A leading conveyancing solicitor has jumped head first into the online agency debate with a report that heavily criticises them for not providing enough sales progression support for their clients.
South East solicitors Rix & Kay, which has offices in Sussex and Kent, has published the report today after six months spent interviewing 16 of its high street agency clients face-to-face, who between them have 127 branches.
One of the key findings of the report is that many traditional agents are having to “fill in the gaps” left by online agents to stop chains collapsing.
This is driving up costs for traditional agents who are then – in effect – paying to provide the service online agents cannot afford to, the report suggests.
It also highlights how the public have little awareness of what sales progression is, how skilled agents need to do it well, and how critical it is to keeping chains in one piece.
“During the last six months I’ve witnessed unrivalled passion for an industry which has suffered for decades from a tarnished reputation,” says the report’s author Scott Garner from Rix &Kay (pictured, left).
“The traditional agents I spoke to have been central to their communities for a long time and their primary concern is helping local people move home.
“The challenge for them is to be seen as a key advisor to the home buying and selling process and not an unnecessary expense.
“That challenge is now even harder as new entrants continue to de-value the profession and increase pressure on margins.”
James Baring of estate agent Ibbett Mosely (pictured, right), which has offices in Kent, Surrey and East Sussex, and which contributed to the report, says that although there is a market for low-fee online agents, they come “at a price for the client [who are] left to fend for themselves”, he says.
“Ultimately, this only serves to slow the whole process down, making it more expensive and more stressful, not just for them, but for everyone else who happens to be in the chain.”