What does Brexit mean for estate agents?

Let’s not get bogged down in whether Brexit is a good or bad thing. Let’s talk about what is best for your business in the aftermath.

There is undoubtedly going to be a lot of uncertainty for the property market. For buyers, sellers, estate agents and property developers, the future is now a very uncertain place. But everyone still needs somewhere to live, and estate agents and property developers need to stay in business.

None of us know what the long term effects of Brexit will be on the UK property market, but we do know that at the end of June, and the end of July, and the end of every month after that, you are going to need to pay your staff, yourself and your overheads. That won’t change. So you absolutely need to keep doing business.

For property developers I think it’s fairly simply; start being reasonable; you’ve had it good for many, many years. If buyers now start asking for reductions or extras, my suggestion is to listen and see if that works, rather than dismiss it out of hand. I imagine the next month or two will be the worst, with the initial shock turning into opportunism pretty much immediately. And then it’ll be the quieter summer months. So if you want sales in July and August, you’re going to have to work for them.

For estate agents, now is the time to reach out to your clients and tell them what to do. If enquiries start dropping off, you can bet some sales will fall through as well AND that your relationships with your vendors will deteriorate if you’re not being pro-active with advice. You can’t predict the future but you could probably have a very good guess at would make a property sell today. I suggest a round of price reductions is in order to get buyers excited, and vendors committed.

I think a leaflet or letter campaign to your neighbourhood would also be a great idea, saying that you’re going to do everything to you can to prevent Brexit from getting in the way of selling property. There will be many opportunities out there to wrestle lost instructions back from other agents, and to win many more new instructions. I suspect most estate agent will believe it’s not possible to have a plan; they will simply accept that it’s going to get difficult and possibly take the step of downsizing for the duration. Although I understand the mentality, it’s not a particularly inspiring course of action.

So have think, brainstorm with your teams, and see what get them going around tackling Brexit head-on.