One of the UK’s best-known hybrid estate agency firms has admitted that technology will never replace the need for human interaction within the property industry.
Akshay Ruparelia, who has been featured frequently in national newspapers and daytime TV shows after starting up ‘£99 per sale’ online estate agency Doorsteps.co.uk aged just 19 years old in 2017, has told a business magazine that, despite his confidence in the online model, it will never replace traditional agents.
“I don’t think the estate agent industry will ever be completely automated or technology based, without human interaction,” he told Forbes magazine.
“But I do believe in a hybrid model, where local experts and consultants do the face-to-face work backed up by a digital infrastructure.
“Technology means more power in the hands of the people, lower costs, better convenience and better processes; if someone can come in and use technology to disrupt the antiquated conveyancing market, for example, then I believe this can only be a positive thing.”
Ruparelia has been less kind in the past about traditional agents who use human interaction, describing high street fee levels as ‘insane’ during a BBC interview, and told Good Morning Britain TV show that charging 2% of a property’s sale value is ‘not right’.
Doorsteps currently offers to sell a home for £99 including sales progression and portal listings, but excludes pretty much everything else including accompanied viewings, photos and floorplans.
It does offer a service akin to a traditional agent, which it calls ‘Premium’ for £999 but paid upfront by the vendor.