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Consumer group says hybrid estate agency is "the future"

The influential consumer property body HomeOwners Alliance says Purplebricks-style hybrid estate agencies may be “the future”.

In a blog on the HOA website, author Claire Carponen says that for a company as established as Savills to invest in a hybrid agency - as it did recently with YOPA - the model must now be taken seriously. 

“The move can be seen as part of a wider trend by established companies partnering with start-up companies for their technology advantages” she says, using as further evidence the Connells acquisition of online agency Hatched last year. 

“Everything is moving online and it’s only a matter of time before we can buy a home through the internet. However, people still want human interaction and an expert who knows the local area. Hybrids could provide both things” according to Paula Higgins, chief executive officer of the HomeOwners Alliance.

She says online-only companies typically offer a basic package of services while hybrids are closer in type to a traditional agency, and questions in the light of the hybrid emergence whether there is any longer a need for agencies to have branches on high streets. 

“You can buy and sell a home with an estate agent without stepping foot into their office. They are, essentially, just places where you look at pictures of homes – something you can do more conveniently online. Our high streets are dominated by estate agents but in a few years’ time they could look very different” she says.

  • Terence Dicks

    So the HOA would like us all to work from home like PB etc?? Idiots. When you add up all the hidden fees most of the online agents charge, allied with their awful service, we are are not much more expensive than them (if at all). We also offer a great service to our clients, including placing their business with GOOD conveyancers to reduce the risk of fallen sales. I am getting fed up with amateurs attempting to influence the way our business is carried out. Our offices are a base to work from, and if a client needs our help to fill out the Property Information Form or the Fixtures and Fittings Form, it is a place they can come to seek our assistance (which is freely given). How is having no high street presence going to best serve consumer interest?? Forgive me for disagreeing with this " influential consumer property body HomeOwners Alliance", but having a high street presence shows that we really DO have "Local Property Experts" who actually WORK in the area, as opposed to people who live 20, 30 or 40 miles from their area of work, or are trying to cover 11 London Postcode areas and have no real knowledge of the properties they are supposed to be seling (NOT only marketing). The HOA should remember they are supposed to be representing their customers best interests, not attempting to be fortune-tellers.

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    Given HOA.org.uk are a profit driven organisation earning advertising & referral revenue from: Housesimple, Tepilo, eMoov, urban.co.uk, sellmyhome.co.uk, 121move.co.uk, easyproperty.com & yopa.co.uk, one must ask whether their public backing & promotion of the hybrid / cheap fee / upfront payment model is truely in the consumers' best interests (or their own)?

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    No smoke without fire, eh Peter?

     
  • Kristjan Byfield

    Not sure who else agrees with me but I find this whole 'hybrid' label bizarre. We live in a digital age and all agents need to be 'hybrid'. This term has been hijacked by onlne agents and is now used in association with online agents however nothing could be further from the truth. The 'true' online agent was a 'hands off' model delivering huge savings to clients for undertaking much of the work usually done by an agent. Hybrid is nothing that new and is certainly nt a result of online agents but is the simple and unavoidable progression of all businesses in all sectors n a digital age.
    Again, the need by trade bodies, the media and 'groups/organisations' to put the stick in the sand to pledge to one 'model' is bizarre. Instead what we should be doing, as a sector, is celebrate the incredible array of choices now available to Landlords and Vendors alike to get any service level they want for the selected budget. Rather than celebrating the 'death of the High St agent' we should celebrate the evolution of our industry in to a truly consumer driven service sector.

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    All these reports and commentators completely miss the point with the online offering. You are not paying them to SELL your house, you are paying them to LIST your house. Purple bricks etc will get paid regardless of whether they sell or not, whereas us high street agents have the incentive to actually sell the house, rather than just list it. Oh and by the way, all the online agents have boomed on the back of a buoyant market, a tough period will shake things up.

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