I was having a chat with a good friend the other day about Eye on Spain and how we plan to grow it substantially over the next few months. As with any business we are always restricted by two factors, money and time. We have the knowledge, ideas and enthusiasm to grow it and drive it forwards.
The “time” factor we can easily overcome. Improve efficiency, hire more staff, etc. Time isn’t really an issue, we just think it is. I often hear many people tell me that they would love to start their own business but they just don’t have the time. Rubbish. Everyone has time. Get up an hour earlier in the morning, go to bed an hour later in the evening and if you really want more time….throw the telly out the window (just make sure no one’s walking by first!).
But the ‘money’ factor is more complicated, so we’ve been looking at some options to bring in some more cash so that we can further develop the website (and others too). We have some good ideas but my friend suggested we become an estate agent!!!
What a crazy idea, what with the Spanish property market being relatively slow and the fact that we are not sales people and we didn’t come here to sell property.
But actually, is it such a crazy idea? We spent a bit of time looking into this and actually we came to the conclusion that there’s probably never been a better time to get involved in selling property in Spain.
Now you must think I’ve really lost it…but let me explain, and for anyone contemplating coming to Spain to sell property then take notes!
With Eye on Spain we are in quite a unique position in terms of our view of the market and who’s buying what and where (although predominantly off plan). We have a good feel for buyer demographics and we know what people want and what their frustrations are. How do we know what we know? Our forums.
We have over 600 active development forums covering developments all across the south of Spain and also our general Spain forum. We monitor these EVERY day. We monitor them not to pry but to moderate them. They have in turn given us an immense understanding into buyer behaviour and the problems they encounter and most of all….their frustrations!
Couple that with the many requests we get from people who already think we are agents and we could easily be selling property here in Spain. In fact, I truly believe that if tomorrow we opened our doors as a real estate company selling property here we would be inundated with requests. Why?
- No matter what anyone tells you there is always going to be a demand for property in Spain.
- We’ve built up a trusted reputation over the years before we even considered selling property.
- We flood our members with FREE information every week through our newsletter articles, podcasts and sometimes even videos.
- We have open forums on the site where buyers can share ideas, photos, information, etc, as well as making new friends.
- We have the knowledge through three years worth of feedback and monitoring discussions to know what the buyer wants.
In other words we would do well selling property because WE’RE DIFFERENT. We wouldn’t just be jumping in head first, we’ve been around for a while and even though some people hate us (yes there are some, although I won’t name any names) most people actually like us because we’re open, honest and up-front….words many estate agents in Spain couldn’t even begin to utter.
To be honest though, I’m not a salesman and even though we could take on sales people we are not here to sell property, which is a shame as we could easily use the cash generated to build up Eye on Spain even quicker.
But I’m new, could I still sell property in Spain?
Yes, of course. I still see new estate agencies opening up in Spain, despite the fact that many are closing down. Do they know something we don’t? Probably not. The new ones will probably be keen and work very hard to build their business, whilst the ones closing down will be doing so because their whole attitude will have changed with the slow down in the market and the need to reduce overheads.
If you’re new on the scene you can take advantage of the fact that many of the more established players tend to be more stuck in their ways and tend not to do anything too radically different, even if they aren’t making so many sales any more. And today’s buyer is very different to yesterdays. Those who adapt succeed.
Be different and don’t be afraid if people don’t like you and what you’re doing. I had someone unsubscribe from our newsletter a couple of weeks ago stating the reason for unsubscribing as “I hate your chatty patronising style”. Three years ago that would have upset me but in business you soon realise that not everyone is going to like you or your business.
I really don’t think it’s such a crazy idea starting out selling property in Spain now. You just have to be different and earn a reputation for yourself. Give, give, give and then give some more before you even contemplate taking anything from anyone.
One of the main areas I think a newcomer should focus on is in selling the lifestyle, not property. You buy a drill because you need to make a hole, not because you want a drill. You generally buy a house in Spain because you WANT the lifestyle that goes with it, not because you NEED a house in Spain. This is where I see so many agents go wrong. Lots of new property websites spring up every day but they are all the same, just a property search engine. Boring! Move on, be different.
Here’s an idea that I haven’t seen anyone use yet and I think would work really well (remember I’m not a salesman). Many property websites have a feature where you can enter the type of property you’re after and then when a property fitting your criteria is added to their database you get sent an email with the property details. Great, but rather boring really.
How about you get people to sign up for a “7 Days in Spain” series of emails. You set up an autoresponder to email them a different email every day, from Monday to Sunday. Each day is say a video or pictures with text of something to do on each day in the area showing the lifestyle in the area. Beach on the Monday, eating at the Chiringuito on the Tuesday, water park on the Wednesday, visiting a pretty village on the Thursday, etc.
These can then be tied in with the property alerts in the area too….
Don’t just give buyers details of properties, they are buying a lifestyle, give them information about the area. Local events information, like when the next feria is on, what banks are in the area, which schools, etc, etc. I could go on for ever on this….
What’s interesting is that in many of our forums people often link to agent websites (particularly new ones) which have loads of up to date information about their development and area. These agents have gone the extra mile to offer much more than just lists of properties available.
I’m just thinking out of the box here but what I’m saying is that real estate in Spain isn’t dead, far from it, there are still huge opportunities for those who choose to think out of the usual box. My prediction is that it’s probably the “new kids on the block” that will bring the fresh ideas here to get the Spanish property market buzzing again.
By the way, although I said we wouldn’t sell property ourselves that’s not to say that we don’t have plans to do something a bit different….watch this space.