My Real Estate Story: Elliott King

My Real Estate Story: Elliott King

Meet Elliott King, the director at Elliott King. With 10+ years of experience in the industry, Elliott has decided to take the plunge and go self-employed. For Elliott, it was love at first sight at the age of 15. He know from then that the property industry was what he wanted to get into.

Moving through the ranks, Elliott made a name for himself and developed his skills and found his way back to Surrey and Kingston. Taking all that he’s learnt, he finally decided to take the plunge and go self-employed with eXp.

We spoke of how the high street agent model has changed and how estate agency as a whole has changed. The industry is changing and moving towards a more hub-like model now more than ever the focus is on the customer. It is about providing quality rather than just focusing on the number of listings you have.

Hear his story and watch his full interview below.

How are Government Backed Mortgages Are Supporting First Time Buyers?

How are Government Backed Mortgages Are Supporting First Time Buyers?

How the Government is helping first time buyers and what you can do to.

The government has made it possible for first time buyers to purchase their first home by providing them with loan guarantees of up to 20% of the value of the property, as well as offering mortgages at lower rates of interest than those offered to commercial banks and other mortgage lenders.

First Time Buyer Scheme

Whether you are targeting first time buyers or those looking to upgrade, there are lots of government schemes out there designed to help first time buyers with their purchase. The two most common government mortgage schemes offered for first time buyers are: Shared Ownership and Help to Buy. Both give people without large deposits access to low interest rate mortgages for between 25-75% of a property’s value; but they differ quite considerably when it comes to terms and conditions. With Shared Ownership, they buy a share (between 25-75%) of your home and rent what’s left; although you can sometimes buy further shares over time if your finances improve.

The Mortgages Available To First Time Buyers

If you have a first time buyer with a deposit, don’t worry they won’t have to put up their entire deposit. They can use a government-backed mortgage for up to 20% of your home. The best thing about these mortgages is that they come with low interest rates and fees as well as repayment options that suit first time buyers better than those offered by private lenders.

Where Are They Looking?

Where are first time buyers looking to buy? Two cities—London and Birmingham—saw an influx of first-time buyers. New mortgage regulations for borrowers with small deposits, or bank of mum and dad loans which allow parents to put money towards their child’s property purchase, may explain why first-time buyers headed to England’s two biggest cities, with Liverpool close behind.

What can you do?

The government’s Help to Buy scheme has made it easier for many first time buyers to get onto, or move up, on the property ladder. It’s clear that some areas of London have more demand than others, so what does it take for a house to sell? Well simple, you have to know how to target them.

First and foremost you have to tell them that they can actually buy property. Only 22% of young people actually believe that the government scheme is relevant to them (you can read more stats in an article I wrote 2 weeks ago – [How do you attract more first time buyers?](https://xchangeuk.io/2021/09/22/how-can-you-attract-more-first-time-buyers/)). That’s the hard part, from there it’s up to you to do what you do best, sell the dream and a home.

How Gen Z tenants different and how to target them

How are Gen Z tenants different and how to target them

With the rental market active yet again, you must be wondering what is the newest generation of renters? Well, contrary to popular belief, they’re not millennials. In fact, according to one new study, the renters that have just begun entering the market are not unlike baby boomers in many ways. But don’t worry! That doesn’t mean they have the same preferences, or that your property needs to be completely different from your last set of tenants. Let’s take a look at what defines London’s newest generation of renters and how this could affect the way you market to these customers in the coming years.

1. Younger Generation Renters

Generation Z is making its mark on London’s housing market, bringing with it new lifestyle trends and preferences. With younger renters preferring to rent in London, particularly in South East London, compared to their older counterparts (who are increasingly showing a preference for homeownership rather than renting), it appears that young people today are increasingly prepared to make compromises. Many younger-generation renters see renting as a stepping stone between college or university accommodation and homeownership. Indeed, for some of them renting is simply an extension of their parents’ home until they have saved enough money for a deposit on their own place. These renters are looking for places that meet their lifestyle requirements and has space for them to work and to entertain.

