PROPERTY MARKETING TRENDS
The latest content marketing trends for estate and lettings agents
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PROTECTION & PLANNING SERIES
A free webinar series – in partnership with Yomdel – focused on helping all UK agencies to maintain valuable income streams and implement a digital communication plan for the future
Estate and lettings agents increase their online presence
- Email communication increased significantly as the stay-at-home policy was introduced.
- Interest in auctions is increasing as withdrawals and fall-throughs are being turned into sales.
- Tenant and landlord enquiries significantly outweigh enquiries from buyers or sellers.
- Virtual viewings are on the rise.
- Agents are promoting re-mortgage advice, running payment holiday advice clinics, and reaching out to developers.
With the stay-at-home policy in full force, we’re now seeing more estate and lettings agents (where possible) proactively using their time to prepare their businesses for the future.
As COVID-19 began impacting service and transactions, agents ramped up their online presence.
Agents are keen to demonstrate that business is still operational and that they can still service the majority of requests.
However, with deals not proceeding, communication with archive datasets is now going to play a crucial role in providing a healthy pipeline of business for the future.
Volume of emails sent
This chart shows the total number of email communications sent by BriefYourMarket.com estate and lettings agents over the last few months.
We saw a significant increase in the amount of communications sent as the stay-at-home policy was introduced on the 23rd March 2020, with 167 property updates sent from the platform the following day.
These reached 1,354,870 clients.
More agents are bringing virtual property viewings to the people
Virtual viewings are on the rise. We’re seeing more agents promote this remote service in some really engaging ways in email communications; distributing virtual property tours to their entire database and qualifying buyer interest by giving interested parties the ability to ‘request a virtual viewing’ at the touch of a button.
Some agents are even setting up exclusive ‘through the keyhole’ mailing lists; giving this service a real luxury feel.
Brand is being leveraged for future success
More agents are now leveraging their brand in front of the camera too; providing daily and weekly Q&A sessions on trending topics and frequently asked questions.
Yomdel’s live chat report (please see below) gives agents a great insight into the most frequently asked enquiries coming in from the public, offering them a way to create proactive content to address these issues and allay concerns on mass via video updates.
There is also less formality in communications right now, with business owners filming and distributing simple updates on smartphones from their own homes. This type of interaction is putting faces to brands and helping to establish trust.
For sellers, communications are geared towards preparing to move, rather than listing now, with a huge push on offering advice on the selling process to establish relationships for the future.
However, (based on our Digi-Val online estimation tool) agents have only seen a -18.1% drop in online estimations in March and April (to date) when compared to the buoyant February market, indicating that potential sellers are still ‘active’ in some respects. Agents are using these tools to capture data to increase their datasets and build a pipeline of clients that they can begin to nurture now for the future.
For buyers, it’s about budgeting and researching mortgage options.
For landlords and tenants, it’s about reassurance that agents can still service their needs.
Agents are looking at all avenues for opportunities
Aside from virtual viewings and valuations, we’ve seen an increase in agents pushing re-mortgage advice, running payment holiday advice clinics and insurance reviews in their email communications.
Auction providers are seeing increased engagement with their communications, as they continue to promote live-streamed auction sales that aren’t reliant on what the post-coronavirus market will look like.
There has also been a push on reaching out to developers, with agents re-iterating the USPs of their marketing services to establish new opportunities with developers when the stay-at-home period is lifted, and the market gets moving.
Other notable communication trends include:
- The impact of COVID-19 on planning
- Residential market outlooks
- Over-the-phone tenancy inspections
- The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020
Live chat in lockdown
Yomdel’s live chat report provides agents with a great barometer regarding the types of enquiries that agents are receiving at present. This information can be used to design a responsive communication plan during this period.
Breakdown of live chat enquiries
Yomdel report that 12% of enquiries received have been general requests. These are to do with items relating to obtaining contact information e.g. email addresses, business operations and availability, and COVID-19 response plans.
28% are from landlords. 11% of chats relate to current rental payments, 7% to new landlords who are looking to let a property; with 6% asking what the current letting process is. 4% are regarding repair and issue enquiries.
Tenants make up 38% of all enquires. 11% are from tenants looking to rent now. 11% are from current tenants who have a repair or issue enquiry. 8% concern rental payment enquiries, 4% are viewing requests and 3% concern current rental process enquiries.
Sellers make up 9%, with 3% enquiring about listing a property now, 3% asking about completions, 2% asking for a valuation and 1% asking about sales progression and process updates.
Buyers come in at 13%. 4% of buyers enquired about specific properties with 4% requesting viewings. 3% concern mortgage enquiries, 1% are made up by current buyers checking up on competition, and a further 1% are regarding new property searches.
Top 10 enquiries ranked by Yomdel are:
- Current tenant property repair 11% 11%
- New tenant property repair 11% 11%
- Current landlord rental payment enquiry 11% 11%
- Current tenant payment enquiry 8% 8%
- New landlord looking to let a property 7% 7%
- Current landlord lease process enquiry 6% 6%
- Buyer viewing request 4% 4%
- Buyer specific property enquiry 4% 4%
- Current landlord property repair issue 4% 4%
- Tenant specific viewing request 4% 4%
How do agents feel about auctions?
In conjunction with SDL Auctions, we recently ran our auction webinar on the 15th April. With over 70 agents attending from up and down the UK – many of whom had never considered auction as an option for their business – it proved to be an insightful topic and chance to discuss some misconceptions about using auctions.
“We were delighted to be asked to take part in the webinar and proud to explain how our team have helped estate agents get results for sellers. It was a great opportunity to dispel some of the myths about auctions, particularly the popular misconception that selling at auction means compromising on price.”
– Andrew Parker | Managing Director
SDL Auctions report that – during March – they held three auctions behind closed doors, with properties selling for an average of 15% above their guide price.
Several lots were sold in partnership with estate agents nationwide, with even more agents using the opportunity to sell houses in SDL Auctions’ upcoming national property auction on Thursday 30th April. This again will be held remotely, with bidders able to watch the live stream via the company website and place bids by proxy, by phone and over the internet.
Andrew added: “It’s important for us as a company to help people in this time of need and we appreciate that some sellers simply cannot wait for the restrictions to be lifted. Whether for financial or personal reasons, some sellers need help immediately and we’re proud to be in a position to offer our services.
“At the same time, we can help estate agents earn at least some income during the crisis. Although auction is not suitable for every property, we believe we could sell between 5% and 15% of an agent’s stock. Examples include probate properties, vacant properties, those being sold due to a relationship break-up and where the sale has fallen through.”
During the webinar, data from BuildYourMarket was used to show that, on the 9th April, 38% of properties were withdrawn from sale, with a further 27% falling through. In contrast, the SDL Auctions fall-through rate is less than 2%.
Andrew said: “These figures from 9th April are startling. Put together, it means around two thirds of properties failed to sell, which is a disaster for estate agents and, in many cases, for the sellers, too. But with our success rate of 80%, we could turn some of these withdrawals and fall-throughs into sales, with the agent getting paid within just seven days.”
During our webinar, we polled the agents in attendance to get some feedback on their current views of auctions, here are the results…
Q1: Have you considered selling a property at online auction for sellers who are still keen to sell/proceed during lockdown?
Q2: What reservations do you have about selling at auction as an estate agent? (Multiple choice)
I don't really understand the concept
Sellers don't like selling at auction, do they?
Sellers may get a lower price
The buyer fee puts me off
Q3: How many properties ‘on your books’ currently would you class as an essential sale and are chasing you? (Multiple choice)
More than one
More than two