Over the last decade there has been a notable change in the world of buying and selling houses, from the more traditional high street estate agents to the newer on-line negotiators, but while both have a valued place in the property market, they achieve impressive results in entirely different ways.
As someone who is not an estate agent but who works closely with the industry, I can offer an impartial view on this subject. We currently work with traditional estate agents such as CJ Hole, Martin & Co and Whitegates and hybrids like EweMove, to name but a few. In addition, we also work with a number of up and coming on-line only agents, who have taken advantage of the fact that the price for innovative technology has dropped dramatically in recent years.
Having read many posts on public forums as well as across a variety of property media titles, I’ve been surprised by the hostility and bitterness targeted at those who are looking to innovate, move forward and above all, dare to be different.
But just as people are different, so are their continually changing tastes and requirements and, it seems apparent that there is no definite right or wrong business model for estate agency. As long as, customer service remains a high priority, and that people keep moving house of course, the industry is bold and big enough for everyone.
The notion that traditional agents somehow cannot harness cutting edge revenue-generating technology is simply not true. It’s just that for many of them, it is not their top priority right now. But for those who do embrace it, by adding the latest up-to-date knowhow and stand-out from crowd creativity, they’re onto a real winner.
In fact, we are forever reminding traditional agents of the distinct advantage they have over the so called ‘disruptors’ and start-ups. They already have a brand, a reputation and an established market place to build on. Many span decades’ and even centuries. We are currently working with Ellis & Co and CJ Hole, both are over a hundred years old. This is worth its weight in what I call ‘Brand Gold’. They have a history and more importantly a story and are known in their patch for exceptional service, across the generations. So they already have a strong brand to start with, which when you then refine and add the latest technology, you have a powerful combination.
And a strong brand and innovative technology work beautifully for the less traditional agent too. The reason EweMove’s sheep branding is so original and memorable is for a good reason - it had to be. When you are starting a brand from scratch, if you want to get noticed any time soon, you have to do things differently, and an original visual identity is the place to start.
Of course, there are always going to be agencies who have a desire to be amongst the technological leaders in the field, but who don’t really embrace it, as they are unable to adapt to the technical changes.
And by comparing a similar scenario to my own industry, I can see stark comparisons. In the past decade, multiple on-line freelance websites and offers from India and South America have increased and continue to bombard the industry. While design can be done reasonably cheaply - a logo can be easily created in the Far East via an on-line portal, for as little as £5 but, this is not what our clients want. Those agencies who want the real deal - exceptional customer service, industry-leading technology, innovation and outstanding creativity make sure they do it properly.
In every industry there are businesses competing on price and on value quality. So why not put away your daggers and concentrate on utilising the tools that are readily available to make your business more profitable like an enhanced website, strong brand identity and exceptional digital marketing.
If you need any guidance or support about your current estate agency website design and performance, please do contact a member of the team.