The rise of online estate agents

How important is the Estate Agent?

Is the role of the Estate Agent changing?

Over the last few years since the bursting of the property bubble in 2007 to now the role and business model of the estate agent has changed dramatically. We will discuss a few themes from the rise and reliance of the internet in property. Most prominently the rise and almost necessity of agents to list upon Rightmove and Zoopla. Are relationships with your agent still as important? The rise of volume of estate agents on every high street? Is it different if you are a buyer or a seller.

Internet-Only Agents, Rightmove & Zoopla

The rise of online estate agentsA few years ago there was a giant called Findaproperty.com, which has now disappeared after a merger with Zoopla in 2012. The giants are now Rightmove and Zoopla. Nearly every high street agent must now list on these two giants to get the exposure to potential buyers or letters.

In times gone by majority of the advertising for property was in the freely distributed local newspapers, and newspaper could get a large amount of their revenues from estate agents. Now many papers exist in only online form or only sold in selected stores. This has meant that all that revenue is diverted to these online property listing sites. Within minutes of receiving new properties agents are able to list them online and mailshot them to potentials. As a buyer this means you have quick access but also quick competition.

DID YOU KNOW: 95% property searches are done online!

There are now a rise of many online only estate agents such as such as eMoov.co.ukHousesimple.co.uk and Hatched.co.uk. Zoopla and Rightmove online allow estate agents to advertise, not private clients. Hence their is a market for online only agents. With minimal costs they can operate, some only charging £500 commission on property sales. Compared to the 2% average of traditional agents and London average house prices hitting almost £350,000. That’s a comparison of £500 vs £7000? What would you choose?

Are relationships with your estate agent important?

This question goes hand in hand with the debate of using online only estate agents or not. In years gone by your relationship with your local agents were of prime importance. Whether you were a seller or a buyer your agent could significantly improve your chances of succeeding in a transaction or even giving you first option ahead of others.

Recently working on a deal for a client we realised the importance of this relationship is still as valid as ever. You pay a price but you get that call ahead of a property being listed online. Or as a seller they personally take care of negotiations and vetting to squeeze every penny from the prospective buyer. It brings about a personal touch an art that is often lost in today’s technologically reliant world.

Spoilt for choice? But which one?

Spoilt for choice for estate agentsSince the before the bubble burst till now there have been more and more new estate agents cropping up on every high street in the country. Even when the market for buying and selling was stagnant they were opening. Mainly for the high demand for lettings and the quick 6-10% that they could make by flooding landlords with sub standard tenants and then in an few months they disappeared. Estate agency requires no qualifications to open, so there is easy entry. But do not discount them all the new boys on the market. There are some very good ones. Best advise is to go and have a conversation, you very easily can weed out the all talkers and the ones with extensive local knowledge.

The best agents we find are ones that have been in an area for a while, they get the best properties first and they also have the ready clients who are looking.

Difference for Buyers and Sellers

For buyers:
Walk around the area you are looking and register interest with the local estate agents. They will give you inside knowledge of the happenings and developments locally and can give you first option. You are not generally paying anything so it makes no difference to you.

For sellers:
You are the one paying fees so this is the big dilemma. Also it depends on your circumstances, how long you can wait to find a buyer, can you handle viewings. A good agent can vet out prospects so there is less hassle for you, especially if you are selling your residential home and do not want hoards of random people turning up to see.

Conclusion

Estate Agents are massively important for the buyer and seller, however each situation is different. On the whole good relationships enable you to get preferential and personal service that can help you beat the market.

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