The high profile financial difficulties faced by Emoov and the recent fall in the share value of Purplebricks do not mean the concept of the hybrid estate agent is dead.,
That’s the view of Rob Bryer, founder of The Good Estate Agent, which describes itself as the original hybrid agency in the UK.
“The trouble is some companies have rushed into this market thinking a low fee, low service product is what the customer wants. This simply is not the case. Your property is your biggest investment and customers want great service not a no frills option” says Bryer.
“Like the story of the Hare and the Tortoise, we’ve been building slow and steady since 2010 without borrowing or investment and we are beginning to win the race” he claims.
Bryer says the top franchisee in his company took home just over £18,000 last month, and he claims this monthly level “is not uncommon”, and is impressive for a single agent operating from their own home.
He says his network of franchisees now numbers over 100 with up to 25 more signing up each month; he makes almost daily changes to The Good Estate Agent’s bespoke software platform that he created himself.
Bryer says the key to success for his franchise operation is emphasising a work-life balance; he says he currently starts his day with a driving lesson for his 17 year old son whilst on the way to school and then a visit to the gym.
Two years ago Bryer advertised franchises at his agency from £5,000 upwards.
The Kent-based firm provides what it describes as “full training, access to an online property and applicant management system, website, telephone and email support” and “takes care of the major brunt of the work such as the administration, Rightmove and Zoopla advertising as well as telephone and email enquiries” - leaving the franchise owner with all the time to go out and get the business.
Meanwhile high-end agency Jackson-Stops, which has 46 offices nationwide, has launched a new website in a bid to - in its words - “offer a 24/7 experience via its online site” as “more hybrid estate agents launch to the market.”
The firm says the new website signals the start of Jackson-Stops’ digital strategy to enable clients that want to access a range of digital services.
The website includes a ‘My Jackson-Stops’ portal providing buyers with a virtual space to keep a record of their recent searches, saved searches and saved properties, allowing them to quickly find and consider relevant homes to view.
Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, says:“As we as a nation become increasingly digital savvy, consumers’ property searching habits are evolving as well – particularly amongst younger buyers. We understand that as a national estate agent we must react to these changes by providing a wider range of services and content online, which is why we have decided to make significant updates to our website.
“We have been operating as a traditional estate agent for more than a century and know how important our traditional values are to our clients. Despite now taking a more digitally-led approach, which will allows for a number of services to be available 24/7, we will continue to retain and offer the inter-personal skills and experience of professional agents on the ground.”