What’s all this about online agents Andy?
The subject about online estate agents has been rattling along for many a year now, this publicity has increased recently as more and more new businesses launch, most of which saying how they are going to “revolutionise the estate agency world”. I was asked the question recently on my thoughts on these businesses and whether or not I think this is a major threat to the industry, my view therefore…..
I would be foolish to think that an online only model will not affect estate agents market share, there has been many similar threats to other industries which took people by surprise, ask any taxi driver in one of our major cities if they ever expected Uber to come in with such a bang. London black cab drivers must have always felt protected with the fact that to get a licence you needed to pass “the knowledge”, but in fairness why? I have a sat nav, it does the same thing. But what about estate agency though, will sellers look to the web and market their home for sale? Yes, some will, but I fear they will miss the point. These online agents talk about great customer service, where is the great service from just uploading images of your house and entering your credit card details? Most customers in the UK see our industry as simply taking a few pics and then putting them on Rightmove, well I have news for you! Marketing the property is one thing and the portals are one element of that. Having local knowledge on pricing is key, negotiating the best price for your vendor is another massive element and then getting the sale through to completion is all part of our job – and you know what we do it well. So many sales go through because of a good estate agent holding the transaction together, you simply cant get that online.
Yes, there is a market for the online agents, but I don’t believe the high street has seen the back of estate agency branches just yet.