2. Priorities

What makes Generation Z so different from millennials? In a nutshell, their priorities. If you’re looking to lease a residential property in London, it pays to learn more about how younger renters think and feel about home ownership. While they may be living in London for a shorter period than their millennial predecessors, they’re making a point to enjoy every minute by living in an environment that suits them best. Thus they are looking for a property that meets those expectations.

3. Work life balance

Generation Z is now entering its prime renter years. With almost ten years separating millennials and Gen Z, it seems likely that these groups will have very different priorities when choosing where to live and what to rent. While there has been much said about London’s millennial population (because they like avocado toast), comparatively we are still learning how to accommodate the newer generation. What we do know is that these renters are more keen to have a good work-life balance while making time for their hobbies and things that bring them joy. Properties with space, a community and access to other like-minded individuals is something that Gen Z really value. BTR developments and with a focus on providing renters a place where they can work and play is a place that would work well for them.

4. Experiences over Material Goods

Gen Z grew up with technology. Their lives revolve around social media and their smartphones while experiencing the new and different. They prioritise their experiences over material goods and want to explore travel opportunities before establishing themselves in a career. We’re seeing them flock to London for its sense of community, vibrant nightlife and culturally diverse community which is much different from other major cities like New York or Los Angeles; they want to be where it’s happening right now. They aren’t afraid to experiment or try new things. It’s why they don’t mind living in small spaces; because they can easily rent out extra rooms if needed.

Gen Z, now forming a sizeable minority in London’s rental population. Compared to millennials, they differ in significant ways: they’re more likely to be working full-time and living on their own; they’re more likely to live with family or as part of a shared household; and though many would like to buy, far fewer actually will. While we can safely predict that Gen Z will grow even further—and we already know plenty about how it differs from older generations. What is clear is that London has changed enormously over recent decades, and that will continue to change.

With the return to normality and the ever consistent demand of renters we are here to support you close more deals. XChange connects and local agents with a vast network of developers, BTR operators and international agents.

How can you be successful in the final quarter of 2021?

How can you be successful in the final quarter of 2021

We’re coming to the end of September, and this year has been a rollercoaster to say the least. We’ve seen all the headlines, estate agents enjoyed all the benefits of the housing boom during the first half the year. Buyers were keen to make the most of the stamp duty holiday in the first quarter, which added more pressure on agents to get the completions finalised in time.

During this time, house prices rose steeply, with an increase of 13.4% in June (The Guardian), and mortgage approvals hit a 13-year high. All of which resulted in a staggering 175% increase in house moves earlier this year (Zoopla).

The market has been an exciting time for everyone, with buyers prioritising space and a work life balance, the proximity to stations is no longer the number one concern as commuting in no longer a significant factor when making property purchase decisions.

Then next few months will be crucial, especially when predictions state that the housing demand is expected to fall. So what can you do to ensure that you can remain successful in this changing landscape:

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Modernise your telecommunication

    • With the changing landscape, one of the things you have to keep in mind is that you have to be available for your clients. That doesn’t mean you need to be in the office bound to the landline or your PC. Present softwares allow you to have a full view on any property or client directly from your phone, no matter where you are.


    • For example, agents and sales teams visiting properties and clients or working remotely should be able to access and make full use of their organisation’s key business phone features – including call recording, conference calling, corporate voicemail, IVR, ring groups, call monitoring, and call logging – on their mobile phone, without any extra hardware, investment in separate business mobile devices or a complicated set-up process.


  2. Develop a stronger relationship with developers


    • With the exciting things happening in the new build sector. Land and site developers can offer agents multiple sales opportunities and additional income pathways meaning you can foster new relationships on the tenant, buyer and landlord side.


  3. Set yourself up as an asset in lettings


    • Now more than ever landlords are looking for agents that give them the support that they need. With the constant changes in the market, customer care will be the secret to survival for most letting agents as a part of their long-term strategic planning process. What is apparent now is that landlords are keen to work with agencies whose prime objective is safety first.


