Recent Industry Protests About Online Estate Agents Are Positively Shakespearean

Apr 6, 2014


In recent days I’ve noticed a significant surge in pleas from the estate agency industry which seek to defend the traditional business model. This is bound to be in answer to heightened media activity surrounding our sector and focussing on the ‘new online estate agency phenomenon’, as they are aptly terming it.

Dyed in the wool property patriarchs are lining up to explain why you must, as a would be home seller, continue to utilise the services of high street estate agency firms.

Their arguments range from the ‘local knowledge’ quip through to the ‘pay a higher fee and you’ll get a higher price’ malarkey. The latter, laughably, conjuring up a logic that further opens the flood gates of greed to those agents that are already manipulating vendors into paying tens of thousands to find them a buyer.

Ask me for some examples of sales where have achieved prices substantially in excess of the initial asking figure. We have loads.

Home sellers are unlikely to be convinced by such colloquial ‘reasons’ as ‘pay more, get more’ in shelling out for their property to be marketed.

The thing is, quite ironically really, all homes are sold online. Because buyers search the major portals like Rightmove rather than waiting for Julian at Robin Blind & Co to dig out his rolodex with his ‘hot buyers’ listed therein. Indeed Zoopla say that they have around 900,000 buyers registered for instant property alerts that ping an email to house hunters the second something meeting their requirements is listed with one of their 12,000 UK agent partners. I’m an unsure as to how many punters are genuinely transfixed by the geographical ability of an employee of a ‘local’ company and their skill in identifying each nearby post-box or some such. It’s no more relevant for an agent to be ‘local’ than it is to book your holiday via a rep that has visited every hotel on the Expedia travel site. You’ve heard of Trip Advisor, no doubt.

And the old Ring Out routine of the 80’s and 90’s is as confined to the office bin as Polaroid cameras and tape measures.

Plus, if you were buying a property, would you be convinced to pay MORE for it just because the agent involved had a Perrier fridge and a Charles Eames sofa in his office and was ‘persuasive’? Thought not….

The remnants of an old fashioned, broken form of estate agency are being laid out for all to consider.

Personal customer service, assistance with offer negotiation, oversight of your sale through to completion, valuations…..the bits of the estate agency role that are important are not, you might be surprised to learn, just exclusive to a funky Main Street office.

Because a decent online estate agent does all of this too. All of it. Despite the ever more desperate shouts from the old school that attempt to say otherwise.

I always knew that the concept would work. Right from when I first thought of the idea back in 2006 when I first registered ‘’.

The thing is. The future really is here now. How can I be so convinced? Because the industry’s branch office based participants are protesting like never before so as to make it very apparent indeed. Didn’t a certain Mr Shakespeare say something about that?

Welcome to consumer friendly estate agency. The smarter way to sell.

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Russell Quirk is Founder and CEO of the UK’s largest, value for money, digital estate agency