Since the start of the Pandemic, we have seen a significant change in estate agency practice. Sellers and buyers are now far better versed and comfortable using a wider range of digital services whilst estate agency business such as Galbraith have adopted and embraced the benefits of hybrid working.
The enforced lockdown periods essentially created the platform to allow businesses to better understand the benefits of home working , something that many would have been resistant to in the past. Modern technology including cloud based estate agency software has allowed us to transition seamlessly from a full time office based working environment to a hybrid version mixing working from home with time in the office with colleagues.
A survey carried out by Galbraith last year identified that the vast majority of our staff wanted to move to a combination of home based and office working. Given the nature of our roles, whether they be administrative and therefore historically office based or more mobile such as our agents and valuers who are used to spending significant time out of the office, we have found that our productivity and general staff wellbeing has improved greatly due to the flexibility offered by hybrid working. In short, why compel staff to travel to and from an office when it may be far more cost effective and environmentally friendly to reduce commuting and travel time by allowing people to work from home part of the time?
On average staff in office jobs in the UK are currently spending between 20 and 40 per cent of the week working remotely. We at Galbraith have certainly benefitted from this new approach, facilitated by technology.
Existing research suggests that workers are most productive when they are given the flexibility to choose their work pattern based on individual needs and critical factors such as their home-working environment. Business need is important and cannot be overlooked but allowing people a more flexible working environment has allowed us to benefit from both worlds.
It is not just staff but also customers who have embraced new technologies for house hunting.
There has been a real shift to online engagement so that not only are prospective buyers almost exclusively searching for property online, they are also using interactive 3D imaging software, videos and virtual viewings before making an appointment to see a property in person. This significantly helps both buyer and seller as it enables the purchaser to eliminate unsuitable properties and only go to see those that meet their criteria. It can also save the vendor’s time by weeding out buyers for whom their property is unsuitable.
The advantage of virtual viewing software is that the purchaser can access it 24/7 at any time that suits them, fitting in with busy lifestyles and enabling those who are moving to a different part of the country to avoid a wasted trip. Reducing travel time also has its environmental benefits too. A virtual tour or video enables the buyer to virtually walk through the property, into each room, up and down the stairs and into the garden and get a far better appreciation the size and layout than can be provided by static photos.
Nothing will beat an actual physical viewing for taking on board the intangible feelings a home can provide but it isn’t always possible or convenient. Using the technology that we have at our disposal allows buyers to get the next best thing and a really good feel for a property from the comfort of their own home. If you are relocating from the other end of the country, the time and cost saving is immense!
On average Galbraith sells property worth £72m per quarter in Scotland and the north of England. The use of technology has proved of great benefit to staff, buyers and sellers alike, enabling the best use of time and resources throughout the process.
In Moray the property market continues to be resilient to the current financial market jitters, with strong demand, exceeding the supply of available property, and good offers being made for the most attractive rural homes. The residential lettings sector is also buoyant, with more tenants than there are properties available.
If you are considering selling or letting your home please contact me for an informal discussion.