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Online agents are the Uber of sales and lettings industry

Online agents may soon sell and let across national boundaries as company websites and property portals operate on an increasingly global basis.

That is the prediction from Russell Quirk, the never-knowingly-underquoted chief executive of online agency eMoov. 

Quirk, writing in the London business publication City AM, says Uber changed the taxi industry by simply using existing technology - the satellite navigation system - and applying it to take passengers from one place to another. 


“In times past you would call your local taxi office, queue at your local rank, manned by a fleet of local drivers who operate in that area only. But the satnav came along and a driver from London could just as easily taxi you around Manchester or Southampton, without fear of getting lost” he says.

“Now that Uber is operating across six continents in 67 cities .... Uber users are no longer forced to find out who the local firms are. And how long will it be before wherever you go in the world, the taxi service you automatically go to use is Uber?”

Quirk says Rightmove and Zoopla are the satnav equivalents for the property industry “making it possible for anyone to advertise on a national scale, without an abundance of office branches in every high street.”

He concludes his article by forecasting: “It won’t be long before the online property sector takes a leaf from Uber’s book and starts to overtake the high street agent on a global digital scale, not just a national one. But as with Uber, it won’t be all plain sailing. The result could be a gang of angry agents, taking to the streets in protest to burn tyres and blockade roads.”

  • Terence Dicks

    Russell Quirk, I would like to have you work as an Estate Agent for a month to see how you cope. You seem to be quite good at taking money from people without giving much of a service back. Your brash and unthought comments are distasteful and ridiculous. The world will not moov the way you wish purely because YOU say it should.

  • Russell Quirk

    Thanks Terence. Not sure what you mean by '..without giving much of a service back...'? You don't seem to elaborate on that.

    Anyhow, great idea to have you offer me the chance to work as an estate agent (although I thought I'd been doing that the past 16 years). I'll be there with you Monday for you to show me the ropes. What time do you start?

  • Sceptical As Always

    yawn... yes, online agents are getting a bigger slice of the market as people move towards online platforms. Only good agents will survive the shift towards more people doing themselves. As this happens though there will be more and more people looking for a good agent to pick up the pieces when things go wrong. To call it the "uber" of estate agency is going a bit far... having said that however black cabs are still around the last time I looked. Let's just make sure we don't race to the bottom.

  • icon

    Interesting points Sceptical. I don't see a comparison with Uber as anything for an 'estate agency' to shout about. Uber is known as being a cheap alternative with poor customer service and lots of 'nightmare' stories...I guess that's why online agents are so keen to compare themselves with it then!

  • Chris Arnold

    Is Russell the Donald Trump of estate agency? Certainly better at playing the media than high street agencies. Best to ignore and get on proving him wrong by being better!

  • icon

    A purveyor of column inches in the property press, most certainly!


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