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On-line estate agency

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  • On-line estate agency


    I'm looking for opions on what buyers/sellers would be attracted to in an on-line estate agency.

    I am considering becoming self-employed to do this. I am a recently qualified agent but have been working in estate agency for five years. Even as someone involved in the industry, I do feel that the commissions paid by vendors are far too high and often the service received is less than satisfactory.

    There are some web based only agencies but they don't offer a personal service as they are nationwide.

    My idea, is that I would provide a web-based agency on a localised level so that I am visiting clients homes myself to offer accurate valuations, I'm keeping them updated and helping them through the conveyancing process once the property is sold subject to contract and offering all the same advertising and marketing as a conventional estate agent, except no high street shop front. This way I would be offering a personal service for a much lower fee.

    Your thought either way please?

    many thanks

  • #2
    The trouble I think with an online estate agency is that it's hitting the tail-end of the growth cycle and right at the downturn of the market.

    So while I think it's a great idea, I think there's a serious danger that the timing will suck.

    Traditionally, boom years see a whole range of new estate agency start-ups, only to see them trimmed away as times grow hard.

    That's actually a very big reason Home Move isn't setting up for property sales at present. We could - but I think the investment risk of doing so isn't worth it, so better for myself to set up a useful information portal, and then see what potential grows from that in relation to the changing state of the UK property market.

    Still, going for the local market only could be a good niche - it's higher risk, but niches are easier to play and invest in then general sales, ie, nationwide markets.

    So, good luck with the project, and hope it turns out.


    • #3
      I would think that this would be a good idea. I see where you are coming from. As long as you can still meet with people face to face still this is a alternitive. I don't really know about the trends in the housing market so I cannot advice you on that part of it.


      • #4
        I am actually in the market for a new home and I personally like having the option of someone online. RIght now in our area there are several and they have "virtual tours" etc.. which is very nice so say I can go to your site and if I am truly interested I will know by checking the "virtual tour".


        • #5
          im already doing this from home using RM, local papers, leaflets, valuations, instructions, viewings, sales progression etc


          • #6
            It is good idea. I know lot of people doing that now, it is very successful. But your web site should be optimized for search engines. with our better online marketing backup it is hard to do better business.
            Clerkenwell Property | London Property


            • #7
              rm fees!

              can any1 tell me how much rmove fees are? regards.


              • #8
                A web-based agency only has any value if it can guarantee to have a high volume of web trafffic. If you work a small, localised area, and have a website to publish your listings on, how are you going to get a lot of people to look at your website, assuming there are other, larger agents already operating in your area who have an active viewer base, who look at their websites on a regular basis? How are you going to pull people away to look at your site?


                • #9
                  I agree. Very difficult to make it in a small area.
                  Government Authorised Property Real Estate Agents in Kefalonia, Greece.


                  • #10
                    What value are you offering?

                    I have answered a reply to someone pitching their online agency earlier regarding the value a good agent gives to their client. The type of business you are describing in my view does not sell houses, so what are you offering? I guess the thought is you are saving people money, however my experience shows that you are costing people money, as I have yet to see a sold sign on an internet sales company board, and we all know that a percentage of houses marketed dont actually sell. I know an associate of mine has started this type of company but the up front fees the public are prepared to pay are so low that you would need lots of volume, and I mean lots. Think of the cost of marketing this type of business, without a shop front you will have to spend a fortune to attract a paying client. Finally, think about disgruntled vendors who dont sell, and have paid for your service - I have taken a few on from these types of sites and they certainly arent recommending those services to others!


                    • #11

                      I would be more inclined to use an online estate agency - purely with life being hectic - <as most people's are> the convenience of browsing the market for an ideal house in the comfort of your own home is a more inviting solution.


                      • #12
                        You're coming from a buyer's perspective, in which case it doesn't really matter whether the website you're browsing is run by a traditional EA with an active website, or an internet-only operation.

                        The results will be the same from your perspective.


                        • #13
                          The challenge faced by Online Estate Agencies is obtaining those valued instructions. If you already have a track record of sales in a particular area, and have contacts - this will certainly help. Charging lower commission rates is an enticement in some cases - however most Vendors are happy to use a high street estate agent and pay a decent fee with the perceived belief that the agent will obtain the best possible price by virtue of having a traditional high street office.