What is an online estate agent?
”An online estate agent specialises in property transaction efficiency - enabling sellers and landlords to advertise their property online at a low cost whilst receiving a good quality service.” Asa Bentley, Makeurmove.co.uk.
What is the need for online agents?
The rise in popularity of Rightmove and Zoopla as the main point of call for the majority of people’s property search “has made it possible for homeowners to advertise their properties through online-only estate agents, meaning they no longer have to rely on traditional high street agencies to find a buyer”. (Kate Allen, Financial Times, 2014). The same also applies to property landlords attracting rental tenants.
How did it all start?
MakeUrMove was the first national online letting agent in the UK. With a focus on efficiency and service, online letting agencies were able to offer a low cost but quality service. Fast forward 6 years and we have new entrants to the market but MakeUrMove is still at the forefront of the industry. In our view, there will always be room for well serviced local agencies and as we've seen there are also a lot of hybrid models appearing with centralised operations and agents/experts on the ground conducting traditional services such as valuations.
Then we have the online estate agents. These can operate solely in property sales or do both sales and lettings.They again bring improvements to the industry and have gained good traction in the market. Online agents however only currently account for about 5% of the total current market for lettings and sales. We are confident they will take a greater percentage of the total market over the coming years.
What does the future hold?
With all of the agents listed above low cost doesn't necessarily mean low value. There are often experienced members of the trade involved. There have some or all staff qualified to NAEA and ARLA standards. Most are members of a redress scheme such as the Property Ombudsman code of practice and some are Safe Agent and ARLA registered also.
With all of the agents listed above low cost doesn't necessarily mean low quality. There are often experienced members of the trade involved. They have some or all staff qualified to NAEA and ARLA standards. Most are members of a redress scheme such as the Property Ombudsman code of practice and some are Safe Agent and ARLA registered also.
79% of consumers in a study by Jeffries said that agent fees were too high. There needs to be a change in the market and the online estate agents are paving the way. The consumer will ultimately benefit.