As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on the economy and forces the UK into a second lockdown, the housing market is booming. However, while demand and house sales are high, it is taking longer for transactions to complete because of the backlog from the first lockdown, limited availability of surveyors and increasingly stringent lending criteria for borrowers.
How can property developers avoid delays, boost sales and keep their development plans on track?
Target customer pain-points in your marketing
The average time it took to sell a house in the UK was over four months before the pandemic. Currently, sales are taking at least a month longer to complete, and that’s for straightforward sales where no property-chain problems arise.
As buyers rush to complete the deals on their dream homes before the end of the stamp-duty holiday on March 31st 2021, the sales process is becoming more and more protracted, and solicitors, conveyancers, estate agents and lenders are struggling to keep up with demand.
By offering frustrated buyers and sellers a better solution, developers can gain a competitive advantage and seize a bigger share of the market.
A new build part-exchange (PX) scheme will provide your customers with a quick, easy and hassle-free way to sell their current homes and buy your properties in one swift transaction. Outsourcing this service to a specialist provider allows you to focus on what you do best — building and selling houses — while giving your buyers a first-class customer experience. As well as boosting sales, PX will reduce delays — you won’t have to wait months for your buyers to sell their existing properties.
Don’t forget to highlight any services, such as PX, that offer added value in your marketing materials, on your website and across social media channels.
Keep up-to-date with changes in the market
As the government struggles to support businesses and boost the economy, it is continually changing regulations and introducing new offers to keep the housing market moving.
Successful developers stay ahead of the curve by monitoring the market and capitalising on any changes. For example, the Help to Buy scheme — which has helped millions of people to purchase new-build properties in recent years — is being limited to first-time-buyers from April 1st 2021.
Make sure you have the most up-to-date information to ensure your buyers are not misled about their options — something that could result in delays and lost sales — and that they enjoy an exceptional experience.
Monitoring changes in the market will also keep your marketing efforts relevant and help you to target the prospects who are most likely to convert into buyers.
Establish excellent communication & build relationships
It’s not always possible to avoid delays in the house-sale process, especially if your customer is buying off-plan and their property hasn’t even been built yet.
Setting expectations early on, being honest about the development timeline and establishing positive communication with your buyers will help to avoid frustrations on both sides. Customers who feel they can trust their developer and rely on them to deliver are also more likely to give positive reviews, which will enhance the brand’s reputation and boost sales.
Building relationships with suppliers and contractors is also crucial for success. Developers need a network of partners they can call upon to get the job done when they need it and to the required standard.
This has never been more true than in the current climate where changing government guidelines and the recession are casting a shadow over the UK economy and making “business as usual” a challenge for every industry. You need people who can come to your aid when there are supplier issues or difficulties getting tradesmen on-site to ensure that project milestones are met and the customer is satisfied.
There is no fail-proof strategy for avoiding delays in property development, especially in the current climate. And a recession will always hit sales across all industries, including the construction and house-building sectors. However, property developers who are quick to adapt to changes in the market and who focus on the end customers’ needs can succeed in 2020 and beyond.
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