Tongue-in-cheek estate agent Jules Bending has made a call to arms for estate agents nationwide. He has warned that if agents stay stuck in their ways and battle it out with fees and prices they will end up doing what a resounding amount of estate agents have already done; die an untimely death in a market where everyone is skipping the middleman and selling their own properties online.
Bending, an estate agent based in Somerset who gained notoriety for his cheeky adverts (that saw him banned from both Right Move and the local newspaper) said: “Estate agents are their own worst enemies.”
“Each agent knows the other will overprice and undercut to get the instruction and so an ever-upward and unsustainable spiral with ever-diminishing volume and fees is born.
“The banks were foolish enough to fuel this, but the problem originated with agents who didn’t have enough balls to move away from the pack.
“And they could have. I thought about opening a western-themed agency before Ralph Bending. There would have been a wooden floor, a bar, spittoon, piano player, tables etc. The window would be styled with cowboy ‘wanted’-style window cards and the local paper with the same style ads. I would have drawn the line at using a horse to get to viewings.
“There are loads of ways agents could differentiate themselves from each other and show their individual strengths and personalities. Is it any more dangerous than staying as we are?
“Over the last two years 11 agencies have closed around here, in an eight-mile radius. I fear if we don’t change and reflect the society we live in we’ll be left behind.
“It’s possible that in the future there will only be something like Facebook / Rightmove and everybody will be selling their own houses. Unfortunately, for consumers, that’s not such a hideous thought.”
At eMoov we wont be trading in our suits for cowboy hats and horses any time soon, but we certainly feel that we can be counted as an estate agent trying to make change. We are a new breed of estate agent – entirely online-based with cheap, fixed fees and the guarantee of service and security that both a traditional estate agent and a sell-your-own-house site like Right Move just can’t offer.
Hear hear, Mr. Bending – to the future of estate agency!