An industry gradually moving into the 21st century

The Economist sounds the death knell for traditional estate agents

An article in The Economist points to how technology is set to shake up the way traditional estate agents operate.

High street estate agents are one of the few industries yet to be disrupted by advances in technology.

“The internet was supposed to be the great disintermediator. And of all the middlemen it should have wiped out by now, estate agents are among the least popular.”

The way people buy and let properties has changed little over the last decades.

“Prospective buyers pop by in person to pore over printed floor-plans; fax machines cough up contracts; and viewings are set up by telephone.”

Agents charge high commission fees for this antiquated experience.

“So far the most successful online property firms are ‘aggregator’ websites, which bring together listings from many estate agents, charging them fees for hosting the ads. They are thus a further layer of intermediary, taking the place of the local newspapers that used to carry such ads.”

There is little innovation in these sites. While 97% of property searches start online, most wind up with a tenant visiting the office of an estate agent.

“Estate agents’ chances of fending off competition will be stronger if they use the internet and information technology to become more responsive, efficient and cheap”.

Rentify is leading the way in using remarkable technology to remove the hassle and expense associated with old-fashioned agents. Landlords can advertise their property, carry out tenant checks and draft tenancy agreements for free. They can even leave managing properties to property specialists for just £80 per month.

The Economist conclude that: “the chances are that estate agents will still be around a generation from now… but the agents most likely to survive the threat from cheaper alternatives will be those that make the leap into the internet age.”

That’s good news for sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants who all look set to reap the benefits of technology and enjoy greater convenience and savings. It’s bad news for old-fashioned agents trying to preserve the status quo.

Full Economist article here

Image by Justified Sinner licensed under Creative Commons

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