2020 has turned out to be the year to rediscover a love for our own home.
And now, following the new national restrictions announced last week, it looks as if we will all be spending even more time within the confines of our own four walls.
In fact, the housing market seems to have been one of very few industries to thrive in the wake of the UK’s initial confinement period earlier this year, with reports stating that 10% of properties sold for more than the owners’ asking price.
Property renters and buyers are reviewing their criteria when it comes to their new home, with office space and outdoor space now, for obvious reasons, much higher on the agenda.
The exodus from ‘the big smoke’
In fact, the exponential enablement of home working, has had a seemingly huge impact on consumer behaviours when it comes to renting or buying a new home.
While urban property is still in high demand, when it comes to renters who have the propensity for remote working, experts such as Elisabeth Kohlbach, CEO of Skwire, have suggested London may become less attractive with many ‘flocking to towns and cities beyond the capital’
Back in May, The Guardian reported that many buyers were opting to relocate to the country or more rural market towns with good connections to the capital. With many people having started the year with a vague goal to leave the city, a wave of ‘panic movers’ reportedly swept through to some of the UK’s in-demand rural locations.
The challenges for estate agents and landlords in 2020
Despite a fairly positive outlook in contrast to many industries hit by the coronavirus, it’s fair to say it’s been a tumultuous year for Estate Agents and landlords as they try to stay ahead of the curve.
Commercial property downturn
For estate agents dealing in commercial property- this year will have been a particularly challenging one. According to a survey conducted by the RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors), 93% anticipated scaling back their office footprint in the next two years. The inevitable decline of the high street has lead to investors turning their hand to residential market investments instead.
Home buyers postpone
According to Aldmore’s First Time Buyer Index just under half the number of first time buyers (46%) have delayed their plans to buy a home this year on account of the pandemic. That means would-be buyers have turned to renting again to tide them over until restrictions begin to ease and job security becomes more stable.
Mastering The virtual showcase
With house viewing out of the question during lockdown, estate agents and sellers had to hone their camera skills to help showcase properties on the market as government guidance said initial viewings were to be conducted online. Virtual viewings have now become a part of the new normal, with many tips and tricks on best practice for showcasing properties in the best light via online methods.
Making way for Gen Z renters and buyers
2020 was set to be the year that many businesses made way for the Gen Z demographic entering the workplace and the consumer landscape on a much greater scale. While this year’s events have thwarted many small business’s strategies and plans, a move for estate agents to take a more online approach to marketing their property portfolio has become an inevitability. That being said, there is still a long way to go for high-street agents to ensure that the property market engages this tech-savvy generation to create a customer journey they would want to repeat. An article by Estate Agent Today argues that features such as VR tours and online customer portals will shape the future for high-street estate agents.
While many Gen Zers will be too young to buy a home just yet, they are already prevalent as renters and will most likely choose smart, modern homes over the traditional counterpart. It’s also said, that these savvy youngsters will be climbing the property ladder earlier than millennials, mostly due to a fierce sense of independence along with avoiding student debt.
Taking one-off customer payments
One bug bear for many consumers when it comes to renting or buying a new place, is the amount of admin. With paperwork upon paperwork, and often multiple one-off payments at various stages of the process, agents want to make sure their payment processes are friction-free. With late payments staling the property buying or rental agreement processes even further, agents are striving to streamline and fine tune the amount of admin for the customer, particularly (but not exclusively) for the increasingly attention-poor Millennial and Gen Z consumers.
How Coupay is shaping the future of one-off payments
Students in particular find the lettings process complicated. From challenges such as sourcing a guarantor as a first-time renter, to collating funds for the large deposit of an entire household, students have a rough deal when it comes to juggling rental agreement administration in addition to their studies. Speaking to the Coupay team, a number of students spoke out about the key challenges of renting as a student. Many of these young adults referred to the anxiety of paying such large deposit payments via bank transfer, a process prone to human error.
Where card payments are costly in terms of the commission charges, property agents have largely relied on traditional bank transfers to extract payment for large, one-off amounts such as deposits. In addition to the fractious customer journey these bank transfer requests present for consumers, they also pose challenges for the agent. Late payment can cause frustrating and disruptive delays for estate agents, but this issue is rife if agents fail to present customers with a quick, easy, and stress-free payment process.
Significant developments in open banking mean that deposit payment angst could be eradicated. Businesses no longer need to request payments via a bank transfer process that many renters and buyers view as an archaic, labour intensive system.
Solutions such as Coupay allow estate agents to request one-off payments from their client buyers and potential tenants in a quick and friction-free way which connects automatically to their bank account. Coupay’s Smart Bank Transfer can be used by agents or landlords looking to take one-off payments for deposits and other one-off or administrative fees.
How it works:
1. Sign up your estate agent business with a free trial of our Smart Bank Transfer software courtesy of Coupay.
2. Once your customer agrees their purchase or the rental agreement, generate your unique Coupay payment request by entering the transaction amount via our easy-to-use dashboard.
3. Send your payment request via your customers chosen channel (email, invoice or text message)
4. Your customers can choose to pay on mobile in an instant, or via their desktop using the payment request which takes them to their personal banking app, allowing them to make payment quickly and securely within just four clicks
For more details on how to adjust the way you take payments in a contact-free, secure way, get in touch to discover a payment journey you and your customers can truly trust.