There's a professional interest and personal panic when I see a shop being renovated in the town I'm going to operate in. I think "is it an estate agents? What are they going to be like? Will they steal a march on me?"
Twice since I started the 245 days journey there have been actual estate agents open.
The first was not long after I started planning, and it was a low-key opening in a side street, and in the couple of months since they opened I haven't seen one of their boards, or any adverts in the local newspapers or any listings on Rightmove. I know that opsonise an estate agency is, and will be, a slow burner but I don't feel that they have started with a bang, or had a good presence, or offered anything different to the existing agents. Phew (so far.)
The second is starting to emerge this week, where an agent from a neighbouring market has decided to open up an office in town. I don't know a lot about the existing office or the new satellite office of this company but I'm going to research today and see what I can find out. As it happens, I'm on the park and rude, travelling past their existing office in a minute or so...
It's a sales and lettings office (I was hoping for lettings only) and again, it doesn't look to offer anything substantially different to our existing agents, from first look.
I'm not afraid of competition, in fact I think that my experience and the proposition I am building will stand up well against the vast majority of estate agents I have encountered. In my view traditional estate agents have been left behind by the service levels offered in other service industries. Complaints about estate agents, particularly about fees and communication, are rising. This shows that customer service levels haven't reached the standards that they should. Simple conversations or disclosures about fees and basic agreements about contact with customers can eliminate most complaints of this nature. I will have a contact schedule written into my contract with clients that let them know how often I will contact them, and how. Something like-
"I will call you weekly, on a Thursday between 1pm and 5pm, as this is your afternoon off work. This call will be to give you a marketing update and any alterations we need to make."