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Proptech has robbed estate agents of their traditional skills, say senior industry duo

Lonres founders William Carrington and Anthony Payne say more sales agencies are embracing more traditional techniques once again.

Nigel Lewis

estate agent

A pushback against technology among estate agents is under way as companies seek to get back to traditional face-to-face customer service and local networking, it has been claimed.

Business to business trading platform Lonres founders William Carrington and Anthony Payne have told The Negotiator that many estate agents who embraced technology during the noughties are now realising that tech has been killing off traditional estate agency skills and making agents lazy.

“We do see agents talking to one another again instead of texting or emailing each other across a room, but what we’d really like to see is agents relaying on tech less,” says Payne.

The duo say the industry, particularly in prime central London, needs to return to the days when estate agents knew their patch inside out, had local contacts within the industry and met their clients face-to-face and listened to what they needed.

“I think there are a lot of companies both large and small who have over embraced technology and it’s cost them instructions so they’ve had to row back and reintroduce some experience into the market place and retrain staff,” says Carrington.

Payne says that when he was learning his trade with leading estate agent Gary Hershall, he was told to ‘really listen’ to what buyers were saying.

“Often they won’t tell you directly what they want; you’ve got to show them the properties to get to know them and then match their real desires with the properties available,” he says.

Rightmove or Zoopla

“The problem with the internet is that the ability of an agent to do that is taken away because buyers think they can just look on Rightmove or Zoopla and think they know what they want and need.

“So I think we will go back to a more traditional approach because there is a need for it – an estate agent has to have a point of difference.

“If you are just a call taker and a door opener then you might as well go and work with Purplebricks. A good agent will, yes, sell your home but also offer a service to the buyer and therefore have lists of people who want to buy properties.

“I think agents have to relearn how to cooperate and network in order to get properties sold. It’s an art which has gone.

“The problem with technology is that it makes you lazy – because you don’t have to put the effort in – but property is something special and needs effort.”

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March 9, 2020

4 comments

  1. Let me see, yes the general public want estate agency as it was 20 years ago. I often hear this when I talk to consumers in the real estate space. After all with half the globe being inhabited by Gen-Z, it makes sense for agents to embrace good old fashioned methods to cater for these tech savvy buyers who conduct all their purchases on a smart phone. Maybe recreate Woolworths while you are at it, I am sure that would be a winner too.

    After all what has Proptech given us? Yourkeys? Getting from reserving a new home to exchanging on it in 168 hours – 7 days, who would want that? Better the sale takes 19 weeks the average length of a transaction in 2019.

    Lonres who are not even agents know best, who needs proptech?, with its vast sprawling vista of different new digital technologies operating within the sphere of property, creating efficiencies, re-imagining and interconnecting all the strands within the sector.

    What value is there in Proptech when it creates smart solutions for property. Its design, planning, build, sales, renting, asset management, and the way in which humans interact with property. Where the customer or end user’s experience can be analysed, distilled and digitized into a solution which enhances service levels and the experience of the consumer, hopefully driving a profitable outcome for the owner of the technology. Who would want that?

    Proptech for those who take the time to find out, is many things including; – Deep Learning, Artificial intelligence, Big Data, Intelligence Augmentation, The Internet of things, Machine Learning, etc. The driver is to use data to streamline processes and deliver maximum revenues.

    Of course it will never catch on, just like Fintech – I mean who would want to do their banking on their mobile or watch, much better to park up and queue at the counter and withdraw cash over the counter – thank God that some things have not changed. That includes some peoples mindsets.

  2. Luckily I never gave up on the “old fashioned way”!

  3. I do think the Estate Agency industry is a little confused about how to use technology within their businesses.

    i.e from proptech being “the future” it’s now “it makes you lazy”

    There appears to be an ethos among agents of always looking for “the next big thing” and when one agent gets ‘it’ (no matter how good or bad the technology is) the rest follows.

    For me, invest in technology only when it makes things more productive for a business or it’s customers.

  4. Finally – someone gets it.

    Not only does prop tech make you lazy, it hides your character – the one thing vendors seek to uncover in an agent.

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