I read an article last night that said the online agent was
finished. The whole argument seemed to be based on the fact that Purple
Bricks had started to struggle. I understand that at this point Purple
bricks may be licking their wounds after struggling to introduce their model
into other markets abroad. To say they are finished, would be a little bit premature. To quote Mark Twain “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”. A company that
even though it is by its’ own lofty goals is struggling still has 4.8% of
market share. Not bad for a company that entered an industry in 2012. High street estate agents are still dismissing the challenge from online platforms
saying they have hit peak challenge at 5%. So they lost almost 5% of market share
in just 8 years to one online agent in an industry that is over 200 years old, and
they are not worried? Really? For me, that is either extremely arrogant or extremely foolish. To be honest, the fact they still revel in this old-fashioned way of working, where they can overcharge and in return offer nothing that a Hybrid/online agent does, should tell
you all you need to know.
I have been doing some homework on what is being offered by these estate agents and it is laughable. Here are some examples of what they see as innovative.
We are passionate about helping people move (My personal experience of this agent? We don’t answer the phone and even let it ring out until you ring again and actually bang on our shop window to let us know you are there)
We have a dedicated team of property professionals (My personal experience of this agent? dedicated enough to not pick up your colleague’s workload when he isn't at the office. All Lettings enquires wait until he gets back even if the landlord has rung in advance to arrange the keys be handed to contractors)
We are proud to support our local community (Every agent should have a social conscience)
We offer a complete moving solution from start to finish (Every Estate Agent Does This, it is not original or innovative)
However, if you want to talk about conveyancing, mortgages or removals they have whole pages dedicated to these products. You would start to think that they are receiving commissions for these products …They definitely are by the way.
The only thing a high street agent has is a glass-fronted office covered in sun-parched for sale / sold properties they are marketing or have marketed. That is all they have. That is their USP. The High Street, and like it or loathe it, the high street is disappearing. (Personally, it is devastating to walk through my city centre and see the retail outlets dying a horrible, slow death.) Eventually, the Big estate agents will have to abandon the high street, soaring costs and high rents coupled with no footfall will see to that. Then what? A move online, become more streamlined, become part of the business that they take every opportunity in insulting because it not with keeping to the old boys’ club way of presenting themselves? Then, my friends, we will be comparing apples with apples and I know who my money will be on to win.