Being a self-employed estate agent is an increasingly popular option for those who want to start their own property business or diversify their existing property business. When we think estate agent, we usually imagine an office on the high street and a big team, but this isn’t always the case. From browsing the listings to virtual viewings, a lot of estate agency has shifted online. However, local knowledge is still essential – and this is where self-employed estate agents come in.
So, how does it work? Here’s our guide to becoming a self-employed estate agent:
1. Decide if you want your own brand or be part of an estate agent franchise
These are the two main routes to becoming a self-employed estate agent. Either you set up your business from scratch under your own brand, or you can join a franchise. There are different risks and responsibilities associated with each option.
With your own brand, you’ll have complete autonomy over your name, branding and operations, but you’ll also have full responsibility for all your set up costs, marketing and systems. If you choose this route, an experienced mentor is advisable.
Working with a franchise means that you’ll work under an existing brand which reduces set up costs, plus you have a ready-built network and source of advice. All this helps you to hit the ground running and focus on getting those first listings. As you’re self-employed, you’re responsible for your financial income and outgoings.
2. Pick a franchise which has a self-employed estate agent model
There are various self-employed franchise models available. As well as doing your research online, arrange some initial chats with your favourite franchises to get a feel for what they are offering and if you are a good fit.
What to look for:
– They have a franchise model designed for self-employed estate agents
– They clearly explain what’s on offer, what support you will get, and what you’ll be paying
– Check what training and support is included, as one of the biggest perks of being part of a franchise you’ll want to make the most of this
– Ask to speak to some of their franchisees to hear their experiences first-hand
– Find out who else operates nearby as chances are this will be your referral and support network
3. Set up your estate agency business
Now the exciting bit happens – setting up your business! Here’s what you need to consider:
Your online presence: You’ll need to create your website. Don’t worry if this is basic to start as you can edit this down the line. The most important thing is to get this up and running so that potential customers can contact you.
Set up your social media channels and create your first posts: Think about where your customers will be and start with nailing one or two channels before branching out. A good starting point is to aim for 3-5 posts a week on Facebook and Instagram and get a feel for what’s working there before exploring YouTube and TikTok. If you’re struggling for what to post, then why not share your journey starting a business?
Create an account with the main property portals: The vast majority of people
start their search for a new home with a portal such as Rightmove or Zoopla, so you need to be on there, ready for your first listings.
Get your tech in place: From managing contractors and landlords, to keeping track of your enquiries and listings, there’s a proptech solution for everything. Do your research and due diligence to get the right tools in place.
Get compliance right from the start: You will need to have the appropriate insurance in place as well as registering with industry bodies such as PropertyMark and The Property Ombudsman.
4. Launch your business
It’s time to get out there and find your first listings. The easiest way to do this is via your existing network, so make sure that you tell everyone what you’re doing and what you have to offer. If you’re doing this via social media, remember that not everyone will see every post, so you’ll need to keep posting and sharing.
Get some postcards and business cards printed, and put these through letterboxes and on noticeboards in your local area. It also helps to tell the local press and magazines about your launch – everyone loves a local success story.
Make sure you’re following up every single lead, and encourage referrals and word of mouth where possible.
5. Ongoing training and marketing
Once you’ve launched your business, it doesn’t stop there.
Property legislation and regulations are always changing, so you’ll need to keep on top of this through training, memberships and keeping an eye on the property news.
PropTech is also constantly evolving, so being up to date with this can help introduce time-saving automation and tools to your business. For example, did you know that you can write property descriptions with AI?
You’ll also need to keep marketing your business and listings post-launch. This will include keeping your website/webpage up to date, posting on social media and distributing your marketing collateral locally.
We might be biased, but it’s worth mentioning that taking the franchise route as a self-employed estate agent means that you’ll get hands on support with setting up and launching your business. Century21 UK has tried and tested marketing templates, an existing network of agents to tap into and you can take advantage of our tech and tools.
Check out our Solo offering for self-employed estate agents
and get in touch with the team.