Covid-19 has changed the way people work and live, we hope that people are weathering the storm, staying safe and adapting to the new ‘normal’
When David and I opened our Estate Agency business in Bramhope at the end of 2018, who would have thought a little over twelve months on when Covid-19 resulted in a lockdown, a ‘short term’ business pause, followed thankfully by just over a month of our office being open again, we are now working in the new ‘normal’ way too.
I am using this morning (Trudy is back in the office for the first time which is great for us) to reflect on how things have changed in the Estate Agency world and how our business was thankfully future-proofed from the start to allow for a new normal way of working.
People sell houses, enabled by the best technology and modern sales techniques was our mantra right from the start – this is serving us well in the following ways:-
Telephone – people sell houses, and when we set up, we invested in the best telephone system we could afford, throughout lockdown whenever anyone rang 01134 676 400, they were seamlessly put through to either David or I. I have a real dislike for impersonal call centres and telephone answering companies – they are impersonal and tend to lack that local knowledge we think is important – when you ring our number, it will be David, Trudy or I who you speak to
3D virtual tours (and now ACCOMPANIED) – this was something we have done from the start to improve the customer experience, effectively the first viewing, from the comfort of a sofa – and now the safety too. The seller’s property is always ‘showhome’ ready. During Covid-19 some agents invested in 3D virtual tours out of necessity, so….. to ensure we are always one step ahead, we can now do accompanied 3D virtual tours – we are on the screen, the viewer is on the screen and so is the property, just as if it was a ‘physical’ viewing. We are the first Agent in Yorkshire to do this, so once again leading the way.
Our office – is small, business is now all about the technology you have to improve the Customer Experience, but some people like a face to face visit, thank goodness we didn’t invest in a large building where we had to pay huge business rates, people can call in and see us knowing they are able to self- distance. Our office was open immediately after our business lockdown was lifted, people can make appointments to visit us if they prefer, but as a small business we were PPE’d from day one.
Site- maps – David prides himself on his floor-plans, but we now think site maps are just as important too. During Covid-19 people could ‘drive-by’ properties, but were not always able to see the gardens or land at the rear of the house – for example, who would have known that 8, The Sycamores has a patio, an extended garage, a pond, a summerhouse and two sheds, without looking at a site map! (take a look at Rightmove – it is a beautiful home)
Local area videos – people buy an area as well as a home, visit our website and the lovely area of Bramhope (Adel, Pool-in Wharfedale and Otley too) – whilst in lockdown, you could explore the areas and see the local businesses without having to drive there – again all from your sofa.
Virtual valuations – because we subscribe to all the main property portals plus Homesearch, and along with David’s local knowledge and experience we could accurately provide Virtual valuations supported by a video – in fact we valued, took instruction and sold a property in Cookridge without physically meeting the owner.
Investing in all the portals – we want our vendor’s properties to reach the biggest audience possible so we invest in all the main property portals – Righmove, Zoopla, On the Market and Prime Location – when potential buyers were looking for a future home during lockdown our vendors homes were there, and , because we use featured properties on Rightmove our homes were often at the top of the listings.
So one month on
So, one month on after lockdown, we have sale agreed stc £4m of property (one listed and sold via a virtual valuation), our customer experience I hope, hasn’t been impacted in any way, we are taking on more new instructions (take a look at Rightmove over the coming days) and we are further developing our technology – for a small agency to be the first in Yorkshire with accompanied virtual tours is a real coup for us.
We have also been approached and appeared twice in the Country Life magazine online viewing showcase (in one edition out of only 18 agents in the UK we were the only one from Yorkshire!) – another real coup.
As people slowly get back to the new normal, living and working in a totally different way, lots of people are looking for a new place to call home, we hope that we can help in that next big decision.
Written by Lesa Brown (Director), David Phillip Estate Agents, 86, Leeds Road, Bramhope, t: 01134 676 400 w:davidphillip.co.uk