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Montana H

Business Development Director

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Upheaval in the online agency world shows increasing importance of digital

Upheaval in the online agency world shows increasing importance of digital

It’s been a busy few weeks in the online/hybrid estate agency world, with announcements of major mergers and noteworthy new appointments.

Here, we take a look at the latest goings-on and what this could mean for the property industry.

Emoov and Tepilo in major industry merger

At the end of May it was announced that Emoov and Tepilo – founded by high-profile agent Russell Quirk and TV star Sarah Beeny respectively – would be completing a £100 million merger. The deal also included the incorporation of Urban.co.uk, one of the UK’s biggest and longest-established online lettings agencies.

It means, in the online/hybrid agency landscape, the newly merged brands are now only second to Purplebricks in size and scale, while Quirk believes the combined operation makes Emoov one of the top seven agencies in the UK.

Emoov, Tepilo and Urban.co.uk have joined forces ‘with a commitment to put the customer first and to pioneer the future of estate agency with transparency, technology and empowerment at the heart of everything we do’.

The enlarged business will be fronted by Quirk as CEO, with a management team including CFO Frank McGlade (formerly of Just Eat and Deutsche Bank), CMO Lucy Milne (formerly of Just Eat and EE) and COO Guy Halfhead (previously COO of Bookatable.com). Adam Male, who founded Urban in 2005, will stay on as Director of Lettings.

The merged firm has also secured £15 million in new funding, from both existing and new shareholders. There will be additional investment from Channel 4, which will provide airtime via a significant TV advertising campaign. What’s more, there will be investment from Northern & Shell, Tepilo’s largest shareholder, which will include advertising via Sky, Channel 5 and the Express and Mirror newspapers.

New managing director for easyProperty

The online agency shake-up continued when it was announced that easyProperty – the online estate agency which itself merged with GPEA, the firm behind The Guild of Property Professionals, this time last year – had appointed former YOPA director Russell Humphrey as its new managing director.

Humphrey replaced Adam Day – head-hunted to join easyProperty only a year ago – who himself was announced as head of estate agency at the newly-merged Emoov-Tepilo-Urban business.

Humphrey, who began his career in the property industry in 1996 and has worked as a negotiator, regional and division director and a managing director, was most recently national agency director for YOPA, the online agency that has received significant investment from LSL Property Services and Savills.

Jon Cooke, chief executive of eProp Services – the parent company which owns the easyProperty brand – said Humphrey brought a depth of experience in both traditional and online estate agency, and was well placed to build on the easyProperty licensing businesses. “Our investment in Russell underscores our commitment to this sector and, importantly, our continued support in helping independent estate agents win a wider market share in their locations through innovation,” he added.

Increased emphasis on digital services

While the online/hybrid space still accounts for only around 7.1% of the total estate agency market – and this is mostly divided between Purplebricks and the newly merged Emoov-Tepilo operation – some expect this to rise to between 12% and 15% in the coming years, before accelerating even further after that.

For many traditional agents, too, online offerings are becoming increasingly important. For example, Countrywide has experimented with online and Savills has invested heavily in YOPA. Even firms who are not offering specific online services are placing an increasing emphasis on digital solutions.

We also looked at how HM Land Registry is embracing technology in a greater way than ever before – in fact, it recently registered the first digital mortgage deed into the Land Register – and why the rollout of superfast broadband needs to be embraced by letting agents. What’s more, we analysed how PropTech is now becoming mainstream.

To compete in a modern, digital world you need property software that allows you to manage all aspects of your business – in a smooth, flawless, hassle-free way – from anywhere in the world, at the click of a button.

At Gnomen we provide a cloud-based, all-in-one system to ensure you can stay on top of your call-backs, diary, valuations and instructions, as well as keeping your customers informed at all times with brilliant customer support, easy communication and tailored log-in areas for buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants.

With much of life now lived online – particularly in the case of young professionals – the importance of a good-looking, interactive website has never been greater.

Our estate agent website design service can help your website look beautiful and work beautifully, with a number of cutting-edge features to help your agency stand out from the crowd in a competitive, crowded marketplace.

For more information about what we can do for you, please get in touch with us on 0208 123 9019 or book a free demo here.

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Montana H

Business Development Director

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