If 2020 was the year of survival, then 2021 was about the post-Covid boom. The impact of the pandemic on the property sector continues to be felt, but only with regards to the fight for stock. Fewer properties on the market mean that the space is as competitive as ever.
What the year ahead represents, therefore, is a series of unique challenges which can only be overcome with creative thinking and an understanding of how the landscape has shifted. It’s now more important than ever that landlords, letting agents, and tenants alike know how to mediate the challenges of short supply.
The reality is that landlords are continuing to leave the market. Some cite over-regulation from the top whilst others are struggling to keep up with the costs and stagnant impact of the eviction bans. Increased notice periods have had a big impact on letting agents and landlords.
The lack of rental income, plus the risk of additional property damage, will have put a financial burden on many, with the additional pain of the eviction stall meaning it is taking much longer than normal to get things back in order.
As a result, landlords who have endured the pandemic are understandably expecting more from their agents, whilst those same agents are having to deal with fewer people to win new business from.
And with fewer landlords in the market comes fewer properties. The lack of stock has caused prices to surge making the entire renting process more expensive for everybody. Agents are under increasing pressure to find new revenue streams for their landlords whilst also taking into account the costs for tenants.
Stimulating growth by embracing new technology can be incredibly valuable. Property technology is not only driving efficiencies, but it’s also presenting opportunities to find new revenue streams via integrated service packages, home move assistants and insurance offerings.
These are new ways for agents to earn a consistent additional commission, whilst improving the experience for their tenants and landlords with increasingly high expectations. With tenant fees long gone and new regulations constantly evolving, having an understanding of how to secure additional revenue is essential to succeeding this year, as is optimising the use of staff and reducing overheads by adapting to new technology.
There are also important decisions to be made around staff well-being, remote working and how to prioritise the split between physical and digital presence.
Modernising the way in which agents are noticed by the ever-growing pool of millennial landlords and renters is also equally as important. Embracing new platforms such as TikTok and Instagram can be a great way to communicate brand messaging and the ethos of the agent, keeping companies consistently visible and front of mind in an ever-changing and competitive space.
Encouraging landlords to write positive reviews in places where prospective new customers will see them is also a smart move, from Google Reviews to TrustPilot. Agents can do this by routinely asking landlords to write up their experience at the end of each completed rental process. This can be a handy way to keep an eye on how to strategically improve customer service whilst being seen to be proactively wanting to deliver the best service possible to new clients.
Whilst 2022 will continue to present challenges to overcome, the evolution of smart technologies will equip us to deal with the most immediate obstacles we face this year, whilst future-proofing the security and efficiency of property-based businesses for years to come.
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