One of the trickiest things about competing for listings is the need to get the asking price right while ensuring that you can actually fulfil your potential clients’ expectations.
Over the last few years it’s got even more difficult for high street agents who are now up against increasingly competitive and well-funded, low-cost alternatives.
Without entering into a dialogue about what high street agents do to earn their fee further down the line, I’m just talking about the actual listing – the agent’s lifeblood and, for many of the new breed of hybrid agent, the point at which they actually get paid.
If there’s one thing that stands between the two competing methods of sale, it’s an effective Automated Valuation Model (AVM).
It’s recognised in the industry that AVMs, although less blunt than they were a few years ago, are still there principally there to get contact details for whoever is researching the price of their house – the assumption being that anyone typing their details into an agent’s AVM offering is actually looking to sell.
Almost every agent now has some form of ‘what is your home worth?’ button on their home page – and a useful widget it is too.
However, any vendor would have to be deluded to assume that the AVM figure is anywhere even close to what their home will actually for. No, the only way in which you get an accurate figure is to get some local agents around.
They know what’s sold and also have the luxury of considering something that AVMs will struggle to do for some time to come: assess demand.
Valuing is not just about what’s sold in a particular street. It’s also about how many people might buy it – as I’ve said before, historical perspective is no guarantee of future value.
The blunt truth is that anyone considering a fixed fee sale with an online agent is most likely to get an idea of value after doing their research with a local high street agent – and therein lies the problem.
I’ve been talking to some people who appear pretty close to bringing something to the market that addresses this dichotomy. If they do, then it could revolutionise the process more than any other proptech product to date.