The future of the Estate Agent on the high street has been the topic of many debates. In recent months it has even been suggested that high street agents, as we know them, are one of the sectors that are on the target list of possible victims suffering from the dwindling footfall on today’s high street.
Traditional or Online?
But this is not the only threat to the traditional agency. There is also a constant barrage of debates trying to answer ‘what’s the best way to sell a property – traditional or online?’ In my opinion, this can depend on the individual vendor and their circumstances.
I do believe that in the not so distant future Estate Agents will be neither your traditional high street, nor your up-and-coming online agents. A new type of agent has emerged that is a mixture of both. They offer a pick-and-mix of services that suit individual tastes and needs. In fact, ‘Hybrid’ agencies are already here, both on the high street and within the online model. Have you noticed that the high street agents are now offering services that are not just commission based? Have you also seen the online adverts on the TV, bragging that “you get your personal local agent who can do all your viewings, etc..” It’s great that we all now have so much choice!
Online is here to stay!
The consumer has had their say many times in the past and they want local expertise and competitive prices for their property sale. The sound ethics and fairness of agencies is also high on consumer preference. Estate agents should be customer-service driven as a major priority. The world evolves and businesses, including estate agencies, have to develop and evolve with it.
Convenience and Comfort
People want convenience and comfort. Most house hunters nowadays search property portals on the web and fix a viewing without any need to visit a shop. The only time a buyer will meet an agent is at a viewing – depending if they actually do the viewing and it’s not the vendor doing it themselves. Thus, igniting the trend of up and coming technology, enabling the consumer to search for anything and everything on the net in great detail.
As for the future, yes there will be change. It’s to be expected and it should be embraced. Traditionally qualified agents with local knowledge of the area who are based in the community, where they are selling and renting properties is a given. But technology, different ways to advertise, ways to find a buyer and get the property noticed are also changing at pace.
So, the consumer is the winner, and that’s what all estate agents should want…what’s best for the customer. Customers and clients should have the comfort and convenience, but also have the opportunity to meet face to face, or through a range of communication with their fully qualified agent and all for a competitive price. Good ethics and fairness is a whole other blog post!