At last, there has been some good news for the estate agency industry, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak announcing a Stamp Duty holiday on residential purchases of £500,000 or less in England and Northern Ireland until March 2021.
So, being in the property industry, how do you feel about this?
Is it enough to keep the property market buoyant for the next eight months?
When the time comes next Spring for the Stamp Duty holiday to draw to a close will there be a massive frenzy during the final days followed by a market collapse?
Nobody knows, even the experts! All any of us can do is predict. And based upon the views of estate agents I’ve spoken with this past week, predictions are aplenty.
From those speculating that a permanent Stamp Duty reform is coming and will be announced before next Spring, to those believing it will ultimately lead to higher property prices. The opinion is divided.
What’s not divided though is the fact that with phones ringing off the hook and a surge of interest, most estate agents believe that their best strategy is to make hay while the sun shines – and worry about any potential fall-out when the time comes.
I’m all for making hay; it’s essential to go with the flow, but, and yes I’m afraid there is a but, it’s also necessary to keep in mind that depressing though it is, the sun does not always shine and you must look to and prepare for the future, even while hay-making.
Estate agency traditionally has always been a bit of a reactive industry, simply because there are so many economic factors that can affect housing stock, prices and demand at short notice.
You only have to look at the impact of COVID-19 to understand that even the most viable, solvent estate agencies can, unfortunately, encounter trouble overnight. Or look at the Stamp Duty holiday announcement to understand how there can be a monumental surge.
It’s a rollercoaster ride!
If you plotted the highs and lows of property transactions on a graph, it would look like a rollercoaster track, with massive peaks and low troughs. Except, some estate agencies have not experienced issues on the same rollercoaster scale as others throughout the past four months.
Typically, those agencies are the ones that understand the need to consider the long term rather than only the short term. These are the agencies who consistently stay visible and who make sure they commit to making time to do so.
During the height of COVID-19, these agencies spent even more time preparing for the bounce back. They understood that there would be a few months of hardship, but their enduring visibility ensured that those months weren’t anywhere near as hard as some of their competitors, plus they knew the rewards would eventually be reaped and the hay would be made at the other end.
It’s the same with the Stamp Duty holiday.
It is undoubtedly an excellent incentive for your target audience right now, but, it will come to an end.
I appreciate this is a suggestion that you may not wish to consider right now because you are busy hay-making, but alongside that hay-making, you should multi-task and ensure your long term strategy is firmly in place before the Spring.
Spring is a long way off, but you must start now.
What am I talking about?
Those clients you have hammering on your door right now – that’s because there is an incentive in front of them – the Stamp Duty holiday.
Take that incentive away, and what reason have they to put their properties on the market? More importantly, what incentive is there for them to put their properties on the market with you?
You must give them one.
And I don’t mean more discounts on fees, ‘free’ valuations and a glossy brochure.
You have to keep them informed. Provide them with value. And you can do this consistently through your content.
You can even start doing this today by updating your target audience with information regarding the Stamp Duty holiday.
Don’t assume everyone knows all about it, what it is and how much they can save.
Some people, who will become your clients, may need it spelt out for them. All you have to do is make yourself look like the expert you are by publishing content – information – that is of value to your ideal client.
Not only now. Every week. So that you are visible throughout that whole rollercoaster journey of peaks and troughs.
So, here’s a reason for you to get started immediately.
In case you missed this on Friday, to save you the hassle of creating some fresh content, I’ve written a topical article for you which you can download free and use on your blog or news page and repurpose on your social media accounts or in your email newsletter.
It’s editable and will be fully personalised with your agency details.
This article is available for you right now.
So, my message to you is simply this:
Make hay while the sun shines…but don’t lose sight of the clouds.