Are traditional estate agencies on the way out?
As online estate agents see a surge in client numbers, the traditional high street estate agent could be facing a bleak future, as those looking to sell their home fast pursue cheaper flat-rate fees over local knowledge and experience.
Looking back at the last 20 years, the face of the British high street has undergone a radical transformation. From Woolworths, Littlewoods, and JJB Sports, to HMV, Blockbuster and Our Price – many of the household names we all frequented growing up have been relegated to the annals of history.
Many of these businesses have nobody but themselves to blame due to bad investments and even worse practices. However, many were consigned to the great retail mall in the sky for simply failing to keep up with technological progress. Surely many of those who lost their jobs when Blockbuster went bankrupt were devastated to discover their CEO turned down an opportunity to snap-up a relatively small company in 2000 for $50 million – a small company called Netflix.
This failure to take advantage of new technology is an issue that permeates most if not all established professions over the years, and among the latest victims facing the axe due to increased online competition are estate agents.
While many prefer to prosper from the area knowledge held by the local agent, more and more people are started to see the advantages of online rivals such as Purplebricks, who offer flat-rate fees for services rendered, as opposed to the proportional system used by high-street agents, with those looking to sell expensive properties benefiting the most. And clearly the success of Purplebricks has not gone unnoticed, with several competitors such as easyProperty, HouseSimply and Tepilo entering the fray in recent years.
“The high street method of estate agency, whereby they charge a fee percentage on the sale price of a property, is out-dated and anti-consumer,” says Russell Quirk, founder of eMoov.co.uk.
“Not only does it require the same amount of work to sell a £100,000 property as it does for a £1m one, but the process has remained the same and is arguably easier than it was a decade ago. Yet the fee is larger on a house of greater value and has continued to escalate as house prices have increased over the years.”
As increasing numbers of UK property buyers continue to browse property on sites such as Rightmove and Zoopla before contacting the relevant agent on the listing, the position of ‘middle-man’ enjoyed by estate agents over the years is beginning to look tenuous at best – and those looking to sell property fast are looking toward property buying companies and online rivals more and more often.
If you’d like to sell your house quickly, ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any home. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.