UK vs Australia. What are the big differences in the industry? – Shannon Davis

Shannon Davis, a buyer’s agent from Metropole Properties, has just returned from the UK and reflects on how differently real estate transactions are conducted there and what opportunities exist for investors. Today we talk with him about it.


Kevin:  Shannon Davis is a buyer’s agent in Brisbane, a regular on our show. Shannon has just come back from the UK.
Shannon, thanks for your time.
Shannon:  No worries, Kevin.
Kevin:  I want to ask you this morning in the show just the differences you have noticed with how agents perform in Australia as compared to the UK. What are the big differences in the industry?
Shannon:  I think there are a lot of differences to look at. It’s more of a salaried approach with bonuses in the UK. There’s a lot more in-office time, I tended to see in my time spent in offices there, so fewer open homes and fewer one-on-one interactions, but more hitting the phones and pieces of paper and listings and qualifying that inquiry.
Kevin:  In Australia, the big trend right now is building your database and building relationships. That description you’ve just given me doesn’t lead me to believe that that’s actually the business model in the UK.
Shannon:  Yes. I think they want lifelong fans and clients. There’s a lot more chain sales, which leads to a buyer becoming another sale because you can sell the vendor’s property then. But in the main, there’s some dominance of portals, as well. Zoopla and Rightmove tend to be the big ones in the UK that have the market share. But you can see some rumblings around about more direct websites getting from the vendor to the buyer, as well.
Kevin:  Digital disruption is not new –we’re seeing it in Australia – but is it more acute in the UK right now? In other words, are the portals carving straight through to the buyer and the seller and almost cutting the agent out?
Shannon:  Yes, I think so. But the UK tends to be a more complicated sale because of the amount of chain sales, as well, so I don’t think it will lend itself to that artificial intelligence. I think there will need to be a person at arm’s length to coordinate the sale, and I think that will continue for a while to come. But in saying that, there are plenty of entrepreneurs putting money into this space, and it’s something we need to be aware of.
Kevin:  Yes. I notice in the UK, too, a number of agents I’ve spoken to over there have told us that the agents are becoming a lot more hyper-local. They’re really getting into their own very small niche markets. Did you notice that, as well?
Shannon:  Definitely, and community engagement, like a lot of fetes and council community meetings and things like that. They really are hyping up that involvement. I think print is still in favor, as well, especially in the local publications.
Kevin:  Yes. If they’re going to go hyper-local, then it makes sense to be in those smaller local publications.
Shannon:  Yes, and I think they’re dealing with a more time-poor consumers – long commutes and long hours and having to get the most efficiencies out of that.
Kevin:  Interesting stuff. Shannon Davis, thank you very much. Shannon, of course, a buyer’s agent from Metropole Properties. He’s based in Brisbane, and they are all around Australia. Thanks for your time.
Shannon:  No worries, Kevin. Any time.

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