High standards of service still highly valued going forward a half decade
Around four to five years ago bullish predictions claimed that online-only estate agents would by now have taken at least half of the UK market. This forecast has proved rather wide of the mark: as per 2018 statistics, online agents account for under five times this estimation at just seven per cent.
So the digital revolution hasn’t quite happened, but maybe a sort of ‘semi’ revolution might as some traditional estate agents transition to a ‘hybrid’ business model combining traditional face to face estate agency with digital.
Certain properties still need a specialised service
Maybe the digital estate agency model can work when properties are more ‘predictable’ and of a type; for example, situations where similar spec homes in a large development come onto the market regularly and values can be more easily set based on past transactions.
This contrasts with one-off properties that require the expertise of property professionals who know the areas such as Keystones Property Estate Agents to accurately value and market them properly.
These types of property offer too many variables for the ‘one size fits all’ approach of digital estate agency, and often are quite ‘labour intensive’ to sell such as conducting accompanied viewings or arranging a property open day.
Possible ‘menu’ style agencies
It may be that a move towards the ‘hybrid’ of digital and face to face agency will see a menu style option where those selling a type of property not requiring much specialist help can avail themselves of a more automated digital service, while those selling a one-off or specialist property can benefit from more hands on, expert help.
Service standards set to rise
Far from a decline in the personal service standards, it’s more likely that estate agents will strive to reach higher levels of service. The industry is unregulated with no formal qualifications required – although training does exist – but some predict this could well change as service standards rise in the years to come.
This could be as a result of possible reductions in estate agency numbers; an ageing population is commensurately less likely to move house generally speaking so it may well be that ‘survival of the fittest’ holds sway amongst estate agent companies in the future.
Out of hours support
While most estate agents already work long hours and their offices are open usually seven days a week, the varying routines of customers – those working unusual hours for example – means extra support may be required.
This may come in the form of chatbot tech as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning becomes established. Some agents already have live chat and other tech on their websites to ensure customers real and potential can interact quickly and easily with them, and chatbot tech could see this extended.
Where else tech plays a part
As in many industries, tech is certain to play more of a part in estate agency – indeed it’s happening already what with some companies offering facilities such as VR (Virtual Reality) tours of properties.
Drone technology is likely to come into play to provide people with even more insight to properties they’re interested in – a particular benefit to show people the gardens and grounds of larger properties and perhaps to show the surrounding locality.