Homebuyers are more optimistic about looking for their next property since the vaccination roll-out. And as a result, real estate agents have got busier. Bookings have picked up, phone calls have increased, and face-to-face property viewings have resumed.
What has caused this real estate boom?
Over the last year, the housing market has changed across the globe. Prices have increased with the demand to buy and sell. Housing prices in the UK saw a 1.7% increase in September 2021; the largest monthly growth rate since 2007. And in the US, the cost of purchasing a home increased by 20% annually.
Many people are looking to change their housing situation to reflect new lifestyles and fit with new ways of working that emerged over the course of the pandemic.
These popular trends within the housing market have led to people:
- Switching to smaller properties: Due to lack of sufficient funds because of furlough schemes ending and people losing jobs.
- Investing in bigger properties: Families, in particular, have rethought their home environment. Home offices have become a necessity - as well as space for children. In the UK, there has been a higher demand for 3-bedroom semi-detached houses.
- Moving to greener environments: Now that more people have the opportunity to work from home, there is less demand to live in the city. People are seeking greener environments, close to the countryside, and away from the hustle and bustle.
- Swapping for rental properties: Some homeowners are choosing to sell their homes and live in a rental property - short-term and long-term. 24% of US homeowners no longer want/can afford to be homeowners.
What impact has this had on real estate agents?
As property prices continue to rise - clients require an agent’s support to buy and sell at the best price.
With the market at a peak, this means agents are likely to be liaising via phone/email with solicitors, surveyors and financial advisors - and travelling to and from the office, visiting clients and properties. With this comes a lot of paperwork shared between stakeholders - leaving little time to dedicate time to other tasks - such as employee expenses.
With “nonstop” demand expected to only intensify throughout 2021, how can estate agents gain back valuable time and focus on closing deals?
How can expense management increase efficiency?
Real estate agents meet multiple clients a day, driving to different locations, and sometimes, with an applicant as a passenger. They typically have viewings booked into the evening. There are a number of expenses agents face throughout the process of obtaining a new client, listing a house, buying a house, and selling a house. These expenses include:
- Driving clients to viewings
- Staging a house for showings
- Client meals
- Food + drink
- Parking tickets
- Postage fees
- Phone bills
1. Track your mileage instantly
Half of your day will be spent driving to different locations which means more mileage. Mileage tracking on the Webexpenses app, allows estate agents to pinpoint their location from start to finish, and ensure an accurate route.
Need to squeeze in a last-minute viewing? The software will adapt to your route. Simply drag the pointer on the map and add in as many stops as required.
Mileage tracking has helped other estate agents save a significant amount of time and focus on other tasks. And, for some, who previously didn’t claim back fuel and other expenses, have benefited from being reimbursed by their company fairly and accurately.
2. Digital Receipts
On top of mileage, you may need to reimburse additional purchases. Webexpenses’ OCR technology allows you to snap a picture of your ticket, automatically pull through the relevant data, and submit it on the go.
It’s easy to misplace a receipt when you’re travelling to different locations, with little time to organise your spend. The receipt capture is a useful tool to ensure your expenses are automatically in the system, and ready to submit once you’re back at the office.
3. Automatic Receipt Matching
Company credit cards are a great way of managing transactions that occur on a daily basis. Once you’ve taken a picture of your receipt, Webexpenses’ Intelligent Receipt Matching pulls through the credit card transaction and matches it to the correct claim.
Using this feature is also a great way for Finance teams to manage and analyse employee spend accurately. It has helped other estate agents benefit from real-time data available on the Accounts + Admin dashboard - making expenses more manageable, whilst also reducing paper.
Save time and digitally manage your expenses
Administrative duties are already a big part of an agents workload. Digital expense software can alleviate the build-up of unnecessary paper to manage expenses easily and efficiently.
This can reduce your paper waste and save significant time and money as the housing market continues to get busier into the next year.