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An alliance that could strengthen the housing chain

Brokers can add value to estate agents’ propositions as both professions fight to survive the market slowdown

KATIE TUCKER, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, PRIVATE FINANCE
KATIE TUCKER, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, PRIVATE FINANCE

If you work with an estate agency what can you do to make the most of this month?

On my round of our estate agency partners, every single director I have met has told me they expect a quiet period and fewer sellers as everyone hesitates to make property moves before the general election.

Even at the busiest branches the looming poll seems to be distracting sellers’ minds from the task in hand.

While the Conservatives are Information Packs after a consultation process should they come to office, the cost of a pack is unlikely to be sufficient to put sellers off.

No, it seems to be more about the general air of suspense – after all, this election is more worrying than most.

A hung parliament is possible and that threat alone could cause a second economic downturn as individuals hesitate to make changes in their lives for fear of yet more job losses.

And, of course, if politicians end up arguing among themselves not much work will get done and less legislation will be passed.

What our economy is in dire need of is direction, decision and action.

You only need to look to Iceland and Greece to see the disastrous consequences of allowing the economy to slip.

Agents feel that clients show more loyalty when they are dealing with a broker and a negotiator in the same office

Set against that gloomy backdrop it’s worth remembering that there’s a lot brokers can do to cheer their local estate agents up.

In fact, they should be aware that they can add tremendous value to their estate agency partners at a time like this.

Oddly, it’s often not about the extra revenue a broker can bring into an estate agent’s branch but rather that many of the latter are motivated by having some feeling of control over the financial aspect of housing transactions.

And agents feel that clients show more loyalty when they are dealing with a broker and a negotiator in the same office.

As of April 2011 the Stamp Duty payable on properties over £1m will be 5%.

This delay before the duty increase at the top end is crucial and estate agents should tailor their marketing efforts to ensure it works to their advantage.

Sellers of larger properties who might have been considering moving into £1m-plus houses in the next few years could be motivated to bring their moves forward to before April 2011.

We are working with our estate agent referrers on dual-branded mailouts while there’s so much to talk about. After all, we are our agents’ financial experts.

This election means that everyone involved in the property and investment sectors will see significant change in the next few years.

Lessons learnt about lenders that relied too heavily on the securitisation market for their funding, along with the pricing of financial products including mortgages so they more accurately reflect the risks involved, are bound to be integrated into government legislation.

The important message to get across to your introducers is that you are part of the team when it comes to the advice consumers are given as well as the security of their home, their assets and their financial arrangements.

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