Simon Brown, Founder The ESTAS
As we hurtle towards the finishing line for yet another year we all like to look back at the last 12 months and talk about the successes and challenges we’ve experienced. However it’s a far more valuable use of our time to look at the year ahead and decide - as a business - how can we best navigate 2024.
As always its impossible to predict exactly what the next 12 months will have in store but there are some certainties - or near certainties - that can help us plan. Firstly, we know for sure there is going to be a general election – there has to be as it’s written in law – however working out when it will take place is not that easy. Traditionally ruling parties tend to go for a spring date, normally May, the idea being that most people are feeling happier with life as the weather warms up and the evenings get lighter.
However with the Conservatives so far behind in the polls they could wait until the autumn and use the spring statement to introduce measures designed to boost the economy. Its highly likely that if this happens a number of those new ‘economy boosters’ will be aimed at the housing market as it is a key sector which drives consumer confidence and spending in other areas. If this happens an October election is far more likely. The potential downside for the housing market is while incentives might be introduced to encourage people to buy and sell properties some of us will remain cautious and wait until after the election has taken place to see how the land lies and where the long term economy is headed.
The other major factor that effects consumer confidence in the property sector is interest rates and the good news is they are now stabilising and predicted to fall in 2024 making mortgages more affordable. This together with any government incentives in the Spring could see the market set for a healthy 2nd quarter onwards. Add to this the fact the last 3 months of this year looks likely to end positively with prices generally holding firm, stock coming back and new mortgage products being announced by brokers.
So given the quiet optimism for 2024 what can agents do to ensure they capitalise on any up turn in the market. Firstly, making sure you have a strong online presence is crucial. Ensure your website is engaging and optimised for mobile. Keep your social media profiles active and relevant and plan effective online marketing strategies. Online reviews should also play a vital role in marketing plans as potential vendors do more and more research online before they engage with an agent. Google estimates that customers make 70% of their buying decision before they make direct contact with your business.
With increased access to information online, consumers' expectations from estate agencies have evolved. Buyers and sellers expect more personalised and tailored services, transparency and a seamless customer experience in their property transactions. Therefore agencies that invest in technology and customer-centric practices will gain a competitive edge by meeting these evolving demands.
Of course beyond the online and tech world the most important factor of all to help make your business successful in 2024 is ensuring your team delivers good old fashioned customer service – something we’ve been banging on about at The ESTAS for a few years now (20 to be precise!).
Beyond the obvious benefits delivering excellent service has a huge knock on effect to other aspects of your business. It acts as an effective marketing campaign improving the public perception and builds trust in your brand establishing your firm in the minds of anyone searching for other products & services or information related to property.
It helps you to retain staff in your business for longer. Staff pay careful attention to how their own firm treats its customers. When they see their employer treating customers the way they would expect to be treated themselves, it motivates them, makes them proud to be part of the team and more likely to work for you harder and longer.
Lastly delivering great customer service also stops those classic ‘But’ reviews. You know the ones, the review starts off well enough then halfway through there is a ‘but’ which effectively turns what started as a positive review into a negative one.
Next year, more than ever, delivering exceptional service levels will be crucial to ensure you stand out in your local market . It’s a challenge, but I firmly believe that the agencies who manage to embed a service culture in their team will ultimately thrive in 2024.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the ESTAS Family!!!
We would like to wish everyone in the ESTAS Community a very happy and safe time over the Festive period and we look forward to working with you all in 2024.
ESTAS Key date update for 2024
29th February – Deadline for reviews for 2024 awards Midnight on 29th Feb is when the ‘Review Season‘ closes for the 2024 awards. As long as you have a minimum of 15 reviews from sellers & buyers or 15 from landlords or tenants (if you are entering one of the letting categories) your branch will be eligible for the ESTAS Shortlist for 2023. For all the minimum review requirements please click here.
24th May 2024 – ESTAS Shortlists announce After our awards audit in March & April comes the second biggest date in the ESTAS calendar. We’ll be hosting our virtual shortlist event on Friday 24 May.
18th October 2024 – The ESTAS Awards
The biggest day in the UK residential property industry! Once again we’ll be bringing together the cream of estate agency, property lawyers and mortgage brokers to see who has won a coveted ESTAS Award at the 21st ESTAS Awards.
Tickets are now on sale at an early bird rate here.
ESTAS Working Hours over the Holidays
ESTAS Working Hours over the Holidays Our office will be closed from lunchtime on Friday 22nd December 2023, through to 9am on Wednesday 3rd January 2024. During that time our team will be on call for all our clients should you need us, please email [email protected] if you need urgent assistance during this time.