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Do you think high street estate agents will die?

(115 Posts)
sandrabedminster Sat 28-May-16 11:49:10

I don't see how they can carry on competing with online.

They do ask a lot of their services compared with online. 6 times in my case!

My ea is pretty shit. They messed up the right move listing, I took most of the photos myself as theirs were shit. I've ended up showing people around myself as they seem to be too lazy to work Saturdays. They've scratched the floor and trampled mud everywhere.

The only thing they do and online doesn't is local paper adverts. But I doubt many even reed papers anymore.

sharknad0 Sat 28-May-16 12:29:57

I don't think so.

They are overpriced and absolutely need to change the way they operate. Some estate agents are utterly useless, and it's really painful.

However, an online agent (currently)
~does not offer a valuation of your property
~does not handle the viewings for you
~does not negotiate the offers and details of the sale

I am very confident on how to deal with buyers and negotiate the price. Some people are not. I can't start to imagine my grand-mother dealing with viewings or being pushed to put her price down. If you live around London, it's perfectly fine to only accept block viewings a few hours on a Saturday and do them yourself. Your property will be sold within a week or two anyway if there's no major problem with it. If you are in an area where nothing moves, it's less than ideal.

Your EA sounds terrible. How long do you have to stay with them? I would at least be tempted to complain and ask for a reduction of their fee re: no viewings on Saturday, and damage to your property.

sandrabedminster Sat 28-May-16 13:01:18

Are you an ea?

I've got 9 more weeks with them. I'm tempted to not lower the price when they will ask to (it is overpriced but I've accepted two offers about asking price but both pulled out) and then just sell it myself with an online agent.

Im pretty sure the one large online agent does those things, although they charge 800.

I see them going the way of travel agents hopefully.

specialsubject Sat 28-May-16 13:01:23

No, but businesses as bad as this one should. Starve it by going elsewhere.

sandrabedminster Sat 28-May-16 13:02:14

If not die, I don't think they can stay at the same level. I'm my small high street there are 7 agents.

sharknad0 Sat 28-May-16 13:07:51

lol no, I am not an ea. However, I have been using online agents for selling my last 2 properties, it saved me a fortune! The high streets agents I used in the past were dreadful.

sandrabedminster Sat 28-May-16 13:10:38

Yep I'm getting the same from mine.

Which online agent did you use? Pb? Is there much difference between them? I figure all I need them for is the right move listing as that can only be done through an agent.

Stuffofawesome Sat 28-May-16 13:13:34

Our online agent did value the property took photos organised viewings did follow up and then negotiated final offers from 5 people interested in buying. Happy with it all and saved 5k

SocialDisaster Sat 28-May-16 13:18:39

I think the whole high street is going to nosedive and EA too.

firesidechat Sat 28-May-16 13:24:26

I hope not. A good estate agent is worth it's weight in gold. When we last sold a house the estate agent was running around with paperwork on the day of exchange to get the sale through and it wasn't even their paperwork. They were excellent all the way through too. I'm not sure an online estate agent would provide the same service.

Akire Sat 28-May-16 13:29:47

Problem with Ea is its on a % of house when should be set fee. It costs them nothing more bar a few pictures to sell a mansion as a two up to down yet vast different fee price

wowfudge Sat 28-May-16 13:31:44

Hmm - having sold and bought recently, the high street agents definitely had the edge over the online one our buyers used. Our EA did all the chasing and updating.

The difficulty with a lot of online agents is that the agent has a large area to cover so doesn't have the current local market knowledge in the same way. I wouldn't want to entrust sales progression to a call centre of admin staff either. We decided not to go with a particular local high street agent because once they got a buyer for you everything was handled by their separate progression team which served several branches.

Incidentally I just been into the centre of the small town we live on the fringes of. It was bustling - has a great independent baker's, a couple of independent coffee and cake shops, ironmonger's, greengrocer's, butcher's, etc, etc. I hope it doesn't nosedive.

Stuffofawesome Sat 28-May-16 13:31:53

I used house network fyi. Solicitor via them also really good.

newtscamander Sat 28-May-16 13:33:19

No, we just have to reduce our fees to compete is all. We enjoy inviting clients to the office for a coffee and a chat, and they know where we are at all times if they need to talk with us. You don't get that with internet agents.

BeauGlacons Sat 28-May-16 13:41:31

No. Ours have been brilliant and have sold two properties for us before they hit the actual market in the last two years. All the agents who valued were helpful. All the agents provided really good tips about presentation and photographs and simple fixes to maximise light, space, provide a contemporaneous feel. On both occasions due diligence was carried out on potential purchasers and offers and that diligence presented. They also played a key role in managing the chain, and in liaising with surveyors, etc. They also provided accompanied viewings on all occasions.

The other added value is having built up a good relationship with the agents we bought one house from, we took their advice about maximising the resale value/renovation - and they gave that advice freely.

Many high street agents offer 1%-1.5% deals. I don't actually think that is a huge amount of money and I think it's the low fee that means that they don't provide a particularly professional service on many occasions. £200,000 property brings them in £3,000 - take off costs of marketing, their office space, their time, I don't think it's surprising they don't seem to offer a brilliant service on many occasions, especially when properties are overpriced.

