-Founder
2. Gather data to boost your insight
Collecting information on individual property transactions can help you make smarter choices across your estate agency franchise. Certain technology platforms can store useful statistics, like how potential buyers are interacting with online adverts and how one property is performing in comparison with another. Armed with specific knowledge on how customers are behaving in the current climate, business owners can build on their existing strategies to better cater to demand.
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3. Consider targeted ads
Social media can offer fantastic benefits to estate agency franchises - and if you haven’t yet set up profiles on the major sites, you’re missing a trick. One way businesses can help make sure they reach their target audience is by using targeted ads on these social platforms.
Internet giants like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube show users adverts relevant to them. So, for instance, you could create marketing material for semi-detached homes near schools in Cambridge and send them out to local couples with young children.
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4. Introduce virtual viewings
When someone brings up remote real estate practices, the term ‘virtual viewings’ is probably the first thing to spring to mind. In fact, the phrase covers a whole range of different techniques, from basic image stitching and panoramas to high-tech virtual tours. Platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook Live and even Whatsapp can help you introduce people to a property.
Here are a few of the options available to you:
- Pre-recorded video walk-throughs - The estate agent or owner films their property as they walk through it, ideally describing its features as they go.
- Live video walk-throughs - The estate agent, owner and prospective buyers or tenants dial into a video conference. The owner films a live tour during the call and provides a commentary.
- Virtual tours created on specialist software - High-quality imagery is created, allowing potential buyers or tenants to explore the property online and get a good idea of its dimensions, features and character.
We rented out an apartment in East London using a virtual tour for a client based in Germany. The high-quality virtual tour and visual material we produced with Giraffe 360 enabled the client to have the confidence to take the property without seeing it in person.
— Matt Brooke, Area Manager, Madley Property in London
5. Invest in sales progression software
Once an offer is accepted, estate agency franchises can use handy sales progression software to monitor the whole process, from the very first form to final completion. Usually, all parties, including the buyers and sellers, have access to the portal, so they can keep track of changes and the next steps.
There are three key benefits of using sales progression software in an estate agency franchise:
- Employees can switch between properties and complete tasks quickly, as they’ll be able to see where the last person left off
- Updates are saved online, so you can make changes whenever you log in, whether you’re in the office or at home, on your work computer or on your mobile
- Buyers can sign forms and upload documents online without having to travel to their local estate agency business in person
The positive impact is already being felt by the customer – in both speed of sale and reduction in fall through rates.
— David Jacobs, Yopa Co-Founder
Join the estate agency franchise sector today
Becoming a franchisee with an estate agency franchise can be a great way to take control of your income whilst having the satisfaction of helping people find their dream homes. Browse our current investment opportunities to get started. As well as estate agency chains, we also have mortgage broker businesses on our books.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©