We know that the last few years have been tough for those working in property sales, but it seemed as if things had taken a turn for the better in recent months.
Figures from the national house price index, and RICS suggest that housing prices across the UK are beginning to grow in real terms (once inflation has been taken into account) and that the market has in fact finally “turn a corner” for the first time since property sales felt the first bite of the credit crunch.
Estate Agents Insolvencies Up
However, an article from today’s Telegraph suggests that the recent property market upturn has come too late to save many estate agents, with insolvencies for property sales firms up by more than half on this time last year.
In all, 77 property marketing firms went under in the last twelve month, compared to just 49 the year before – a sad figure considering so much positive movement on the property sales front in 2013.
Are Big Property Sales Firms Buying the Buyers?
The article cites the problems of competing with larger companies with bigger marketing budgets as one of the reasons that smaller agencies are having to close their doors, claiming that the advent of the internet has lessened the importance of the agent and allowed larger firms to essentially purchase the attention of house hunters.
Can Independent Estate Agents Compete Online?
But is this really the case, or is the internet actually a great leveller in the world of property sales? Does an online presence allow a savvy independent estate agent the opportunity to compete on a level playing field with big names in the home selling industry?
While it is distressing to see any agency going under as a result of the changing property marketing, should these figure actually serve as a caution to all those working in the property sales industry, reminding them of the importance of keeping up to date with the latest developments in online estate agency and internet property marketing?
How to be a Great Online Estate Agent
Here at Photoplan we believe that smaller and independent agencies have a great opportunity to be at the vanguard of the property sales revolution – becoming early adopters of cutting edge technologies which offer the greatest level of online engagement for house hunters.
Standalone estate agents can be behind great social media conversations, and, with a little planning can integrate a wide range of property marketing tools (for example virtual tours, floorplans and professional photography) into exciting on and offline transmedia marketing campaigns, which have the potential to really grab the attention of the public.
Indeed, instead of being disheartened by these new figures, those invoiced in property sales should see them as a call to action to ensure that their agency is taking advantage of all the available property marketing tools (from social media to web video to property search portals) to ensure they are able to sell property with the big boys.