UK estate agents are some of the worst paid in the industry around the world. London estate agent, Agent & Homes says that they could improve their earnings by embracing ‘disruptive business models’ including flexible working hours.
In recent research by Yell Business, it was found that out of 25 surveyed countries, the UK ranked 24th for average earnings of estate agents. The average salary for estate agents in the UK is £19,843, and the only country with a lower salary was New Zealand, with an average of £18,845.
Meanwhile, the typical annual earnings of agents in other locations such as Saudi Arabia (£62,931), China (£55,481) and Brazil (£44,482) dwarfed those of property professionals operating in the UK.
The typical estate agent commision has been rapidly falling in recent years, with the average commision dropping by 1.2% in 2019 alone. The drop has been blamed on online competitors as well as overall low public trust in the industry.
According to Agent & Homes, a combination of factors means that the traditional estate agency model in the UK stifles earning potential for agents.
“High street offices cost a lot and that inevitably has an impact on agents’ salaries – particularly those not operating in the most senior positions,” explains Rollo Miles, co-founder at Agent & Homes.
“What’s more, the commission structure in which the company receives the selling fee from which the agent receives a small cut is limiting and does not provide the incentive to be a top performer.”
Agent & Homes’ other co-founder, Bob Crowley, argues that an over-supply of high street agencies is having a negative effect on average fees.
“High street agents have created this situation of low-salaried staff by expanding in the same geographical areas to such a degree that the number of high street agents simply outweighs the needs of the consumer.”
“Sitting around in a high street office all day is energy-sapping. A happy agent is a productive agent. The agents should be able to dictate their own time and how they expend their energies. They should be able to choose when and where they want to work to fit in with the modern consumer,” says Crowley.
How can a fresh approach help agents to earn more?
The main benefit of agents who embrace more flexible business models is that they can earn higher commission fees and ultimately take home a higher wage packet each year.
“Property professionals who work for agencies like ours do not have their commission eaten up by a large brand that has to pay for expensive high street offices and other overheads,” says Miles.
“What’s more, agents with a more flexible pattern who manage their own workload will be more motivated, have higher productivity levels and therefore increase their chances of producing better results.”
Crowley adds that the problems with low fees and high workloads are present at every level of estate agency.
“It is obvious that a firm like Agent & Homes, paying up to 80% commission, is going to prove attractive to seasoned performers who are being treated appallingly by champagne-quaffing suits at head office.”
Miles adds that a flexible model allows agents to focus on selling and letting homes with no need to tick boxes for corporate satisfaction. This, he says, provides them with additional time to spend on fostering long-term and meaningful relationships with their clients.
“This combination of reasons is why opting to work for a dynamic new agency like Agent & Homes could see the average agent earning a lot more money each month, while also being happier in their career,” says Crowley.
“Our top performer earned well over £200,000 last year,” he concludes.