Eight out of ten estate agents (85%) have revealed that a physical office is a “vital” aspect to their business.
The news comes as the government announced the closure of all “non-essential” sites due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The survey said although agents have had to quickly adapt to working in lockdown and maintaining their business remotely, most say that they will be returning to their offices once the government has advised that it is safe to do so.
Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, said that a survey was sent to Guild Members asking whether they would consider alternative ways of working and whether they would be reopening their physical offices once the lockdown restrictions had eased.
He said: “While most said that their office environment would need to be set up differently to ensure social distancing restrictions and health guidelines were adhered to, the majority were hoping to return to their offices and keep their agency model as it was.”
“Although websites, portals, social media, and more recently virtual viewing and valuation tools, are key elements to the estate agency, many still feel that a physical office presence and being able to interact with the public will remain a large part of their business going forward, even with social distancing measures in place.”
He added: “While the sector has quickly adapted to using technology and virtual tools, something that may have been considered a gimmick a mere few months ago, the reality is that an estate agency will always be a people business.”
A large portion of the agents believe that the presence of a high street office will continue to enhance their brand. It said it is “important to many house buyers, who want to speak to a property professional in person before making the decision to sell their home”.
The news comes as The Guid of Property Professionals sent a letter to the government stating why estate and lettings agents should be one of the first industries to return to work once deemed safe to do so.
The letter has also been available to the whole industry to make their own representation.
Jon Cooke, group CEO of Eprop Services, parent company of The Guild and Fine and Country said: “As the government establishes a strategy around restarting economic activity, it is important that our industry is allowed to open, operate and transact. Our sector can play a key part in the drive to getting the economy on its feet again.”