There’s a lot of coverage in the press about the rise of online Independent Real Estate Agencies.
They describe how the traditional high street Estate Agency model is obsolete and in terminal decline.
My own personal experience, mostly in the central London market, is that some part of this is true. Technology now plays a huge part in any buyers’ property search. There are almost certainly far too many Estate Agents running expensive high street shops not making enough money to turn a decent profit with the present low volumes of transactions. Most buyers’ first ports of call in any property search are the portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla, Prime Location and latterly On The Market.
However, using portals can often prove to be a frustrating experience.
You can get multiple repeated listings, properties which are already under offer and misleading photography. Inevitably, this leads to disappointment once you see the properties in the “flesh”.
In London, we have seen a significant rise in the Independent Real Estate Agent.
This independent one-man-band type operation has specialist individuals handling both sales and acquisitions. In my view, this provides some much-needed impetus into a slow market.
The Independent Real Estate Agent can be a fantastic source of interesting and unusual properties. Also, there is an extra edge of motivation to get deals done with individuals who are not looked after by a multinational operation paying them a comfortable salary with all the associated benefits of corporate life. One man bands ‘eat what they kill’. So, in our experience, they tend to focus extremely well and to be willing to get property transactions over the line.
Sellers often prefer dealing with an individual who knows their particular requirements. Also, perhaps they get to know them over two or even three moves, rather than having to deal with a faceless organisation where they speak to a different person every time they call.
The recent growth of this pool of small, independent estate agency operations is often set up by talented, hardworking and well-connected individuals. Also, it ensures that the London market remains a dynamic, deal-driven environment where the best estate agents thrive. The old-fashioned high street estate agency will be around for some time yet. However, many are having to adapt to a much smaller market share than they might have had in the past because of the rise of the independent real estate agent.