Are the foundations of the online estate agency model starting to show cracks?

Date 13th May, 2019
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Property professionals in Plymouth say current problems that have beset the online estate agency sector show there will always be a place for the traditional route for buying and selling homes.

There have been raised eyebrows among industry watchers following the news one online agent is reportedly in administration and the founder of another, high profile name, has quit causing its share price to drop sharply.

Plymouth Area Property Professionals Association (PAPPA) say the difficulties show that the online revolution may not be all it was cracked up to be – and urged customers to continue to put their faith in independent, High Street agencies.

 “Contrary to popular belief, houses don’t sell themselves,” said PAPPA Chairman Ben Dreher, who is also a Director at Plymouth independent estate agents, Lawson.

“There is a huge amount of work that goes into a successful house sale and purchase and it is the commission based sales model that ensures all that hard work – and indeed more –  gets done!”

Ben said that the collapse of one online firm had left many customers out of pocket, but he pointed out that under the sales model most online agents follow, they wouldn’t have got their money back if the agent had been unsuccessful in selling their property.

“Where’s the incentive in putting all the hard work that the independent agent puts into a sale if you are going to get paid whether the property sells or not?,” asked Ben.

“What’s more, they will often use so called ‘local experts’ to value a property who, in some cases, have come from many miles away.

“With their established office presence, proven heritage and locally based staff, the traditional estate agency model will always offer added value that goes way beyond the price of a fee, something the online agents cannot ever hope to match, in my view.”

 Ben urged any customers currently considering marketing with an online agent to consult an independent, High Street estate agency too, ideally, one who is a PAPPA member, for added peace of mind.

He said that as every member PAPPA member must be accredited by their respective industry body, people could trust in their honesty and integrity, as well as their expertise and unrivalled local knowledge.

“It won’t cost a penny to get another valuation – and none of our members charge upfront fees. They only get paid if they get results,” Ben added.