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Interview of Lee O’Brien
Written by the Property Investor Today team
Lee O'Brien, Managing Director of iad UK

Who are you and what does it say on your business card?
I’m Lee O’Brien, Managing Director of iad UK.

In your experience, what is the key to running a successful estate/letting agency?
The key to running a successful estate or letting agency boils down to consistency, this is not a difficult business, and you need to do the basics well but consistency is your ace in the pack. Deliver exceptional customer service, foster strong relationships, and leverage modern technology time and time again.

What is the modern consumer looking for in an estate/letting agent?
Modern consumers seek transparency, efficiency, and a consistent personalised service. They value agents who are tech-savvy, responsive, and capable of providing a seamless, hassle-free experience.

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What are your thoughts on PropTech – is it helping agents to be more efficient?
PropTech is revolutionising the industry, and we need it as we have lagged behind other industries in this space. It’s enhancing efficiency, improving client interactions, and streamlining administrative tasks. Tools like ChatGPT built into CRM systems, and AI powered digital marketing platforms allow agents to focus more on building relationships and closing deals.

What is your greatest achievement in your current role and what made it so special?
My greatest achievement has been the successful expansion and establishment of my former business David Lee and the evolution to become iad UK. In the competitive UK market of self-employed platforms the deal was special because it confirmed our vision and belief of empowering agents with the freedom, flexibility, and tools to succeed independently, which aligns with the future of the industry.

What is the most satisfying part of your job?
The most satisfying part is seeing our agents thrive. Watching them grow their businesses, achieve their personal goals, and provide outstanding service to their clients brings a great sense of accomplishment and fulfilment.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing estate and letting agents at the moment?
The biggest challenge for most is always, “Where is my next instruction coming from?” You need to have a plan and a process of how you continue to develop your business. Outside of this is that agents are having to adapt to the rapidly changing technological landscape while maintaining a personal touch in client interactions. Balancing digital transformation with traditional relationship-building is crucial.

What is your property prediction for the remainder of 2024?
With a General Election only a week away, Inflation dropping, Mortgage Rates about to come down we are all making educated guesses on what happens next. However, the feeling from the market is that there is positivity, transactions so far this year have been really strong and there are lots of available properties. If the base rate starts to come down and our new elected government throws some gifts at the housing market we could see a real flurry of activity over the next six months.

Country house or city apartment?
Country house – there’s nothing quite like the tranquillity and space of a country setting.

Trendy roof terrace or traditional English garden?
Traditional English garden – I have two boys and a Hungarian Vizsla to entertain at home so need space.

Would you rather be a free-moving tenant or settled owner-occupier?
Settled owner-occupier – owning your home brings a sense of stability and long-term investment for me and my family.

What is your favourite room in your home?
The kitchen/family room we have is my favourite part of our house – it’s the heart of our home where we gather, cook, and spend 80% of our time.

Homes under the Hammer or Location, Location, Location?
Location, Location, Location – it’s good to see buying agents at work and give the public an insight into the mindset shift clients have to go through with compromises to find a home suitable for them. (the perfect one rarely exists)

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