What is the real difference between Estate Agents and Online agents?

 If selling a house was as easy as selling a car on AutoTrader there would be no Estate Agents.

But it isn’t that easy. It is widely reported that only the stress from divorce is considered worse than selling a home. Inexperienced first-time sellers don’t understand that, which is why they are the prime source of instructions for online agents.

There is a reason why the overwhelming majority of homeowners still freely choose to instruct traditional estate agents, even though they are fully aware that they could choose to sell privately or go the AutoTrader-style route of an online agent.

Done well, selling a property at the highest price in the shortest time is the reason many local independent expert agents can still command better fees than their competitors, but being this good is extremely difficult.

A great local estate agent will add value to a seller in 5 ways that an online agent cannot:

  1. Pricing – Know the optimum asking price to generate maximum interest. Too high and it will be ignored, too low and it may sell for less than it’s worth. Getting this wrong can cause a misfire in the selling process.
  2. Qualifying – Filter out the time-wasting applicant leads and properly qualify buyers before viewings
  3. Viewings – what better way is there to establish genuine interest, aid a decision and procure an offer faster than being with the buyer in person at a viewing?
  4. Negotiation – Handling the awkward and delicate process of negotiating offers, bringing clarity to an emotionally-charged situation and helping two parties reach agreement.
  5. Sales Progression – If the going gets tough and things wobble – do you want to be dealing with a call-centre operator, or a human being you have a personal relationship with? Online agents fall through rates should be scrutinised carefully.

Being an Estate Agent is one of the most under appreciated careers there is. You help people through one of the most important transitions of their lives and the key to this is Personal Service.

Personal service cannot be delivered online, only face to face.

It must be acknowledged that the online agents have spotted a gap in the market where there is growing demand. They are gradually taking market share and cannot be ignored.

I have nothing against online agents themselves, I deeply respect anyone who sets up a business and tries to earn a living by winning business and any success they may be enjoying is thoroughly deserved. But I don’t believe that an online agent can assess two different offers on the same property thoroughly enough to advise the seller which is the safest offer to take, if they haven’t met and qualified those buyers in person.

Genuine Estate Agents are in the business of delivering Personal Service at a time when their clients and applicants are under great stress and therefore make many irrational decisions. It is one of the most difficult jobs I know of.

Easymatch chose to be the main sponsor of the Estate Agency category at the 2016 Estas Awards because we exist to support independent estate agents in their quest to provide consistently high levels of service to their clients, achieving higher prices in shorter times and reducing the stress for their clients.

Everything we do is designed to help our clients make more money by delivering ever-improving service and fend off the competition from low-service, low-fee alternatives.

The Estas Awards champions great Customer Service. At this year’s awards we will be unveiling the latest tool to help traditional agents combat the threat from the online agents.

In the meantime, keep winning those instructions, booking those viewings and tying up those deals.

Real life human estate agents, the unsung heroes of the home-moving world, we salute you!

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