The self-employed estate agent is nothing new and with more home buyers and renters using the internet to do their property searches, the need for brick and mortar agency offices is waning, according to Tim Lawler, a self-employed estate agent who set up as a limited company and agency 15 years ago.
After working for several high-profile agencies across London, Lawler now operates as a limited company doing lettings and property management under the Agent & Homes banner.
“Agent & Homes is part of a new wave of agencies which is empowering agents by allowing them to lead a more flexible existence and take home a higher percentage of their commission fees,” says Lawler.
“I’m a huge advocate of this new model as it has changed my life and I passionately believe it represents a bright future for our industry,” he says.
In Lawler’s case, while he works for himself, he does have the support of Agent & Homes and its partner agents. He has access to Rightmove, Zoopla, OnTheMarket, PrimeLocation, and software called Gnomen to run his business, insurance, access to a redress scheme and other support services for £300 a month. He also can use the Agent & Homes office should he wish.
So, you want to be an estate agent?
According to jobs site, Reed, you do not need a degree to become an Estate Agent, and according to the site, there are a number of specific qualifications which will help you get started – many of which can be taken before you find the right role.
However, you will need a few years under your belt before you may want to go the self-employed route, according to Rollo Miles, a fellow self-employed estate agent with Agent & Homes.
“Experience is vital and learning to work in a traditional way is very important as a grounder and also to understand the completion [process],” Miles tells Freelance Informer.
When asked what advice he would give someone in the current environment who was thinking of entering the property market for the first time (because of the flexibility it can provide), but also becoming a self-employed /estate agent consultant, he says, “We would only want to work with people who have at least 10 years experience and have been an office manager or valuer. In terms of advice, you will probably work harder than ever before but the reward will be greater. Also, it will be hard to start with and you have to have enough savings to last at least 6 months on zero income.”
One of the biggest costs to running your own estate agency is online portal costs such as Rightmove and Zoopla, which are sizeable, with some firms paying tens of thousands per year, according to reports in the property press. But rivals are emerging amongst the industry’s Say No to Rightmove campaign. To learn more about Boomin, the new ‘secret’ portal in development from the founders behind Purple Bricks, read here.
Estate agents turned recruiters?
Estate agencies and property consultants could amplify their businesses by becoming recruitment specialists in their local patch, according to Rayner Personnel, a UK estate agency, property services, Proptech and ancillary recruitment company.
Rayner is reaching out to estate agencies and Associates proposing that they could work alongside the estate agency and property services organisation on the basis that each would run their own businesses with the support of the Rayner brand and infrastructure.
Already, eight such partners have joined, Rayner Personnel has reported.
Estate agency, Complete, run by co-founders Will Smith and Jade Boyles-White have secured the South West patch for Rayner. Complete has branches in Exeter, Newton Abbot, Plymouth, Teignmouth and Bovey Tracey plus a Land and New Homes division.
Boyles-White will continue to run the estate agency business day to day whilst Smith is to move across to the recruitment side of the expanded new group whilst maintaining his ‘rainmaker’ status as originator of many of Complete’s land and new homes deals, Rayner said.
“As a growing estate agency we have often been left disappointed by recruiters, with many being somewhat lacklustre. Recruitment and estate agency involve similar skills to one another and so it makes sense for us to use our industry expertise, experience and contacts to offer an improved, complementary recruitment proposition to estate agencies here in the South West. It makes a lot of sense.”Jade Boyles-White, Managing Director of Complete Estate Agents
“I’m the proud founder of Complete and I remain involved, especially in land acquisition and deal-making, but it’s time for me to tackle a new challenge and hence I’m so excited at the prospect of building the Rayner Personnel proposition locally and in offering the same level of recruitment service that I myself would want and expect,” says Will Smith, Complete’s Chairman.
“I’ll be banging on a few industry friends’ doors soon to listen to how our new venture can help them,” he says.
Josh Rayner was the architect behind the deal. “In targeting new territories for our expansion across the UK alongside new partners, I could not have hoped for a better collaboration than with Will and Jade especially as they will continue to run and grow their incredibly successful estate agency in parallel with the new recruitment business,” says Rayner.
“I think we’ll start to see other estate agencies also realise that they are actually best placed to understand the industry, providing the best of what clients and candidates alike want from the hiring process. I look forward to hearing from any that are inspired by what we’ve put together here,” he says.