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Making the right move with Miles Shipside

With Miles Shipside, Right Move

In the highly competitive real estate market in the United Kingdom, Right Move is the largest online real estate portal and property website. The site is one of the most visited in the UK, has over a million listings and receives more than 120 million visits per month. One of the founding directors of Right Move, property guru and housing market analyst, Miles Shipside, paints a picture of the market and practices in the UK.

With Brexit related surprises challenging the UK market and creating an air of uncertainty, there are currently fewer buyers and sellers. Miles says, “Obviously it varies in regions but at the moment in the UK, the market broadly is relatively flat in terms of pricing changes. We had price increases until 2012 to 2016. So the market is slowing down because there is a trap in affordability. The average time to sell from first listing to it being marked seller agreed, apparently is around 65 days. In a quicker market it can be down at early 40s and a slower market up around 80 days."

Selling real estate in the United Kingdom is quite different to how the industry works in Australia. Miles says, “We've got a large housing stock in the UK, therefore estate agents in the UK tend to operate on larger numbers to start. I hesitate to say it - with less personal service, but with cheaper fees. Our fees are two per cent of the price achieved, and that normally includes advertising as well. Agents tend to sign clients up for a fairly long exclusivity period, which can be around three months.

The positive of this arrangement is that you can take a long time to sell the property, but the negative is it can take the pressure off and you don't work as hard.” Momentum can be lost.

Further, because of the miles between listings and traffic congestion in major centres in parts of the UK, an owner will show the property. Miles says, “It varies in parts of the country. It's mostly 50/50 favour of accompanied agent, as we call it, versus owner showing. Agents that charge a higher fee will normally say ‘I'll take charge of the viewing’. They do that for obvious reasons. They're in control of the viewing. They can have the property staged, they can show people around in the right manner, and point out the features and benefits of the property. They can see what may become any potential objections, and find out what those objections are and to feed them back to the seller."

There are benefits however in having owners show a home. Miles says, “An owner knows the property extremely well. An owner, who hopefully has been coached and briefed, can really assist by sharing why they've loved living there and the special features of the property. As all agents know, if you can get a bond going between the potential buyer and the seller then that can be really valuable in holding the deal together leading up to the awkward period before you actually exchange contracts."

Working with buyers is an area that Miles thinks more UK agents need to focus on. He says, “If you hold the keys, you're in control of making the appointments. You can get people around quickly, and in terms of that added value service, it really works well. Some agents have shied away from doing accompanied viewings and leave it in the hands of the seller."

Interestingly, as an online market place leader, Miles has found that that the majority of the market still wants the human touch. He says, “If you look at the market share of online agents, it appears to be below 10 per cent. Their expectation was that would be far higher than that by now. So, the lower service and fee model and particularly paying the fee up front, whether it upped your sales or not, is something that's met consumer resistance in the UK. So this model is still evolving in the UK. One of the important things for all estate agents to know is that some of the technological solutions that the online agents are pushing do actually meet some customer needs in terms of speeding up the process, availability of information, and being able to put an offer in online if you're busy. For a seller, it's an opportunity online."

Right Move is not just a property-listing site. Agents can access a range of insightful and practical tools, plus free webinars from people within the industry. To stand out from the crowd, Miles suggests the following.

Market yourself

Market your brand, market your ability to get the best price and the quickest possible buying frame, and really carry yourself with the customers. Agents that present that well, really stand out, and attract more business. Build your reputation, build your recommendations, and get more opportunities coming into your business. Watch those opportunities and close on those opportunities.

Don’t treat every presentation as a valuation

Don’t come out with a standard spiel. Try to find out what the hot buttons are of that individual seller and then try to match those with your service. It's the same the world over. People want to trust you. Share your knowledge. Look at how you can add value to your proposition. Differentiate yourself from the competition.

Be thoughtful with technology

You've got to be a good hand around technology. Some sellers are ready for technology, but others maybe aren't as well aware of it, so overwhelming them with all of the technological gizmos that your company's going to do can be a mistake as well. Work on trust and rapport and differentiation, particularly in the areas of the seller's particular interest.

Comparing Australia and the UK market

In England and Wales 865,913 residential sales were recorded in the year ending June 2018. In Australia 465,788 settled house and unit sales were recorded in the year ending May 2018.


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