Hybrid agents are missing the point when they concentrate on transactions and not sales progression and will therefore only ever take a limited slice of the market, it has been claimed.
The comments come from Glynis Frew, Chief Executive of leading UK estate agency and stock market listed PLC Hunters, during an exclusive interview with The Negotiator.
She also says Hunters is picking up customers who have not been able to sell their homes through hybrid or online estate agents.
“Fundamentally property is about people and anyone who thinks it’s just about the transaction is missing the point,” she says.
“The hardest part of the sales process is not marketing a property and getting an offer, but getting it through to contractual completion.
“That takes a lot of investment in people. Our customers can track online how the sales progression is going, but often they want to phone up and speak to us about it on the phone. That’s where we get most of our current 96% customer satisfaction rating.”
Frew says the current crop of hybrid agents are merely an incarnation of a long-standing sector of the property industry; cheap operators.
Big marketing budgets
“The only difference now is that they’ve got big marketing budgets,” she says. “Some people are happy to do a lot of the sales progression work themselves online, but a lot aren’t and the industry needs to remember that although 8% of the market is hybrid/online, 92% isn’t.”
Frew says she recognises that consumer demands and needs are changing, but that doesn’t mean traditional agents aren’t adapting their business models and adopting technology.
“We own our own software so we can react to changing consumer demand. Hunters doesn’t have to go through a third party [supplier] and wait for 80% of their other customers to do it,” she says.
Last year Hunters launched an online valuation bookings tool that can be completed any hour of the day or night and that also produces detailed valuation reports. This, Frew says, has already brought in fee income worth £500,000.