2019 Looks Tough for London Estate Agents – Here’s How They Could Survive

  The years following the financial crisis in 2008 were extremely tough for London estate agents. The downward fall of house prices as well as very low consumer confidence sent many an agency to the wall. Could 2019 be even worse?


No-one can say with certainty how estate agents will fare in 2019, but the signs aren’t promising. First, with homebuyers and Londoners generally getting pre-Brexit jitters, it’s obvious that the housing market is in a state of limbo. Buyers and even tenants are increasingly nervous about moving home. When people start delaying house purchases – and that’s certainly happening – agents get worried. Very worried. If homes aren’t selling, London estate agents can see their profits dry up.

2019 looks difficult for London estate agents - UnderTheDoormat are here to help.
UnderTheDoormat have a great solution for London estate agents in 2019.

Potential Problems

In addition – as if the cold winds from Brexit didn’t present enough of a problem – estate agents have another big headache to contend with. In May 2018, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP (the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government) introduced the Tenant Fees Bill. On the surface, it all seemed rather honourable. The change in the law would ban letting fees across England, with the aim of bringing transparency, helping tenants save money and making the market fairer. The government has claimed that this measure could save tenants approximately £240 million a year. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

However, there’s an unexpected catch – if you’re an estate agent.

With intense competition on the high street and the expansion of online estate agents who often charge zero commission, margins for estate agents are slim and rely on high turnover. Agents sometimes have to charge letting fees to make ends meet. Anecdotal evidence suggests that these fees can be worth up to 30% of a branch’s business. When the change in the law banning letting fees comes into effect in spring 2019, many London estate agents will struggle financially, and a large number may go bust.

How UnderTheDoormat Could Help

So: if you’re an estate agent – especially one who deals in lettings – how can you survive this rough period and make ends meet?

London short-letting specialists UnderTheDoormat could well be the answer. Savvy London estate agents have already realised that they need to make changes, and are turning to UnderTheDoormat as a way of supplementing their business. How? As a leader in short-lets in London, UnderTheDoormat are experts in this burgeoning hospitality sector. The company relies on a supply of high-end London homes that lie empty for periods of the year (typically while their homeowners are working abroad or simply taking a holiday). Wise estate agents are already beginning to realise that partnering with UnderTheDoormat presents a perfect solution for their clients: once UnderTheDoormat are on board, estate agents can introduce any interesting homes that are either simply not selling; are vacant (since the owners have moved out); or are not being let out and there’s a void period.

As short letting is permitted for up to 90 days a year in London, there’s no conflict of interest – and the overall objective is to work together to ensure clients are happy with all the options available in a tough market. UnderTheDoormat allows partnered estate agents to maintain the relationship with the homeowner while they focus their attention on looking after the guests. Partnered agents receive a healthy percentage of homeowner revenue for every night booked.

Better still, there’s very little work the estate agent needs to do once the concept has been introduced to the landlord or vendor. UnderTheDoormat takes care of everything: from marketing of the home, to vetting the guests, providing insurance for the home, and cleaning the home at the start and end of each guest stay (and even through to the provision of hotel quality bedlinens and towels.)

If you’re a London estate agent and you’d like to discuss a partnership with UnderTheDoormat, contact us on +44 207 952 1650 or drop us as line at hello@underthedoormat.com today. Together we’ll navigate the headwinds of 2019 and ensure that your clients’ properties are well taken care of throughout the year. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help you!

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