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Build back even better

Guest Blog with Iain White

While things are looking positive for many agents, now is not the time to rest on your laurels; there are opportunities to be seized in land and new homes writes Iain White of the Innovation Collaboration Group.

As we finally allow ourselves to believe that the worst of the pandemic may have passed, it’s remarkable that the property industry has remained buoyant over the past couple of years. In fact, it’s thrived.

Many agents have seen hugely positive growth, with large number of property sales and lettings passing through the books. We’ve witnessed an extremely buoyant market, driven in part by the government’s extension of stamp duty holiday, no doubt.

But while these are definitely reasons to feel positive, we must remain aware and realistic. As the end of the stamp duty holiday nears, we head into the usual summer slowdown and the government’s pandemic support schemes come to an end; it follows that we might expect house sales to return to relatively subdued levels. To my mind, that presents many of us with an opportunity to assess the shape of our businesses and to identify the next growth areas.

Follow the money

In order to position your business perfectly for what comes next, it’s worth first considering where the industry is heading. As is commonly the case after a difficult economic period, we have a government focused on rebuilding the country, investing in infrastructure projects, easing planning restrictions, offering incentives for first-time buyers and targeting the building of ambitious numbers of new homes. These are all measures designed to stimulate growth of the new homes market. And they’re all signs that every agent should make note of. Because what happens once those homes are built? They need to be marketed and sold.

At the same time, we’re seeing demand for properties outside of city centres as companies adjust to more flexible ways of working and families forced to downsize because of situational changes. That will keep the day-to-day lettings and sales ticking over for a while, but I believe that smart agents – those who are targeting solid growth and sustained profitability – should be focussing their attention on the area of land and new homes.

We can expect the land and new homes sector to boom over the coming years, offering an unrivalled opportunity to get attractive new properties onto the books, boost lettings, and keep the pipeline looking healthy. And if I were an independent agent right now, I’d prioritise finding out more about how to get my piece of the pie.

Easier said than done? Not at all!

As the owner of an independent agency, there is a fast-track way for you to get access to that market, even if you have a little-to-no track record in land and new homes.

First stop, a conversation with Kevin Ellis and his team.

If you’re not familiar, Kevin is the Founder of the Land & New Homes Network, a national association that is dedicated to this specific area of the market. If you’ve never dealt directly with developers and housebuilders, you don’t have the expertise to identify and market land opportunities, or you’re feeling a little daunted by the whole idea, then the Land & New Homes Network can give you the resources and training you need.

The secret sauce to your success

When it comes to land and new homes, a nuanced approach is required. Finding the right decision-maker at a housebuilder, and getting them on the phone, is just the start of the challenge. It’s about conveying the right message to pique their interest. Should you be talking about the quality of your buyers or the returns you can deliver per square foot? How relevant is your marketing? You’ll soon discover that different operators have different motivations, it’s about selecting the right projectile for your slingshot, so to speak.

Get the CEO of the biggest builders in your region on the phone, for example, and what will you say? Will you have the confidence to convince them you’re the agent for the job? If you’re a Land & New Homes Network member, you’ll be equipped with the know-how, the tools and – critically – the backing – to convert that conversation into a negotiation.

Get the experts on your side

We’d be lying if we suggested it was easy for an agency with no track record to convince a developer or house builder to partner with them. They will want to see evidence of specialist resources, and the reassurance of an experienced team. But that’s what makes your association with the Network so valuable.

To my mind, land and new homes will make all the difference over the coming years. There will be ample opportunity to work directly with developers. And those new homes will usually be chain-free, empty and easy to sell off-plan. It’s a business model that at the very least worth exploring.

As I say, this is where the opportunities are and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Get into land and new homes today and start building for a better tomorrow.

 

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