Images: Left and right show a property on Redburn Street, SW3 on the market with Strutt & Parker. Middle shows Lulu Egerton, Strutt & Parker.
Last month, the government allowed Estate Agents to carry out controlled viewings, and for people to move. After a very stagnant last couple of years, living through the uncertainty of Brexit, preceded by the Stamp duty, Covid-19 was seen by many as virtually the last straw!
We’ve taken a moment to look at the ‘Virtual Market’ which has led so many companies out of trouble, and has been a saviour for many property agents.
We asked Lulu Egerton how it had affected transactions at Strutt & Parker.
“The last couple of years confidence wise wasn’t so good, but we only sell best in class and in fact we had two excellent years because we navigated our clients to sensible price and reductions to accommodate the stamp duty rise. Also the currency trade allowed for our international purchaser with dollars and euros to see real value in prime London real estate, which made it even more compelling for them to buy”.
“The market remains price sensitive; the buyers are extremely well informed. Preparation for sale is vital, as virtual tours and photography is critical to success, as we reach out to our global audience. The sale or purchase of any property at any price is an incredibly important asset disposal for any of us. It’s not about buying the ‘cheap’ but about buying the right thing which will remain a good long term investment as much as a home”.
We asked her how reliant clients are on the reputation that an estate agent has, particularly as some have not always enjoyed the best recommendations and may be prone to exaggeration!
“You have to trust someone to handle this significant transaction and you have to trust the organisation they work for. Strutt and Parker is well recognised and respected and we’ve been in the business a long time. We have put in a lot of work, over the years, building up our contacts both here and abroad and we are absolutely trusted and relied upon. Clients who come to us are often spending considerable sums in a fractured economic and demographic market”.
“My view is that there is no substitute for a human relationship that is based on trust, there is no substitute for physically seeing a property and more and more important is the key relationship with your trusted property advisor. I think the decision to spend large capital sums without actually seeing the property and, or seeking proper advice is unlikely in these challenging times but I am not saying that some buyers in the not too distant future won’t make decisions over the internet and, or virtual tour”.
“We’ve done about 20 ‘lets’ in lockdown through our virtual tours, which have been successful as they give a different context which floor plans and photographs cannot achieve. Travel restrictions may also come into play, making it more challenging for clients to fly”.
The big question we posed to Lulu was, will the way that estate agents have operated in the past change, as many other businesses have been forced to? Will shop windows still be important? Will there be far few real time viewings and many more of the virtual variety?
“In regards to the future, the agency world will change and adapt like all other businesses, but what that ‘looks and feels’ like is too early to tell. Having a shop shows commitment to the area and shows the visibility of success in the locality. As a consequence a highly visible international organisation such as ours, with offices in strategic visible sites, committed to the locality, speaks of trustworthiness, advisory, expertise, service, informed and intelligent agents”.
“Our investment in our people is the manifestation of our investment to be the best property advisors. We are here to stay”.
Learn more about Lulu Egerton and Strutt & Parker at Struttandparker.com.
Images: All images above show a property on Redburn Street, SW3 on the market with Strutt & Parker.