Book a demo

Let a friendly Gnomen expert answer all of your questions and take you through the system online in 15 minutes. Just choose a time that suits you.

username pass repass
CAPTCHA Image Refresh
Sales: +44 (0) 208 123 9019 Support: +44 (0) 208 629 1208

Montana H

Business Development Director

Share Facebook LinkedIn Twitter

Bricks or clicks – what's the future of estate agency

Gnomen - Bricks or clicks – what's the future of estate agency

Within our industry there has been a long-running debate between traditional high street estate agents and newer online operators which has focused on the future of our sector.

Broadly, the majority of 'traditional' agents believe that exceptional customer service and a strong local presence hold the key to a successful business, while those on the other side of the fence are more likely to wax lyrical about operating out of hours and saving customers money due to not having high street overheads.

This month an event taking place at the Savoy in London was looking to put the debate to bed and predict what lies ahead for the estate and letting agency industry.

The Home Truths: Will Clicks Replace Bricks debate, hosted by investment consultancy Jefferies, boasted a panel including well-known industry players such as Sam Tyrer from Countrywide, Russell Quirk from eMoov and James Davis from Upad.

Here's some key takeaways from the event, as reported by Jefferies analyst Anthony Codling…

Customers remain at the core
According to Jefferies, the debate agreed that the residential property sector will continue to be led by the consumer. They said that agents' customers need to have open lines of communication (outside of normal working hours) as well as a choice of different ways to interact with agents.

Analysis: For a while now we've been championing agents who offer their clients out of hours services. As people's lifestyles become less formulaic and more reliant on technology, there seems to be a desire for more round the clock services. Part of this, which also acts as a different type of communication, is live chat – something we wrote about in a recent blog here.

Local staff are essential
The participants in the debate agreed that agents that only offer a listing service are unlikely to be successful. The example used to demonstrate this point is that in the last year or so, many of the sector's largest online agents have incorporated more local, trained staff to manage clients.

Analysis: A local presence has been a key part of agency from the beginning and it seems that this will never change. If you have staff on the ground covering a specific market, it doesn't mean an office is a necessity – as the growing hybrid sector has shown. It's clear, though, that when selling or letting a property, consumers want to be able to call upon the knowledge and experience of someone working locally, rather than speaking to a national representative.

Low prices aren't necessarily a good thing
When online estate agents first came on the scene their unique selling point was low fees, which promised to save consumers 'thousands'. The debate discussed the trend of hybrid agents raising their fees over the last two years, agreeing that clients are willing to pay for customer service when they fully understand what they are paying for.

Analysis: Agents who can successfully sell their services to prospective clients without dropping their fees are most likely to be the industry's leading firms. There will always be a niche sector of the market looking for rock bottom prices, but it seems the majority will happily pay if the service is good enough.

More can be done to embrace technology
The participants of the debate argued that many aspects of the residential sales process are yet to be digitised. They suggested that the conveyancing process could benefit from a technological focus and that exploring whether more can be done to scientifically match buyers with sellers is essential.

Analysis: The correct use of technology really can improve an agent's business. From having a beautiful website which is user friendly to utilising the cloud and the latest property management software, agents who embrace PropTech and understand how it can enhance their offering increase their chances of success in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Here at Gnomen, we provide cutting-edge, all-in-one property software for agents, allowing you to manage staff, offices, customers and multi-channel marketing through our cloud-based system.

We also design property websites, which you can find out more about here.

For more information about what we can do for you, get in touch on: 0208 123 9019.

Share this article

Share Facebook LinkedIn Twitter

Montana H

Business Development Director

Twitter LinkedIn

Gnomen news

latest budget outlines britains digital future

> Read more

agents benefit as property prices London

> Read more

Fees ban draft bill: 5 key questions answered

On November 1, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published the draft for what is to be known as the Tenants' Fees Bill.

> Read more

Property firms must come to terms with Artificial Intelligence

Property firms must come to terms with Artificial Intelligence Companies have been warned that they must get to grips with emerging, disruptive technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) or risk becoming obsolete.

> Read more

Agents need to be wary of fraudulent computer virus scams

Agents need to be wary of fraudulent computer virus scams Cyber-crime is one of the great challenges of our time, and it's something estate and letting agents need to be aware of.

> Read more

Range of lettings measures announced during party conference season

Range of lettings measures announced during party conference season The political party conference season usually springs a few surprises and it was those of us working in the property industry who this year were required to sit up and pay attention.

> Read more

MPs debate unintended consequences of proposed letting fees ban

> Read more

Busiest time of the year for letting agents almost upon us

If you are a letting agent it is likely that your workload is about to get a lot busier

> Read more

Agents urged to prepare for introduction of new data protection legislation

It might not be something you have given much consideration to but new data protection legislation is coming into effect from next year that will have a significant bearing on your estate or letting agency business

> Read more

Letting fees ban set to go ahead but no timeline specified

One of the most contentious issues in the lettings industry at present is the proposed ban on letting agents fees to tenants.

> Read more

Complaints against agents - are they on the rise

A few weeks ago, The Property Ombudsman (TPO) launched its latest annual report at the House of Lords, revealing a rise in the number of formal complaints resolved by the redress scheme as well as a record total of compensatory awards paid by estate and letting agents.

> Read more

Selling via Facebook Live-is this the future?

A new first in the world of estate agency has taken place, with online agency HouseSimple recently attempting to sell the first home in the UK via a viewing on Facebook Live. Sale by social media, in other words.

> Read more

What do we know about the new housing minister

Following the recent General Election, a new housing minister was appointed to replace Gavin Barwell, who lost his Croydon Central seat.

> Read more

Election 2017: What are the main parties housing policies

On June 8, Britain will go to the polling booths for a second General Election in just over two years. Theresa May surprised everyone when she announced the snap General Election in April (not least because she herself had previously ruled it out), but since then the party political machines have launched into action and MPs across the country have been out and about in their constituencies, trying to win over voters.

> Read more

Why agents should capitalise on the Bank of Mum and Dad boom

In recent weeks there have been a number of stories about the rising importance of the Bank of Mum and Dad when it comes to house purchases, with financial assistance from parents becoming almost a requirement for young buyers looking to get on the property ladder.

> Read more

The rising influence of short-lets how could it affect letting agents

It sometimes feels like there not a day that goes by without a news story concerning the growing short-lets market.

> Read more

Housing White Paper what does it mean for agents

Earlier this month the government released its eagerly anticipated housing White Paper. The 104 page document sets out how the Conservative Party intends to improve the supply/demand imbalance of housing in the UK.

> Read more

Is 2017 the beginning of the end for estate agent boards

For Sale and To Let boards have long proved divisive with some arguing they are still a useful marketing and advertising tool, while others argue that they are an eyesore and a relic from a different age. But have they had their day

> Read more

Good news for agents annual transactions remain strong

Despite the various challenges faced by the property industry in 2016. Brexit, stamp duty changes and tighter lending criteria chief among them

> Read more

House prices: what could happen in 2017?

Last year was a memorable one for a number of reasons, and throughout an astonishing 12 months which included the Brexit vote and election of Donald Trump the UK property market remained stable and consistent.

> Read more