With more and more online real estate agencies popping up both locally and internationally, the question on everybody’s lips is whether the real estate profession will go the way of the milkman. However, unlike milk, property is not something you can simply throw down the drain if your purchase happens to turn sour.
To decide whether traditional real estate agents are still relevant, you should contemplate the value of the service they provide. No matter how technology advances, any service that takes away hassle for both the buyer and the seller, or that offers specialised knowledge and advice that no online portal can replicate, will continue to survive in the modern economy.
Can an estate agent sell my home faster? No matter how great the automated response system, the truth is that most people still prefer interaction with a fellow human who can work around their schedule in one call instead of over dozens of emails. And, while it might be simple enough for sellers to make use of these online agencies, buyers often get frustrated with the process. Many of these agencies choose not to reveal the address until they have checked out the buyers’ details and an appointment has been scheduled. These details are usually then confirmed via email, with many buyers complaining that the response time is slow and that getting hold of an actual person is near impossible.
Can using an estate agent save me money? The only threat these online agencies pose is that sellers are enticed by the low commission. But, what sellers stand to save in commission, they’re potentially losing in market value. It is not uncommon to see a reduced banner slapped across the main image of these online listings, most often owing to the home being mispriced from the get-go. When buyers see this, it gives them the impression that the owners are desperate for a sale and will accept low-ball offers. Because many of the agents on these online agencies are either intern/rookie agents or are simply not registered on the Estate Agency Affairs Board website, these portals are often unable to offer accurate evaluations which leads to many homes being listed under a ‘reduced price’ banner.
Do estate agents offer good value for money? One rule remains constant throughout life: you get what you pay for. Online agencies are only able to offer their services at the lower price because they know that they are not offering the same value of a traditional real estate agent. The traditional model will not become redundant unless online agencies progress to the point where they are able to offer the same personalised attention and area-specific expertise as the traditional model affords.
So, will the online real estate model render traditional real estate agents redundant? Well, as long as people still choose to visit a doctor instead of downloading an app with self-diagnosis function; hire a recruitment agency instead of advertising a vacancy on Gumtree and hoping only the right candidates will apply; or chat to a financial planner instead of managing all of their investments online by themselves, traditional estate agents will live to see another day.