Facemasks now required in Agency offices
Paul Offley, Compliance Officer at The Guild of Property Professionals, says the COVID-19 temporary and precautionary measures announced by the Prime Minister are a stark reminder to the sector and the public that the pandemic is ongoing, and it is essential that everyone continues to carry out their business within a COVID-secure manner to reduce the spread of the new variant.
“From today, face coverings are now required to be worn in all shops and on public transport following the emergence of the Omicron variant in the UK. In the guidance issued by the Cabinet Office, the list of ‘shops’ is quite extensive and includes Estate and Lettings Agents, as well as Auction Houses.
“There is no clear guidance with regard to whether agents would need to wear a mask at all times or just when a member of the public is in the office, however, it would appear that it would be at all times unless the agent has screens up or has a locked door policy. Previous guidance states ‘it is recommended face coverings are worn when in an indoor setting with people you are not usually with’,” says Offley.
He adds that the COVID-secure policies within the property sector have been what has kept the sector and people moving over the past 18 months.
“With the new variant and the rate of infections increasing, it is vital that agents continue to act within a safe manner to ensure that they are protecting the public and doing what they can to minimise the spread of the virus,” he says.
“With some potentially challenging months ahead, agents should look to review their COVID-19 operating plan and continue to review working practices to take all reasonable steps to help restrict the spread of the virus,” adds Offley.
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Yopa secures “significant” funding
Yopa, the “full-service estate agency”, grew its revenue by 73% in 2020. Contributing to the rise was a 28% uptick in listing growth with another significant factor being Yopa’s decreasing losses, which fell from £18 million (2019) to £6 million (2020).
The new investment, which has not been given a figure but is said to be “significant”, is to be earmarked for staffing, marketing and support, as well as growing Scout Financial Services, the company’s subsidiary mortgage provider which has, to date, submitted 2,000 mortgages totalling £230m.
Freddie Cornes, Managing Director: “We’re very excited for our future growth plans and to have received further investment from our long-standing investors, demonstrating their ongoing support of our plans for continued growth in 2022 and beyond.
“By focusing on improving marketing efficiency and messaging, our marketing acquisition cost has reduced by 80%. This has allowed us to invest more in marketing activity and central sales teams, which has contributed to record franchisee earnings in 2020 and 2021.
“With record sales performance and market share in 2021, profit and cash flow exceeding expectations, and our exciting win at last week’s Negotiator Awards, we are confident in the future prospects of the business.”
Andrew Stanton is the founder and CEO of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.