Will Online agents gain significant market share in the future?

Property Industry Eye – Where news comes first The Arena The Future of Agency Forum Will Online agents gain significant market share in the future?

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    Nick Salmon Managing Director of EYE

    2%, 5% 20%? How much of the market can online agents be expected to win in the next five to ten years?



    Depends how much billshut they spread and how many people swallow it.

    What has to be said is that if they do what the tin says – then they deserve the business.  It’s walking the talk that will be the downfall of many.


    smile please

    2025 i think it will be a very different industry to what we work in now.

    Unless High Street agents pull up their sock and stop burying their heads in the sand i feel it could be as high as a 50 /50 split.

    No doubt my fellow high street agents think i am mad.

    BUT there comes a tipping point, and we all know the service is worse and the onliners may not get you as much money but a number of them have invested heavily in online, TV and radio advertising. The public bless them dont know the pitfalls.

    So not only are the onliners growing their business they are growing there own niche market, which the public will percive to be the norm, especially over a 10 year period.

    When was the last time you saw a high street agent on tv? countrywide, lsl, sequence big big agents but do not advertise on TV.

    In my opinion you will have less high street agents in 10 years but they will be much more focused on service. Almost boutique agencies, where people value service.

    I think online will get much more popular but i also see an explosion on third party service providers to help with this, You will see local viewing guides, third party sales progressors and more professional photographers.

    You will instruct an online agent to list your property and then maybe chose their “Add ons” or go to a third party to complement it.

    That is unless the high street fights back and starts selling what we really do……



    HUNTERS!!! Hunters were on TV last week! Just saying.


    View from the sideline

    If your profit margin is 10-15% then how much marketshare do the online agents need. I understand they have 8% now.

    When you can crowd fund £2,500,000.00 on the basis that the business model will take five years to get into profit, then there must be a strong belief the model has some chance of succeeding. If they don’t, then there will be plenty of others that will try.

    The market has changed, agents need to offer more than one product!



    The downside of our industry is the minimal/fragmented way we promote our High Street Business….. The Corporates look after themselves and it is in their interest for a Zero United approach….. TheDuopoly promote themselves off the back off the stock that we supply?….. and the Online Property Listers promote themselves as the Aldi of the Property Sphere…..

    I am seriously considering IEA Association….. Independent Estate Agents Association….. when you instruct an IEA Member you are actually getting an ESTATE AGENT!

    As I watch the Daftie Brigade Crowdfunding maybe the obvious is staring me in the face re a Crowdfunding style approach to our fundamental the marketing of our industry……

    It needs a clear objective – Clearly & repeatedly promote/drive home why an Independent Estate Agent IS better!

    It needs to represent all of the UK.

    It needs real Estate Agency figures to be actively involved, to listen and react to ideas….. it needs to remind itself why it is there daily! …..and Yes, I’m happy to sit down with other professionals across the UK and dedicate the time & effort to elevate our profession above the flotsum & jetsom that currently portray themselves as the NEW Face of Estate Agency…. when they are no more than Chanty Rastlers!

    …….I’ll go and canvas opinion and see how tough the task is…. getting competing estate agents to co-operate on just one aspect of our industry, which is vital to the future of our industry…. yet, to-date we most often stubbornly refuse to work together!


    smile please

    IEA – I would happily sign up!



    Gor blimey! – only yesterday I was musing about ‘someone’ needing to set up an Association dedicated to promoting the core industry – now there’s a whole raft of them being rolled out!

    Just like the number 10 bus – they all come together…! ;o)



    Just out of interest, GPL, for my ‘friend’ who is also contemplating the creation of such a body of professionals, what would your strict Membership criteria be?


    Hello there

    <span style=”line-height: 1.5;”>I’ve been reading the website forever but this is my first post but i had to wade in as i was talking about just this subject earlier today.</span>

    My view is that in 10 years time we will see the industry split into three distinct camps with the first consisting of traditional high street agents but with only around half the volume we see now with maybe 4 or 5 where currently there would be 9 or 10 in an old fashioned high street.

    At the other end of the spectrum we will also see a few really strong national online estate agency brands. The likes of easyproperty, purplebrick or emove. Maybe someone who we haven’t heard of yet like Countrywides much talked about offering.

    The third option will be kind of like the American set up and somewhere in the middle of the two above with 4 or 5 stand alone online agents covering an area and trading off of there own name, reputation & local knowledge/experience. “Joe Smith Realtor” to stretch the american theme. They will charge a lower fee than a high street office but more than a national on-liner but on a no sale no fee basis. The pitch will be instruct me and I will be the one who deals with every aspect of the move for you.

    These few will be the best of us and probably evolve from the small and medium size independents operating currently. We’ll probably be part of a network like a lot of independent mortgage advisers are today and have a decent work life balance as there’ll be no shop to man. As our overheads will be so much lower we should be able to maintain a decent living even though we’ll be dealing with much lower volumes than our office setups are able to now. For this reason the service we offer will be much better as it’ll be easier to control the quality as we’ll be doing it all ourselves.

    So in response to the question my answer is Yes, but because a lot of us will evolve into the best version possible of them.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by Hello there.

    smile please

    ME ME ME PeeBee!

    My suggestions to join would be:

    1. You must have a high street office.

    2. You must be able to demonstrate three years within the industry.

    3. You must continue to be of good character. I.E. not making outlandish claims.

    4. You must demonstrate how you verify owners & buyers identification and you must be agreed to be audited at anytime on this.