In answer to your actual question though, of course high streets estate agents will die - as will all other estate agents and every other member of the human race.

whois Sat 28-May-16 13:46:17

A good EA is worth their weight in gold - marketing the property well, reaching out to people who they know are looking for a property like yours, handling the offers and progressing the sale. I was really happy with the EA for my house sale.

Looking for a flat to buy now - OMG some of them are so bloody shit.

Had to ask one to stop talking (completed drival) so I could actually look at the property. He didn't shut up and kept a constant stream off shit up for the entire time I was in the property.

Told one that if he didn't know the answer to my Q he should say so and find out rather than give me completely incorrect information (ie lie) (I'd already seen a property in the same block and the matter affected all flats).

Others ask what you're looking for then go on to try and show you things that are completely unsuitable. I said a fucking two bed was a necessity you moron, showing me a 1 bed £100k under my budget is not going to work.

Aaaaand breathe.

So annoying that there is so much competition and no agent seems particularly dominant in the area in looking in so I'm registered with about 15 different ones.

evrybuddy Sat 28-May-16 14:25:09

Not entirely - once evrybody over say 65ish has sold their last house, I think it will become a 'boutique' business with the wealthy/lazy/too busy paying more than they do now for a specialist service.

Everyone else will find it cheaper and easier to use an online agent - like using Autotrader/Ebay to sell their cars.

At some point soon I think there will be a need for professional sales valuers/local market 'experts' who work freelance for homeowners/buyers (not surveyors and much cheaper) but who aren't agents.

They will fill the gap left by the disappearing high st EA who, if an online agent can sell a house and make a profit at less than £800, is probably charging the average homeowner £2k for a valuation.

Buckinbronco Sat 28-May-16 14:26:21

I hope so, slowly and in pain grin

stareatthetvscreen Sat 28-May-16 14:44:53

bronco smile

BikeRunSki Sat 28-May-16 14:56:37

3 EA gave opened near me in the last 6 months or so. Not dying round here.

PippaFawcett Sat 28-May-16 15:03:55

I don't think so. We are buying our house through an online agent - Tepilo - and it is so frustrating we are dealing with a call centre, not an estate agent who knows what they are talking about. We would have walked away if there was an alternative in the area we are looking at.

Also, our High Street agent, advised us to go £30k higher than we were considering putting it on for, we thought they were mad, but gave it a go and we had two full price offers in 24 hours. We would not have had that without their expertise. You get what you pay for.

I suppose the % fee is because they can do that and because why else would they pull out the stops to sell the £££ houses, when they can shift several lower end ones for the same commission? There has to be something in it for them.

Out2pasture Sat 28-May-16 15:05:05

We sold our home ourself with a "for sale by owner sign" and did the legalities with a notary public.
No regrets.

landoflostcontent Sat 28-May-16 15:18:37

I hope not. We sold our mother's house through a wonderful high st estate agent. They were absolutely fantastic from first visit to completion. Anyone can take some nice photos, everyone can see the house on Rightmove etc but where the estate agents really earn their money is in completing a sale.

Ours suggested the price to market at, with examples of recent similar completed sales. They remembered they were working for us not the buyer and not only accompanied all viewings but because the house was empty and we live over 250 miles away, they visited the property at least once a week to make sure there were no problems (neighbour confirmed this)

Once we received a very low offer they informed us, advised they thought it was too low and actually showed the prospective buyer what they could get for the money they were offering and in their words "it isn't a property like No X in XXX" Result - buyer made increased offer.

They kept a difficult chain together and when it threatened to fall apart at the very last minute because the top and bottom of the chain couldn't/wouldn't agree on a completion date they sweet talked all parties into an acceptable compromise.

Could not have done it without them and commission just 1%!

evrybuddy Sat 28-May-16 16:08:12

Even if estate agents weren't at least 50% rubbish/crooked/careless - the internet would do for them.

It's just the inexorable rise of online commerce. As someone said already, travel agents have virtually vanished from the high street, as have insurance brokers/agents.

Any intermediary/broker/middleman/ commission earner is inevitable going to be targeted by the internet as by dealing direct with the punter, the vendor saves.

The main brake on the EA business model going totally online is the infrequent nature of the transaction for most people and the concentration of property ownership in the older generation.

But in the end, it will come - defintely for the 'mass market' transactions.

There's a decent enough agent near us who has fought back against the online agents by offering a fixed price fee but at about £2.5k - the people who really benefit are the wealthier homeowners.

Recently Housenetwork and Purplebricks have made headway where they didn't have any properties in the loacal market - every 10 houses that go with an online agent is at least £20k off a high st agent.

Doesn't take long before people get let go and the downward spiral of less staff, crap service, lost business begins to impact.

But I won't cry for them. If they hadn't been such fuckers in the first place people might care.

Sometimes you have to try very hard to do your job as badly as some of the ones I've encountered.

God help the other places they'll end up.

MiracletoCome Sat 28-May-16 17:36:44

I think some of them will, I am using one at the moment to sell my late mothers house as I don't want the bother of going round there for viewings, the energy certificate and stuff like that, I did make sure that I picked a local agent that did viewings as I know some of the bigger chains cant be bothered. If it was my own house though I think I would be inclined to try an online agent, so I think there will be a place for them but nowhere near as much as there is now.

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