Christopher Walkey, Founder of Estate Agent Networking, looks in to Traditional vs Online / Hybrid Agencies:
We all see that technology is moving forward increasingly quickly these days and along with this the internet is opening up whole new worlds for people and in deed changing the way people think and lead their lives. If it is Donald Trump installing himself as the new President of the USA to booking your next taxi, the internet along with its partner in crime, social media, are making big waves for many people and businesses.
The way that we look for and buy/sell/rent property has also changed and is evolving before our eyes thanks to the advancements within proptech. For the end consumer, estate agency is a divide between the traditional and not so much loved over the years, high street estate agent to the new wave of online / hybrid agencies that seem to be hitting the ground running with endless financial backers and a marketing drive of reducing fees.
So, modern internet times, agencies fighting to find new stock and a reducing fee mentality in order to win business – Isn’t this the best time to be a consumer looking for or selling property?
“Why should you use an online estate agent? In a nutshell… to save money! Traditional estate agents can charge anywhere from 0.75% to 3% of the total selling price of a property. This means that if you’re selling a property for £250,000, an estate agent could charge up to £7,500 – On the other hand, online estate agents tend to charge a small fee of between £300 and £1,200 and offer many of the same services as a traditional estate agent.” Yopa Online Estate Agency quote from their website.
Slashing estate agency fees from online / hybrid agencies, just how can traditional agents compete? Well, as we are seeing, the if you can not beat them then join them mentality is being adopted by some, ie Countyrwide, so a face to face fight is already in action – Though a dangerous move many say as how can a traditional agency, with many more overheads, cope with lowered profits? It goes even deeper, and maybe fear / foresight in action, but main traditional agencies are also investing in their rival online / hybrid agencies such as that from Savills and Yopa.
Many will say that online / hybrid is the way to go, why should I be paying for all their fancy offices and brand new BMW company cars, why should I pay £10,000’s in fees when I can pay just £100’s instead… I mean, isn’t it the fact that 98% of property searches commence online and you only really need to be on Rightmove to sell your house? Though of course we are talking about property here, for many the biggest asset we own, so why risk a cheap and cheerful offering when to guarantee results you should be avoiding the you get what you pay for moto altogether and investing in a better service to deliver results?
Traditional estate agents is obviously a much lesser risk compared to online / hybrid isn’t it? I mean, no sale no fee over pay now and cry later if we do not deliver would be the advice many people would offer you including your parents and especially if traditional estate agents have a much higher potential to sell your property than their online rivals. Yes, we all want to pay less for things, but we also want results and in today’s world we also do not want to be hanging around too long? Around where I live there are now quite a few online and hybrid agency boards up… I am still waiting for one to have a sold SSTC added to it…
Does the online / hybrid option give a better control of things to the consumer and if so, is this is what they want? Not only better control, but bigger savings too and you can still have more or less everything required that achieves a sale such as a listing on Rightmove / Zoopla and professional photography – But I question something and that is ‘if consumers are just has happy to run with a property for sale via online / hybrid than by a trusted high street agency‘? This will of course change as names such as Purplebrick, eMoov and Yopa become household names and continue to mount up their TustPilot ratings, but for now what will consumers think of purchasing a property through Purplebricks… does it spell cheap and nasty, untrusted yet and unproven?
So, pay now and it’s cheap and cheerful and you could sell or the tried and trusted with a better chance of selling and no payment up front regardless of selling or not?
Author: Christopher Walkey
Founder of Estate Agent Networking and an internationally invited speaker on how to build online target audiences using Twitter and LinkedIn.