In recent years it seems as though we have witnessed several near apocalyptic claims about the fall of the high street estate agent, with many queuing up to state that they will cease to exist entirely within the decade. However, although we have undoubtedly seen the rise of online, does this mean the death of the high street? Let’s find out by looking at why online has grown.
Is the Internet the Future?
Recently, in the South of England particularly, we have seen a number of traditional high street estate agents move online, with many declaring it as the future of the industry.
The idea is that some agents can copy the business plan of budget airlines, moving online to pass savings onto the customer and make the booking process cheaper; creating a ‘quiet revolution’.
The aim of this ‘quiet revolution’ is to make everything cheaper for the customer to stop people being bogged down by paying exorbitant fees. Unlike so called ‘traditional estate agents’, online agents only charge a fee when properties are actually sold. Put simply, if you don’t sell, you don’t pay a single penny.
Such a saving has become even more marked of late, with agents struggling to come to terms with slowing markets in some regions. When properties were selling quickly in the ‘boom years’, many estate agents lowered their fees to around 1% but now, when properties are selling more slowly, many have raised their prices again to 1.5%- a sizeable difference for a large house.
Online estate agents, however, such as House Network, have fought back, offering their clients a range of pricing structures; something that is far more appetising for the average seller, and has seen many flock to them in search of a better deal.
But Are They Really the Future?
Of course, despite being better for some, this doesn’t mean that they’re the perfect fit for everyone and many- particularly in the older generation- still prefer the more traditional route of finding an estate agent on the high street.
This is because many simply believe that they do not get the publicity associated with traditional agents online, and that viewings are difficult to arrange. For many, it seems, that traditional route is the best because it allows them to hand over their keys to an estate agent and let them deal with it without the fuss.
To conclude, online agents are growing substantially, but there’s still a gap in the market for traditional agents and they’re certainly far from ‘dead’. However, in the future, online looks set to grow even further…