In response to the British government cutting stamp duty until 31st March 2021, the UK property market has enjoyed a mini-boom. This activity has sparked new estate agent trends for 2021 and necessitated an adaption to digital technology to ensure efficiency during the pandemic.
Retaining customers and attracting potential buyers once the stamp duty holiday and pandemic ends is also critical. There will be a backlog of homebuyers and new interest amongst people no longer tied to an office or wanting to upscale after enduring lockdown in a small home. By keeping up with trends, estate agents can ensure they meet demand and increase their sales.
Here, we highlight 5 estate agent trends for 2021 to keep your business relevant, driven, and successful.
1. Immersive Virtual Property Tours
When buying a new property, a potential buyer wishes not just to see the property but experience the space and visualise themselves living there. Yet, with face-to-face contact significantly reduced and travelling beyond local areas restricted, allowing potential buyers to visit a property has been drastically compromised.
Estate agents have had to adapt quickly to succeed in this new environment and ensure buyers remain interested and informed. While in-person tours can continue in line with government regulations, amendments must be made for customers who feel uncomfortable meeting in person or cannot travel to property locations. As a result, virtual property tours have increased in popularity and will be one of the dominant estate agent trends for 2021.
Virtual property tours can take two forms: a 3D virtual tour and a live tour. Firstly, a 3D virtual tour uploaded to your website provides potential buyers with a fully immersive experience of available properties. 360-degree functionality makes this experience as close to reality as possible. Zoom in and out and measuring tool features can also be useful.
Secondly, live tours via video calling apps, such as Facetime or Zoom, between the estate agent at the property and the customer at home offer potential buyers the opportunity to experience a property from their own (virtual) perspective. Live tours also allow the potential buyer to ask the estate agent questions in real-time.
This trend is likely to continue post-pandemic. As society adapts to an increasingly digital environment, virtual tours will improve estate agent, seller, and buyer efficiency by providing immediate property access and cutting out timewasters. Virtual property tours have rapidly become a vital component of a successful estate agent.
2. Digital Property Displays In Your Estate Agent Window
Capturing the attention of passers-by is essential for estate agents in attracting potential buyers and selling properties. For years, light pockets (printed property cards in illuminated sleeves) have been relied upon in estate agent window displays to achieve this. Nonetheless, estate agents are increasingly turning to digital solutions to optimise their window display and stand out from competitors.
A bright screen in your window will turn the head of any passer-by. This attraction makes a well-designed digital property display the solution to excelling in this competitive market. Often compromised on print property cards, these screens display large, high-resolution images and property highlights, pulling in potential buyers. By exhibiting strong branding across your digital property display, passers-by will recognise and remember your estate agents.
Through using an automated digital property carousel, a digital property display presents multiple properties in one place on rotation. Through digital signage software, estate agents can link this screen to their property CRM and easily update information on available properties, improving business efficiency. Additionally, the data provided by CRM software, such as the time between a property advertisement and sale, can be used to refine business goals.
Digital property displays also increase customer accessibility. Using property QR codes and a call to action, such as “scan me for more information”, enables potential buyers to access property details with ease. Alternatively, a touch screen digital window display allows users to navigate interactive property catalogues. This gives potential buyers control over their sales experience and improves efficiency for passers-by with limited time.
Digital property displays are an estate agent trend sure to advance in 2021. To learn more about how estate agents are using digital signage, read our complete guide to digital estate agent window displays.
3. Estate Agent Social Media
The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled society into a digital revolution. As a result, the use of social media to promote and expand businesses has increased rapidly. By creating and maintaining an active presence on social media, potential buyers can easily access information and interact with your estate agents from anywhere.
Social media can be used in various ways by estate agents. It can advertise properties, promote events and open houses, provide contact information, and display testimonials. Facebook could provide a live tour or Q&A session and Instagram an online property gallery. Alternatively, Tiktok, a platform rising in popularity, could give video insights into new properties. These various posts will capture the attention of potential buyers online and enhance customer-business relationships.
By establishing accounts on multiple platforms, social media provides the opportunity to reach a new and larger audience. Utilising various platforms is crucial, as different platforms attract varying demographics. Knowing which platforms your target audiences are most commonly active on also improves reach and efficiency. By extensively using social media, estate agents can reduce their reliance on passers-by, recommendations, and direct website traffic.
Social media can also provide estate agents with the necessary data to make well-informed business goals and increase their sales. Understanding what posts receive the most likes, for example, demonstrates what potential buyers want. This insight allows estates agents to know your customer and adjust their business plan.
4. Fast Digital Communication
As society adapts to digital technology, an expectation of fast communication and innovation has become commonplace. According to SuperOffice, 88% of customers expect a response from a business within 60 minutes. Therefore, estate agents should not ignore this.
Social media provides an efficient way to communicate with customers, whether through comments on posts or direct messaging. Customers are increasingly turning to social media to contact a business; over half of customers prefer social media for customer service over phone or email. 79% of these customers using social media expect brands to respond within the first 24 hours of reaching out on social media, as research by Sprout Social in 2020 found. By improving the speed at which you respond to queries over social media, customer satisfaction will increase and, in turn, successful sales.
Live chat has also become a common means of communication. With face-to-face contact reduced, live chat on your website allows customers to have their queries answered swiftly and in real-time. This low-cost, quality customer service provides an advantage to your estate agents over competitors who take longer to answer questions via email or other means. Live chat is likely to develop loyalty in customers and increase your conversion numbers.
The reduction in in-person contact also brings a necessary reduction in paper documents. Sending documents via email not only reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission but also improves the speed and efficiency by which paperwork is completed and processed.
Fast digital communication is one of the key estate agent trends for 2021. It will not only increase customer satisfaction but also productivity within your estate agents.
5. Accurate Digital Property Listings
Before the pandemic, digital property listings often experienced neglect by estate agents due to frequent face-to-face communication. In recent months, however, the importance of an up-to-date and accurate digital property listing has been illuminated as more customers carry out their searches online. Precise information on value, qualities, room dimensions, and amenities will attract the right people to your properties and increase interest.
High-quality photographs on estate agent digital listings are of prime importance; they enable potential buyers to visualise themselves in a property. Additionally, often overlooked in online listings is the value of a floorplan. A floorplan, 2D or 3D, is an important decision-making tool; it allows customers to compare room sizes and envision the property. With a reduction in house viewings, quality property photographs and floorplans could be the key to attracting new customers and boosting sales.
More customers than ever are using a digital platform to search for their new home. Completing our list of estate agent trends for 2021, your estate agents should provide an accurate digital property listing to stand out from competitors.
Want to learn more? We’ve written a complete guide to digital estate agent window displays. We take you through everything you need to know about integrating digital signage with your estate agents.
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