How to launch a cold start estate agency

Getting your new estate agent off to a flying start is absolutely essential. A lot of the work I do is for people setting up on their own, mostly experienced estate agents who have got to the point, for whatever reason, where they want to be their own boss.

Mostly it’s people who have been working for corporate estate agents and crave some freedom away from all the rules and politics of a larger company, but it’s also people who are frustrated at working for an agent that is essentially a relic of the 1980s. It is quite extraordinary how many estate agents have managed to stay in business without modernising since the last century, and that is testament to how acceptable it is within the industry to be old-fashioned.

However, there are some genuinely forward-thinking and visionary people out there who want to create a thoroughly modern estate agent and I feel rather privileged to have worked with some truly extraordinary people.

So if you are going to set up a new estate agency, what are you gong to say? One thing I think everyone should stop saying is “we’re different” or “we’re not your typical estate agent”. It doesn’t really seem to matter whether an agent is modern, old, big or small, they all claim to be different. So rather than say that, which I’d say is probably a dead sentence now, I suggest clearly demonstrating the differences you claim to possess. And bitching about other “typical” agents makes you no better than them, so don’t.

Concentrating on your own qualities, what exactly is it that you think makes your new estate agency stand out from the crowd. Everyone has a website, but does yours have a functionality that sets it apart? Is it properly optimised for mobile devices, or does it have a clever widget to make life easier for users?

Are you open later than your competitors? Or do you have a particular way of operating – or a level of customer service – that would make potential clients sit up and take notice?

Do you have a shopfront, or are you an online business? How can you make the most of either of those propositions? Why have you chosen the model you’ve chosen? What are its advantages?

And what about you? Oddly, and quite against the prevailing public image of estate agents, most that I talk to are terribly humble and really do not want to go on about their own achievements. I wonder why. If you’ve worked in a neighbourhood and have given your work life to it, and if you’ve sold or let hundreds – or thousands – of properties during that time, why would you not want to say? Absolutely crazy.

So get thinking about what makes you the number one choice for vendors. Then shout about it.

If you’d like to work with me in getting your estate agent off to a flying start, give me a call on 020 8133 8733 and let’s talk.