Who would be an Estate Agent – The Evolution of an Industry
Using the coverall term estate agent to mean an estate or letting agent, why would anybody want to get into the profession in the first place, and why is there such a high turnover? As I have it on good authority that nearly 40% of those within the property agency are considering changing their company within 12-months, and the average length of time a person who is less in rank than a manager stays in role is 18-months. Also, staffing is at the lowest level since 1975, in terms of ‘good staff’.
Which is why, many branches/offices/businesses in non-COVID-19 times are running on skeleton staff, and why tech is taking some of that boring process driven stuff away from front-line earners.
The digital transformation of the property industry and I am not just talking residential agency, but from planning to build in the real world, to disposal and asset management etc, is happening despite a huge lack of trained personnel in key sectors, the ‘work’ now being diligently handled by AI, machine learning, and multiple applications of big data still goes on.
Real estate, like all commerce is never going to be as it was, and the ‘people’ heavy offices and branches of past decades are possibly not going to exist. Embrace this concept and march on with a more agile approach.
Am I advocating that agencies divest themselves of great agency professionals who maybe have been part of the tight little family/team for years? No, but when retirement or ‘natural wastage’ the polite term for when agents get burnt out, or get disgruntled, or want to set up themselves, comes along – maybe do not rush to fill that chair left empty.
Instead re-imagine what it is that your business needs and how it needs to function moving on? In less than five years a typical agency will consist of all the moving parts that most 2020 businesses have.
Meaning agents doors should be flung open to attract, digital marketers, film makers, social content makers, micro-influencers who can grow agents brands. Let us face it in 1980, when I started out to be an agent you needed a desk a phone a filing cabinet, a shop window, and lots of grit, determination, and an extrovert personality, and probably 20 Rothmans and a large ashtray.
At that time agents were the high priest and priestesses, the font of all secret knowledge about property, we knew the secrets, we had the data, and the public knew it. Now in 2020, a ten year old with a mobile can google his or her address and punch in ‘what is my home worth’ or even ask Alexa, and the answer is there, no need for the agent’s secret knowledge.
So with property consumers, more tech savvy than the agent, to get ahead of the public, it is time to re-invent the space agents inhabit – I see it as exciting times, and the bigger question is not why would you want to be an agent – but what qualities do agents in the 2020’s need to be relevant?
If you have a view – please let us all know by emailing me at [email protected] – Andrew Stanton Executive Editor – moving property and proptech forward.