Over 2,300 buyers and sellers who had moved home during 2021 have taken part in a new survey conducted by Fine & Country in conjunction with the Property Academy, with a mix of both expected and surprising results.
The Home Moving Trends survey was conducted to better understand the underlying drivers of customer satisfaction during the buying process and to track changes in consumer expectations as well as the industry.
According to Nicky Stevenson, MD of Fine & Country UK, the survey revealed that the number one reason for moving during 2021 was lifestyle change or a change of scenery, followed by people looking to upsize.
Nicky says: “The desire for lifestyle elements and more space has been a running theme throughout the property market over the last 18 months. As has the desire for a garden, which 62% of respondents said was the most important requirement when looking for a new home. The second most important aspect was broadband speed, which is understandable considering the higher number of people working remotely."
Stevenson says that what is interesting to note is that when asked how long they had lived in their current property before putting it on the market, the highest percentage of home movers were those who had been in their home for between one and five years (28%), with the second-highest percentage being those who had lived in their home for between six and ten years (25%).
She adds: “We would have expected people to have lived in their properties for longer before selling, however, more than half of the respondents had been in their homes for less than ten years before going to market."
Stevenson notes that while 20% of home movers changed from one agent to another during the sales process, most sellers stayed with the agent they selected first.
She says: “When asked why they selected the agent they did, three of the most important aspects were the seller’s confidence in the agent’s ability to market their home, the agent’s market knowledge and the fact that the seller liked and trusted the agent.
“The most important attributes sited by sellers when establishing trust with an agent included an agent’s ability to listen and understand the seller’s needs, being courteous and professional, and being knowledgeable and informative.”
According to the survey, 61% of sellers visited the agent’s website before appointing them.
“This just shows the importance of having a good website and a strong digital presence. According to respondents the most important features on an agent’s website are quality images, the property search function, and for the website to be easily viewed on a mobile.", says Stevenson.
She continues: "Other aspects mentioned included video tours, local housing market information and the ability to book viewings online. When it came to the most important aspects regarding the information about the properties, 72% of respondents said floorplans were essential, quality of images was again mentioned, as was the description of the property and map or street view.
“The pandemic both prompted and accelerated new ways of marketing a property digitally. Many respondents pointed out that they would like to see more virtual tours on agents’ websites, along with more virtual tours on the portals. Virtual tours and videos continue to grow in importance and are becoming a must-have in an agent’s marketing quiver. It opens up the property to a far wider audience and helps buyers to view a property from the comfort of their home.”
Stevenson says that despite people wanting more digital elements when searching for a property or marketing their homes, when it comes to communication methods between themselves and their agent, sellers preferred feedback over the phone.
“Interesting to note that Zoom or chat was the least preferred method. With many people working remotely and conducting much of their business over video calls, we are perhaps seeing signs of people feeling certain fatigue when it comes to this type of communication. Sellers selected a phone call as their top choice when it comes to receiving feedback from their agent, followed by email.”
She concludes: “People are looking for trustworthy, knowledgeable agents who have the ability to successfully market their property, who are willing to provide regular feedback and expert advice over the phone.”