In summary, as always, it’s important to focus on the consumer and building strong relationships across the industry. Be that through improving your own tech or by finding the right proptech tools, the focus remains (as it always has) on building strong relationships, on the consumer and the industry side.

So how can XChange help in ensuring that you’re setup and ready to be even more successful in the last quarter of 2021? It’s easy, we’re here to support you and ensure that you’re able to close even more deals. Here’s how XChange can help you.

  1. Help you connect with developers across London

    • Our vast network of BTR developers and operators are open to collaboration. XChange helps connect you to the right developer in your area.


  2. Provide value to your existing vendors

    • Besides your regular services and listing, to provide real value to your vendor, help them get an even better valuation. Our AI-valuation reports assess your listing to see where it can be improved and how that can help them get the best valuation possible. All of our reports can be white-labelled and ready to go.


  3. You can find the leads, we help you find the properties for them


    • You can focus on the client, let us focus on helping you find the right properties for them to help you close the deal in an efficient manner and ensuring that your competitor doesn’t get there first. With XChange you can collaborate with other vetted agents, making it safe place to collaborate.


We are ready to take on the next quarter, as are our partners. How have you been preparing and what are you looking forward to the most?

How can you attract more first time buyers?

How do you attract more first time buyers?

A study done by Nerd Wallet found that with the 95% government back mortgage scheme as well as other government incentives like Help to Buy and Shared Ownership there are only 15% of working-age people who believe that the schemes could actually apply to them.

Here are some stats that might surprise you:

  • 22% of young people (under 25 years old) believed the government’s scheme was relevant to them.
  •  78% of working-age people feel that they do not have a good grasp of the full support available to help them get on the property ladder
  • 17% of under 35s understood that first-time buyers may not need to pay stamp duty.
  • 19% of respondents did not know that mortgage lenders can consider daily spending habits in mortgage applications.
  • An additional 23% said that they would trust mortgage information from unofficial online forums, such as Quora, Yahoo Answers or Reddit.


Are you surprised? To be honest, I was a little, but not entirely. Let me explain why.

There’s just so much information out there, you have vague ads telling you that you too can buy a house but in the fine print there are rows and rows of restrictions of who the scheme can apply to and who it doesn’t. And let’s face it, they’re tired of being sold to. With all the noise in the market it’s time to simplify and educate.

So, what can you do to  educate the market on the different schemes and in turn get more first-time buyers excited about property?

  1. Create a simple eligibility checklist for each scheme
  2. Reach out to the right individuals on platforms they understand. I.e. everyone’s favourite Social Media
  3. Make it easy for them to reach out to you – set up webinars where everyone can ask questions


Now that there is more and more supply on the market, you can use the new government scheme to your advantage and help people find their home.

To aid your deal process we can help at XChange by sourcing the properties your applicants are looking for. With over 800 partner agents, BTL investors and developers we can source a property for you that would work. Reach out to our team and we’ll get you set up and ready to go.

My Real Estate Story: Sajid Ahmed

My Real Estate Story: Sajid Ahmed

Meet Sajid Ahmed, a property broker at Aaza Estate Agents. A hospitality veteran who took the pandemic as an opportunity to try something different. After taking a break from a 15 year career in hospitality, he recharged and took the leap and joined Aaza Estate Agents. Since then it’s been an incredibly busy and successful journey.

Sajid is bringing his service-side approach from hospitality and applying it to property, proving once again that it all comes down to providing the best experience for your clients. Sajid has also been a partner with XChange for the past couple of months, hear more about how that experience has been.

Watch his interview here: 

My Real Estate Story: Sandra Cole

My Real Estate Story: Sandra Cole

Meet Sandra Cole, a property veteran that has spent over 20 years in the property industry and has recently decided to go off on her own and join eXp as a Property Agent. A dream of hers has always been to go self-employed and eXp has provided her with the support to do just that. We spoke of how the market has changed during the pandemic and how it felt to take a plunge and go out on your own during the pandemic. 


