Do We Still Need High Street Estate Agents?

With the rise of online sites such as Zoopla and Yopa, much has been said about whether high street estate agents are relevant in this day and age. After all, you can go on a property site, browse all the details of a house and make an offer without even going to see a professional estate agent at all. The days of stepping outside and going to browse property shop windows seem to be a thing of the past.

The Benefits of Online Property Buying

  • First of all, you don’t have to leave your home and you can view a much wider range of properties just by clicking a few buttons. These usually have lots of description and plenty of pictures to see as well as highlighting any issues with the property that you need to be aware of.
  • Then there are the prices that online estate agents charge. Because they have lower overheads they can afford to offer competitive rates and many tier their provision for people who are looking to sell a house or flat. That could mean a flat rate for advertising on certain sites or a little more for adding in professional photographs and including an energy performance certificate.
  • People are more confident shopping and buying online nowadays. Our attitudes have changed in recent years and new sites, providing good, reliable services are starting to change industries such as estate agents – take a look at the holiday industry which has seen the demise of high street shops in more recent times.
  • Online portals are also available 24 hours a day which means you don’t have to wait until the estate agents on the high street is open.

Many long standing estate agents will tell you that there is no substitute for experience. Most will know the area where you want to buy a house well and so will be able to suggest properties that are not only suited to your needs but your budget.

The big stumbling block for high street estate agents is the overhead costs and the way they do business. Many online portals are not charging upfront fees, which is attractive for buyers and sellers and the process seems a lot simpler and whole lot easier than going through a traditional estate agent service.

The move to online has already begun to disrupt the market and demographics such as millennials are more likely to use these more convenient outlets than spend their time waiting to see an estate agent. With more online property portals, you might reasonably expect to see our high street outlets begin to disappear, especially if they don’t keep up with the technology. In fact, many estate agents are starting to combine forces and set up online sites to complement their high street stores.

The issue they have is that they are competing with sites that charge very low rates. Whereas an estate agent might charge a few thousand at the very least for their services, sites such as Purple Bricks are only charging a fixed rate of just under £600. That’s a big difference for those who want to sell a property and could define the future of the industry in more ways than one.

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