The UK property market is on the up. Prices are increasing year on year in towns and cities across the country and savvy entrepreneurs are seeing big returns on their investments. As a result, the demand for estate agents and property specific services is higher than ever before and increasing numbers of ambitious entrepreneurs and looking for ways to cash in on the property boom.
Though there is money to be made from buying and selling houses and from building property portfolios, there are still risks involved with investing in the housing market as there is a potential for prices to go down at any time. However, those who invest in estate agencies will be perfectly placed to take full advantage of market trends, especially if they offer lettings services as well as sales.
As franchising is becoming increasing popular in the sector, more and more entrepreneurs looking to enter the housing market are using the model as a way to set up successful and profitable enterprises. So just what are the benefits of estate agent franchising and could a franchise work for you?
Thanks to the huge property price increases of the last 20 years, the amount of money involved in property sales is bigger than ever before. Whether it’s an individual homeowner or a professional investor selling a property, the vendor will want to use an estate agent that they trust and that out ranks the competition.
Entrepreneurs who start an estate agency from scratch will have to build their reputation from the ground up, something that takes time, investment and a huge amount of effort. A franchise however gives entrepreneurs the chance to hit the ground running. By investing in a brand with an established - and trusted – name, franchisees will be able to instantly attract new clients, helping them to grow their business quickly and smoothly.
This is one of the most important aspects of starting an estate agency franchise. It’s very important that the franchisee does their research in order to select the franchise that’s right for their chosen area and their chosen market.
As part of the franchise package, investors will be provided with everything they need to create professional and eye-catching branding. This will help them to establish their business within the marketplace and give their new branch an identity to match other franchises across the country.
The branding will be tried, tested and proven to work, enabling new franchisees to immediately attract business. It also means entrepreneurs won’t have to spend money on graphic designers, web designers or marketing experts when setting up their business.
Training and support
As part of the franchise agreement, the franchisee will generally be provided with training and support when setting up their new estate agency. This support is generally on going, with the head office providing up to date information and sharing the latest techniques, technologies and updates.
This support is often invaluable, especially in the early stages of establishing a new business. Not only does it take the pressure off of the entrepreneur when developing operational techniques, it also gives them a template of procedures that have been proven to work time and time again.
Thanks to the fast-paced UK property market, the profit potential for franchised estate agencies is huge. Though current economic uncertainty is slowing the market in the very short term, overall, the property industry is booming with house prices going up year on year.
This makes sales a very attractive prospect for franchisees, especially if they are based in one of the UK’s property hotspots. In general, estate agents charge between 0.75% and 3.0% of the property sale price. In areas like London, where the average cost of a home is now around half a million pounds, this percentage can quickly add up.
In less affluent areas, estate agents can still make excellent profits by increasing the volume of properties they sell. In emerging property hotspots, houses can often sell incredibly quickly, no matter what their condition or their size.
Though franchised estate agents don’t make as much money from lettings as they do from sales, the demand for rental properties, and the sheer number of deals to be done, mean there are significant profits to me made in the sector. For franchisees located in areas with lower sales levels, or for those in big cities with young populations, lettings will be an important part of the business model and client base.
As property has become unaffordable for many first time buyers, more and more young people have stuck to renting. As a result of this increase in demand, rents have gone up dramatically in recent years, especially in popular locations like London (up 20% in five years), Bristol (up 18% in one year), Manchester and Birmingham.
Franchisees working in these areas would be well advised to invest in franchises that have strong rental credentials and that appeal to the younger market.
Another significant benefit of investing in a franchised estate agency is that it allows ambitious entrepreneurs to expand their business portfolio quickly and easily. As long as they have the time and the energy, franchisees can continue to invest in more branches and more staff. This will allow them to corner the market in their chosen geographical location, using their local knowledge and expertise to expand into the right areas and take full advantage of the booming market.
This potential for growth will be very attractive to many ambitious entrepreneurs, especially those looking to build substantial portfolios and business credentials. However, as each branch a franchisee opens will need support, investment and commitment to get it off the ground, it’s important that franchisees don’t overstretch themselves.
With so many associated benefits, and a high potential for success, starting an estate agency franchise is an excellent option for any investor. What’s more, as the UK property market is increasingly buoyant, now is an excellent time to invest in a business associated with this lucrative industry.