Having spent 30 years in the industry she has seen it all and is confident that the market will remain strong post pandemic. With great optimism she spoke of how the way of the future was to embrace digital while balancing it with the traditional ways. Above all, it was about being their for your client throughout their entire purchase journey. 


Watch her full interview below: 

A higher fee could actually benefit your vendor and move their property faster. Here’s why you should be charging at least 3%

A higher fee could actually benefit your vendor and move their property faster. Here’s why you should be charging at least 3%

The common consensus is that lower fees will attract more vendors, I mean why would a consumer want to pay more when they don’t have to. This thinking is in fact hurting the entire industry as a whole. So let’s break this down, what are your vendors looking for?

  1. An agency that manages the end to end process of selling their property
  2. An agency that is able to sell their property fast. Time is key!


So really if an agent could promise that, why wouldn’t a vendor pay more than 1%? And in reality why should an agent work for 1%? The value a property professional brings to the selling process is far greater than 1% and it’s about time that was acknowledged. So how does the 3% fee actually help sell a property faster.

Well for starters, you’re more likely to get out of bed for 3% but more than that the 3% gives you room to explore more avenues when trying to sell a property. This means you can move past your checklist of Rightmove, Zoople, OTM listings, calls and repeat and move into the collaboration realm. This is often referred to as co-brokering or splits and is when 2 agents pool their resources together to finalise a property sale and split the commission amongst themselves. Usually with one agent bringing the applicant and the other bringing the property.

The rest of the world has been collaborative in this space for a long time. This allows you to close transactions much quicker.  “Almost everywhere else in the world agents openly co-broker deals together to get homes sold because there’s enough fee to go around” said London-based Daniel McPeake, European MD of Nest Seekers International.

So how can you go about doing this? Firstly, value yourself and your business. You know what you’re good at and now it’s time to let your clients know as well. How are you going to ensure that you are letting your properties out faster while also collaborating with agents? We can help with that.

At XChange, we want to make sure that you are closing deals. Get your properties in front of our agency partners based in the UK and internationally, reducing the time needed to close a property significantly. Not only that, but our platform allows for easy collaboration without having to worry about being left in the dust. We make sure that all agents and properties on our platform are vetted, just so that you don’t have to.

With no setup fees and a registration process that takes 2 minutes, what are you waiting for? You can register by following this link.

We’d be keen to hear how and if you’ve already begun collaboration with other property professionals in your area, and what has that been like?

My Real Estate Story: Diana Nicolaescu

My Real Estate Story: Diana Nicolaescu

Meet Diana Nicolaescu, the Head of property management at Fortem Property. Diana found herself pursuing a career in Real Estate after she found a job in the industry. Like most, it wasn’t really something she had planned but after realising she had a knack for it she has grown and is now the head of property management at Fortem.

Fortem is a business that was born in the pandemic and one that has thrived. Proving once again that the property market is as strong as it could be. Providing an end-to-end service Fortem focuses on using tech to provide greater transparency for their customers and tenants.

We spoke of how important it is to embrace technology as a business and a customer to provide a better experience for everyone. That along with the importance of licensing and having credited agents to ensure that a consistent standard of service is provided to customers across the board.

Watch her interview below.

Find us in London

868 Salisbury House

London Wall, London 

EC2M 5SQ 

United Kingdom

020 8064 1431

Logo-bigger-size-3.png

My Real Estate Story: Roberto Saraby

My Real Estate Story: Roberto Saraby

Meet Roberto Saraby, the Branch Manager at Worths Estate Agents. With a background in Sports, post-grad Roberto found himself unsure of what he wanted to do. Starting at a small independent in Finchley, Roberto hasn’t looked back.  Born and raised in Finchley, Roberto is the man to go to for your property needs in the area. With a keen understanding of the industry, we spoke of how the industry has effectively utilised virtual tours and about how the market is ready to continue growing. With the market in Finchley remaining strong, the market looks promising. Here is his story.

 Watch his full interview here below:

Find us in London

868 Salisbury House

London Wall, London 

EC2M 5SQ 

United Kingdom

020 8064 1431

Logo-bigger-size-3.png