How have estate agency services changed over the last 15 years?

Nothing stays the same forever, and the best businesses are those agile and flexible enough to change and move with the ever changing times.

Without this ability to adapt, businesses risk becoming obsolete, or at the very least, are likely to face a gradual reduction in profit and cash flow.

The estate agency industry has never been an exception to this rule. In fact, unlike some other sectors, like mining, or oil and gas, the estate agency industry has had to adapt particularly fast – integrating new technologies in order to keep pace with the rapidly changing requirements of customers.

The growth of the internet has vastly empowered buyers and sellers with huge amounts of information now available with just the click of a mouse, and agents have done their best to compete in the new space.

Crucially, the property industry has shifted from an ‘agency’ to a ‘property’ led business. Traditional, high street ‘shop windows’ are being replaced by online and digital portals. At the click of a button, prospective homebuyers can now browse hundreds of properties at their leisure or receive an instant alert flagging up any new properties coming to market that fit their specific criteria. Most customers are not out on the high streets anymore, they’re to be found online.

It all seems like a far more convenient solution with the logical conclusion being that the online agency market would be set to grow. The net result however is that home buyers and sellers are having less and less contact with real people who understand the business and the process involved. Early evidence would suggest that growth has been slower than expected with some indications that the online business model may not actually be sustainable.

The key to a successful estate agent is the client care provided by the agent, right through from the initial call to the handing over of the keys. A successful agent will provide that level of service that feels over and above and worth the money being spent by the seller. The seller wants a friendly contactable agent that makes the transaction feel as stress free as possibly with up-to-date communication. The easier the process the happier the seller will be. The ‘all under the one roof that we here at Aletta Shaw Estate Agency’ incorporates means that a seller will have everything at hand without the need to go anywhere else.

Like any other industry, estate agency has had to keep up with the digital and technological revolution that has taken place in the last few decades. The internet, social media and portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla have changed the face of agency. Rightmove was founded in 2000 and has had a huge impact on the property market ever since. Zoopla joined the party in 2008, while in recent years other portals have attempted to get in on the act.

Websites, too, have become absolutely crucial for any, modern estate agency. Nowadays, most agencies have sites which are slick, user-friendly and highly interactive. Big firms have invested big money to ensure their web presence is up to scratch. Online valuation tools that help to convert website traffic into vendor and landlord leads have also become increasingly popular on agents’ websites. Social media, while still a fairly minor influence in the agency world, has proved itself to be more than a short-term fad and is increasingly being used to engage with and inform prospective clients.

Estate agency is a thriving, constantly evolving industry, a fact backed up by the number of agencies operating.

Estate agents have been going strong since 1805 and there is nothing to suggest that won’t still be the case in 2105.

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