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The language of lettings in 2020


It would be hard to choose a ‘word of the year’ for 2020, with so many new remarks and phrases slipping into our everyday language. From Covidiot and curve to pandemic and PPE, words we’d utter once in a blue moon are now used with surprising frequency.

A new lexicon of language has even developed in the property sector, with ARPM taking a lighthearted look at the conversational ‘new entries’ that have been tripping off the tongue in 2020.

Furlough: Rishi Sunak borrowed this term from the military, although its roots are Dutch. We’re all now familiar with the furlough scheme – a way of staying employed but not working or earning a salary.

The ‘Old Normal’: used to refer to pre-Covid times when handshakes still sealed the deal, appointments were not always necessary and six people were allowed to bundle into a small bathroom during property viewings.

The ‘New Normal’: many of us draw this line in the sand at the beginning of March 2020, when pasta and toilet rolls became valuable currency. Thankfully, the lettings sector quickly adapted to the new ‘hands, face, space’ normal, continuing to run at pace during the pandemic.

Artificially inflated market: no one can argue that the sales market needed a shot in the arm and the injection came in the form of the stamp duty holiday. With a set end date and thousands rushing to compete within the timeframe, the Government’s stimulus has been blamed for forcing a fake market.

Off a cliff edge: agents continue to worry about the end of the stamp duty holiday, with a petition to extend the initiative failing – despite gaining over 100,000 signatures. The fear is that viewings, offers and interest will fall away or abruptly stop come 1st April 2021.

15 minute viewings: super quick viewings have replaced leisurely strolls, with the clock ticking as soon as people step foot inside. With 15 minutes in which to appraise a property, photos, floorplans, videos and virtual tours have never been more important.

Bounces: in January we had the Boris bounce – the effect of a resounding General Election result – followed by the Rishi bounce in July, when the stamp duty holiday was announced. Now some forecasters say there will be a Brexit bounce, with a surge of property activity as soon as negotiations with the EU conclude.

Lifestyle moves: 2020 will go down as the year many people evaluated their priorities, with a hankering for more space and countryside surroundings. In London, it is reported that almost half of renters looking to move have said they will quit the capital in 2021.

Zoom room: we all had to learn video calling etiquette pretty quickly but enthusiasm soon ran out. A return to emails and phone calls as the preferred method of communication is most welcome, after tiring of the pressure to get ready for the Zoom room.

WFH: typing in your tracksuit is now a credible way to work. Agents have realised that a decentralised approach doesn’t dent productivity, with home working and remote operations actively reducing overheads.

ARPM is an industry leader when it comes to decentralised, remote working. Our outsourced property management business is well established, and has allowed letting agents to streamline and cut expenses without compromising service levels for over a decade already.

Discover how your lettings business could be healthier and more robust by talking to ARPM. We’ll definitely speak your language.

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