    5. You must offer a full service, I.E. you must list the property, sell the property and progress the property.

    6. You do not have a second site that is away from the business. I.E. No call centers.

    7. The majority of property you deal with must be withing 5 miles of your offices.

    8. Your landline must be set within the area you cover. i.e. You cannot have a birmingham prefix number and be based in london.

    9. You do not own your own legal department – To avoid corporate agents joining.

    10. You must be interviewed to see you are a competent agent.

    I would then set a framework of rules to follow and abide by. I would not want to restrict trading but i would like more transparency and not mislead the public, No claims to sell houses for £500 and get away with the old terms and conditions apply.



    Thanks for that, smile please.

    I – sorry, I mean my ‘friend’, of course – might well adopt four of your criteria… five at a push.

    I see your thought process but there are flaws in the structure.

    Much discussion needed.



    So basically we/you are looking to create….

    The National Association of High Street Estate Agents (N.A.H.S.E.A)?

    Getting AM and OTM to be taken seriously is hard enough, why an earth would people join the NAHSE ! It would need money and a lot of time.

    Anyway that aside, I tick all of the above! Why be a member of your group?


    smile please

    Yep spot on Ric!

    The reason i hope this happens and you would be a member Ric is,

    1. Online agents and alike are not allowed so they do not benefit from high street credibility.

    2. I would hope this is a proactive association looking to get in front of the media and press banging the drum for full service, high street agency. Letting the public know what we do and why we are so important.

    The one thing onliners have done is generate fantastic PR and able to keep positive stories about themselves in the press. As an industry we need a voice.

    NAEA at present do very little for agents, yes you get a sticker, yes you agree to rules (which are never enforced in my opinion), You can take their mickey mouse exams which the public have no idea about. When was the last time you saw a spokesperson for NAEA on newsnight or on a BBC story about estate agents?

    They do not not promote our industry. they have fooled a large number of agents into thinking that the NAEA means something and that the public know about it.

    When was the last time you heard the public ask are you a member of NAEA? – Never for me.

    The public think “The Property Ombudsman” is our regulator (we are not even a member of them) because at least the public have heard of them.

    I am hoping a new association fit for 2015 and beyond is formed, its is dedicated to promote and police good high street agents. Create public awareness, form bonds with the media and press. Help educate the public on the importance of a full service agent.



    SO… smile please – the question has to be asked:

    IF Agents Mutual were to be able to become this new ‘Association’ (and I’m not saying that they could… purely hypothetical…) – then would you be in?


    smile please

    I think AM have missed a massive opportunity.

    If they did do something along the lines i suggest, i would certainly consider more seriously joining AM.

    I also think AM and OTM should be split, if AM was about promoting the industry i would definatley like to join, it should then be a choice if you want to “Upgrade” to OTM.

    I think they will start to increase membership along this route.



    You were looking for questions for the OTM Rep, smile please – well there’s the jewel in the crown!


    Trevor Mealham

    Yes its now estimated tbat 99.9% of all agents are online including the likes of LSL and Countrywide.

    Sorry. But people need to define between Hg St and based away from main High St. And also traditional from budget.


    Chris Wood

    There are effectively  three types of on- line agent emerging

    1. The traditional high street agent who has now moved their operation to a non high street office

    2. A hybrid (think Purplebricks) who, whilst not currently having ‘local’ agents, as most reasonable people would understand the word, are providing a similar service to ‘1’ above

    3. A centralised national call centre operation with no personal local knowledge whatsoever

    As I see it, the majority of high street agents (HSAs’) don’t have a real issue with with ‘1’ and, can (grudgingly) see that ‘2’ will work for the benefit of the consumer once they actually employ genuinely local people. In my opinion, the ire of HSAs’ is actually aimed at those agents who fall into the ‘3’ classification; as it is widely believed (correctly in my opinion) that these agents whilst able to provide a streamlined call centre operation, actually fail their customers on a daily basis and, thus, in their obligations under the 1979 Estate Agents Act and TPO regulations.

    The problem that ‘3’ agents have is that they don’t want to be agents at all; they want to be passive intermediaries but the law defines them as estate agents with all of the professional liability, responsibility, duties of care, legislation and monitoring that involves.

    Will ‘3’ agents increase their currently tiny market share? At present, in my area, they have a sub 1.0% share of the total market despite throwing millions at national advertising – take a look at your area and post on here; it would be an interesting exercise that may put this topic into perspective.

    As a sector of the market, ‘3’ agents will undoubtedly carve out a small niche as there will always be a sector of the public who confuse ‘cheap’ with ‘value for money’ and who don’t understand the rather cynical business model on which it is built – we don’t need to sell your home, we just need to get your money up-front to get it on the market and then cross sell to you; if your home sells, then great, but we don’t really care.

    To win the marketing war, good agents don’t need to waste energies on forming a new association that the public won’t listen to and much less care about no matter how well-intentioned and worthy; we need to continue win the hearts and minds of the public by offering great value for money, adding value to the experience and, to take the time to complain and report to the ASA etc. the wild claims made by HSAs’ whenever they occur. Have a great week everyone and I look forward to seeing a few of you at the Prop Tech Conference on Wednesday.

    Chris Wood



    Chris – of course you are correct that it would be fruitless to create yet another toothless, unfit-for-purpose ‘association’ when there are so many already to take your money and bang out the same rotational list of soundbites as and when people moan that they are doing nothing for their Members.

    That wasn’t the plan – but I fully note the probability your suggestion of how it would be reacted to by the public (and in fairness by even the majority of its membership if the others are anything to go by…) is as good a reason to give it a miss as any.

    I’m just not easily deterred.  GOOD Agency needs cohesive promotion – or the public will start believing the uberhype wrapping concealing the uberbillshut within which is being thrust before them.

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