Meet Cherrelle Wharton, the Director at Chaad Estates. Cherrelle started...Read More
Meet Matt Lanninge, the founder of The Property Expert, an agency aiming to change the way they approach the customer journey. The Property Expert provides a more bespoke journey for their customers. Here is Matt’s story:
So tell me your story, how did you go about starting The Property Expert?
So, I started The Property Expert just over a year ago because I wanted to do things differently than how it’s typically done in the UK.
I felt that the way that most agents work doesn’t benefit all their clients and felt there must be a way of doing it better.
Yes, in their own right many agencies are successful but for me it’s about ensuring there isn’t a forgotten customer – the ones left still on the market, feeling overly stressed or not getting the maximum value. It’s really about providing the best customer journey and tailoring it to each individual client & property.
The customer is the most important after all. So Matt, could you talk a little bit about how you got started in Real estate?
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve moved a lot and I witnessed both my parents, who separated when I was 7, dabble in property flipping and selling, so property has always been a part of my life.
I naturally had a love for property, I’ve lived in building sites and it just made sense for me to establish my career in it. I started as a tea boy at a land agency in the early 2000s, spent the majority of my career for the biggest agent in SE London and started The Property Expert just over a year ago.
And how has your journey with starting The Property Expert been?
It’s been really really good. Challenging of course. I’ve never been a business owner before so I’ve still got a lot to learn but I’ve really enjoyed it so far and each new client success is sweeter as they come.
Did you feel like you needed to make any changes to the way you conducted business during this pandemic?
I had to pivot right away and immediately moved to a virtual model. The benefit of being a self-employed agent is that I was actually able to do that relatively quickly.
I never say no to change. I’ve always felt very adaptable which made adjusting during this time easier. Opportunity can come from everywhere, so it’s important to keep an eye out for changes as they happen.
I’m constantly trying to learn more to provide my clients with an even better experience. I’ve leant on Keller Williams and other self-employed agents on social media as a source of guidance to allow me to learn from those who are doing it alongside me.
In a way, I’m happy to have started when I did, even considering what this year has been.
To look into the future, what are you looking forward to in the new year?
Well, my model is very different from the one on the high street. I’m all by myself at the moment and I am looking to hire someone in the new year that can help manage the behind the scene operations.
I still want to be responsible for the customer journey, so will continue to do all the viewings and valuations, but I need someone who can help me manage my diary and complete admin so that I can solely focus on my clients & customers.
Tell me a little bit about how your agency is different from other high street agents?
The biggest difference is that everyone deals directly with me to ensure that a higher standard is maintained for all. I add that finesse that is missing in the industry. I ensure that everyone that goes through my agency gets a sterling service and experience. Their needs and requirements are answered and they aren’t just another lead in the database.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just about selling or letting – there is a reason why people sell or let and the customer’s core goal is often forgotten.
The industry has been allowed to rot for too long in the UK, with many continuing to do it badly. I’ve taken my 16 years of experience, considered all the good and the bad, to establish a formula that ensures that my clients & customers are given the best property advice and service.
The second thing is service over profit. I focus on a smaller group of clients, but I want to ensure that they’re getting the best experience. With direct access to me at all times, I’m there to make this journey easier for them.
What do you think will be one of the biggest changes in the industry in 2021?
Definitely the rise of the self-employed model. With the likes of Keller Williams, EXP and many others getting bigger and bigger, I think it’s going to sharpen the top agents and the lesser agents will have to find their place in the race to the bottom.
There are so many different options now, you can sell a house for free or just £99 if you’d like. Between the online route or going to a trusted agent, this gap in the market is only going to get bigger. Individual personalities will shine through. This allows everyone to get what they want, as long as they’re aware of the options.
What about the market?
In regards to the market, a lot depends on what happens with this vaccine rollout and the stamp duty tax in April.
For as long as I can remember there has been talk of a crash. I’ve heard that the London market is going to crash all my life, and it hasn’t. We’ve pushed through a lot of tough times, and the reality is, life goes on and people will always want a roof over their heads. People will always want to live in big cities like London, Paris and New York… and though this pandemic is serious and very different, I personally don’t see that changing.
I do however see an impact on property prices in April should the Stamp Duty Tax holiday come to an end as planned. I think that property prices will dip or level, as people will no longer be incentivised to move, and some deals will fall through as a result which means more ‘stock’ on the market.
Other than Rishi Sunak no one really knows whether there will be an extension or not. So, whatever your readers are hoping for – I’m rooting for you!
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