Traditional Estate Agent vs Online vs PayAsYouGo vs … …

Has this now gone past a debate and is more a serious competition within the industry of ‘selling and renting homes’ where which ever corner of the ring you sit at you are appealing to the consumer via how you stand out against each corner over how good your service is? OK, so maybe I haven’t put that in perfect black and white, so is it a mini war within the industry for each corner to prove themselves over the other?

Purely my own view, not being an estate agent (been some years since I was one), that an Estate Agent is the art of selling / renting homes, a service that a consumer uses in order to achieve a sale / rental? No matter what way this is approached, traditional high street estate agency, online estate agency (though nearly all traditional estate agents are online also), hybrid or even sticking to purely being on Rightmove or Zoopla – It is all within what could be a verb itself, estate agency?

What does a search online tell us, ie Wikipedia:

“An estate agent is a person or business that arranges the selling, renting or management of properties, and other buildings, in the United Kingdom and Ireland.” Direct quote from Wikipedia.

I think the industry has to agree that online estate agents are making their mark within the industry, many are gaining millions of investments in order to increase their market share, maybe not all agrees with this or the facts and figures do not calculate correctly to see a return on investment with them, but whatever happens the consumer still see names like PurpleBricks or HouseSimple via adverts on television and across the internet. HouseSimple with 100,000 + views on their video on YouTube.

What the consumer now has is choice. A choice above just which local high street estate agent will they choose to deal with, but a choice in how they want to approach selling/renting their home in an age that online and social media is growing in importance and many of us are taking to ordering online over walking the high street for goods, ie ordering takeaways, clothing, holidays and much more… The high street is certainly not dead and I can never see it being dead so the estate agent on the high street will always get seen and their services used, but for sure as online agents increase their exposure and consumers get used to them ‘being there’ then each side has to take serious consideration of each other going forward. Shall I pop to my local estate agency in the town centre or should I sit at home with a cup of coffee and order a pack online to sell my home and someone will turn up to do what’s needed to get in up on Rightmove in hours… ? It’s a thought process many will have… though of course each agency type can be called up and I’m sure the traditional high street estate agent will be at your door a lot quicker.

Let us not forget that many traditional estate agents fees are in fact not immense, especially compared to other countries, and if they achieve a sale / rental, then just like in any other industry, they deserve to charge their fee for their service (as long as that fee is clear to the consumer from the outset). A consumer has the right to decide if he/she/they want to get more value for money by thinking cheaper is better via online (and results from online agents are proving this statement is true) and this important factor is what all forms of estate agents needs to look closely at going forward.

What is stopping an high street estate agent to not only offer traditional estate agency services, but an online estate agency version of their brand too which they can reduce the services they offer within that package to enable it to be accommodated within their business plan going forward? ‘If you choose an online estate agency over us then we will match their offer’ as in all honesty, the traditional high street estate agent is also an online estate agent anyway with their presence on Rightmove/Zoopla/OnTheMarket and via their website?

We have pay you upfront systems such as that with Loyalty Scheme  which offers consumers payments in advance so that it secures that property to be legally under their books when that property eventually comes to market. PayAsYouGo is also an option now with varied agencies out there to choose from so the consumer, within time, is going to have as many choices as they would when popping in to Carphone Warehouse looking for a new mobile phone contract.

What will be next? Just where are we going with Estate Agency? How far can concepts go in driving down the costs for people to sell / rent homes… ?

 

Christopher Walkey

Founder of Estate Agent Networking. Internationally invited speaker on how to build online target audiences using Social Media. Writes about UK property prices, housing, politics and affordable homes.

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