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Is This The End Of The Road For High-Street Estate Agents?

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The internet has revolutionised the way we buy and sell property with disastrous consequences for traditional agents

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/11688660/Is-this-the-end-of-the-road-for-high-street-estate-agents.html

Yes, it's an advertorial for YOPA (an online estate agents) dressed up as an article, but it's quite nice to read headlines like this - always wondered how the hell traditional EAs are somehow escaping the onslaught of the internet - their massive fees for mediocre, largely skill-less work. Carrying on as they are with their crappy photos with their compact cameras, crappy descriptions, crappy "evaluations" (VI piled upon VI there), their useless empty suits showing buyers around with zero useful information other than repeating the 50 word description on RightMove (turning up in their new BMW hatchbacks), and their LIES. All this, and I haven't even mentioned the delusions of grandeur and mis-placed condasencion and disrespect. It's a mid-90s business model in 2015 that thinks it can never be disrupted. It will.

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Joe Average will always needs help with a property transactions.

Theres a lot more to selling a house than a couple of photos and a price sticker.

Any activity that involves UK solicitors needs someone who knows the people so they can advise and give an ar5se kicking when required.

However, does an EA need an expensive A1 building, on drag these days? Nope.

Every who buys + sells property will use a computer these days.

Expect EAs to leg it to out of town offices with parking.

The only thing stopping them is that the average one-shop local EA has sunk his pension into the commercial building.

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The internet has revolutionised how we search for property. The actual buying and selling still seems to be mostly in the hands of agents.

I agree. I think traditional highstreet EAs will die out though. It's a bit like Blockbuster v Netflix (offline presence v online). Why would an EA need an expensive highstreet presence? They will be priced out by lower cost online-only EAs. It will happen, just a case of how quickly.

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indeed, the need for a shop / high street presence is long gone really

some of the newer entrants to the market have got this

ewemove for example

I think agents will find a place in the market for themselves for quite some time yet.

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I agree. I think traditional highstreet EAs will die out though. It's a bit like Blockbuster v Netflix (offline presence v online). Why would an EA need an expensive highstreet presence? They will be priced out by lower cost online-only EAs. It will happen, just a case of how quickly.

sort of agree,sort of don't.

buyin a house is still quite a personal experience...like trying on clothes-

yes, some people do buy theirs totally online, but we're not all made the same size 10 or size 12(especially for women!!!)..we all have slightly different bumpy and curvy bits in different places that one clothes shop design accomodates and 10 others don't.

you need the right "feel" of a place before you buy it...so there is still definitely a need for agents with local knowledge.

I say this is especially important for women,as a house is also a nest to rear offspring.it has to be just right and feel comfortable in order to do it.

totally online works ok for inanimate objects like electronic gadgets.

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you need the right "feel" of a place before you buy it...so there is still definitely a need for agents with local knowledge.

Nah. We specifically gave them the knowledge they needed (What we wanted) and still got sent any old crap. I could have trawled search listings myself.

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The high street EA will go the same way as the high street travel agent - there may be the odd one left to service the extremely geriatric or profoundly eccentric person.

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buyin a house is still quite a personal experience...like trying on clothes-

yes, some people do buy theirs totally online, but we're not all made the same size 10 or size 12(especially for women!!!)..we all have slightly different bumpy and curvy bits in different places that one clothes shop design accomodates and 10 others don't.

For clothes, yes - but I don't really see why EAs need a high street presence...personal or impersonal, that's going to come down to the quality of the EA - whether you found them online or in your high street. Local knowledge doesn't require a high street presence, it just requires local knowledge.

I think the EA industry does need disrupting - they've had too much influence for what is essentially an intermediatory role.

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The problem is that the cost of the EA gets added to the houseprice. The vendor chooses the EA, the buyer foots the bill. Vendors will always go for the 'credible' EA with the swish office (Wiki Foxton's) that promises the big selling price. Why wouldn't they, when Joe HPC Buyer foots the bill.

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As others have said, it just seems to take an extremely long time for these high street businesses to go.

Blockbuster is the classic example. I had a subscription to Lovefilm for years before they went bust. 10 or more films a month for the price of about 2 from Blockbuster and I didn't have to bother going out to pick them up or take them back. Even streaming was fully accessible for years before they went bust.

No one needs high street EAs, but no one seems to trust the DIY/web-based methods of house selling either. I am not sure why this is the case in a market where you could just put up a homemade board and still sell the next day.

There does seem to be increased competition, but that it just from more high street EAs still opening up! In my area, the 'top' EAs used to ask for 1.75-2% commission with a straight face. Now most of them are asking for 1%.

It is still money for old rope. If they sold a house in 2000 for £200k they'd have got £4k commission at 2%. Sell the same house now for £700k and they still get £7k by just charging 1%. I can't think of many other professions outside of property whose rates have virtually doubled in 15 years.

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From a selling perspective I think they're great; from a buying perspective not so much. A vendor that opts to use an online agent suggests they're keen to save money so won't be open to low offers.

Ewemove charge 0.9% I think. Not exactly tantalising as lots of traditional agents round here do 1%. I really want online agents to take off but just can't see it yet.

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