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Last month I was thrilled when I found out from figures generated by Rightmove Intel Data that the Hunters brand ranked third in the UK for the number of residential properties sold ‘subject to contract’ throughout 2019. This got me thinking, what in particular is it that we do that keeps us at the top of the table?

When browsing properties on the Rightmove portal, it becomes evident that the face of estate agency is changing; whereas the industry was once completely represented by ‘traditional’ high street branches, recent years have seen the introduction of new formats entering the arena in the form of ‘online only’ or ‘hybrid’ agencies.

Hybrid and online only agents are an option for people that hope to find an economical solution to selling their home, but this often comes at a price…

Online only agencies have no physical office, they also often charge an upfront selling fee that is payable regardless of whether the property sells or not. The homeowners need to be able to deal with most elements of the house sale themselves and may even have further charges to pay when the property sells. Online only agencies are a good way to access portal listings, but the service is heavily automated and, in my opinion, too impersonal. There are no real people to help match potential buyers to the property most appropriate to their needs, or to challenge their search to think outside the box – buyer and seller matching is performed by an algorithm – a bit like online dating…

Hybrid agencies bring a little more to the party, whereas proptech and online services perform the bulk of the house selling tasks, they also have self employed agents that can assist the seller- although hybrids still have no physical branch, they tend to offer a more standard ‘no sale, no fee’ approach and a pricing structure that is more in line with traditional high street estate agents. Hybrid agents rely heavily on automation.

One of the great draws for these types of agency is the reliance in proptech that appears to streamline the marketing and viewings aspects, with some portals even making it possible to submit and accept offers online. Without wanting to scaremonger, the safety and security of vendor and viewers may also be compromised through fully automated services as viewings are usually arranged and completed by the two parties so the vendor may unwittingly give away too much information regarding their personal domestic arrangements; accompanied viewings or an agent knowing when someone is at a property adds a layer of accountability. When it comes to negotiating a buying price or putting in an offer, consumers may be uncertain what is a good deal or people may feel pressured into accepting a price too low; this does concern me as with little or no agent interaction to offer support and advice, how do you ensure the vendor and /or buyer has got the best deal? This aspect is best left to the professionals as a home is usually the largest investment any of us make in our entire lifetime, it needs to be right.

This is where I believe Hunters brand strength comes from – we have a long and secure history of building robust, face to face, relationships with our vendors and prospective purchasers. The ‘traditional’ high street agency office places us in the heart  of communities – I strongly believe that this gives our customers faith in our ability to provide an excellent service – with an office you can visit it makes it possible to deal with the same person, a person that knows exactly what is going on in the local area, where the best places are to look so that a property meets your every need. With our network of offices across the UK we are very well placed to accommodate those customers that are relocating to a completely new area further afield from their current home. With our wrap around service dealing with all aspects of the selling process from marketing and accompanied viewings through to sale negotiations and our ‘no sale, no fee’ policy, our clients can be assured they are getting value for money and a truly unique customer experience. Just because we are ‘traditional’ in our agency structure, we are just as strong as online only and hybrid agencies with our proptech infrastructure, in fact, we have the edge as our progressive technology offers a powerful integration of all the benefits of online services with the added benefit of personal, customer facing expertise.

As I was looking deeper into how the property industry views Hunters, I came across an article written by Russell Quirk, an industry commentator of some renown. He discussed how some of the online only and hybrid agencies performed in contrast to some of the more traditional formats – he divided competitors into two groups, The Ugly Sisters (the less well performing agencies)  and the Cinderellas ( the higher performing agencies) – he classified Hunters as one of the ‘Cinderellas’ and offered this explanation:

“The commonality is that those agency businesses that are doing well are led by people that have actually been estate agents. Those that are doing poorly are led by people that do not have coal-face estate agency experience. Just a coincidence? I don’t think so. […]

“Those companies that are evidently not doing well are all led by those that do not have brass tacks experience in an industry that by my contention absolutely requires such – especially in harder times.”

(Source; estateagenttoday.co.uk. accessed 3/2/20)

And that for me hit the nail on the head – all the services we offer our customers are offered due to the experience of our leadership investing their industry experience into the progressive and successful organisation we are today. Our entire board bring years of relevant estate agency know how and knowledge to shape the company – and this is not some board that rocks up for the occasional board meeting- our board members can be found daily (working) at our York HQ. This hands-on approach is what puts us at the top.

To find out more about our board, you can read all about them here.

If you would like to explore how you can join our successful brand to become part of one of the nation’s favourite estate agent, get in touch with me on 01904 756103.

Andy