An online agency launched by a traditional high street agent to ward off competition says the online business model might have to change in the light of Emoov’s financial crisis.
Love2move, founded in February 2017 using an online platform developed by the Lancashire-based traditional agency MovingWorks, allows bricks and mortar agencies to offer customers a fixed-fee listing service for £895.
It says it now has 20 agencies signed up to the format but now warns that other online agents “may need to reconsider the nature of their offer to market to make it work.”
Love2move says this is because of what it calls the Emoov “drama” - that agency is looking for a buyer at a price expected to be well below the £100m paid for its merger with Tepilo and Urban over the spring of this year.
“There are [also] claims that by making Purplebricks the biggest estate agent in the UK the consumer has voted for a change in the way houses are sold, but is that really the case, and where does the traditional service fit in all this?” asks Love2move director Mark Worrall.
Now he has set out an online survey which he wants agents to participate in asking, amongst other things, how online agencies have affected the wider housing market and whether Emoov’s current model is sustainable in the current market.
Worrall claims that offering vendors the choice of a traditional service alongside an online platform gives agents the best chance to win instructions.
“We believe this is the future of estate agency, whereby clients are offered a menu of items and they can choose the options that best suits their needs and budgets” he adds, claiming that his concept marries the effectiveness and convenience of an online service, backed up by local knowledge and professional expertise from high street agents.
One of the agencies that has signed up to Love2move is Kirkham Property in Oldham.
Spokesman James Patchett says of the model: “The choice we give clients gives us a USP and whilst online isn’t for everyone by offering it we have protected our business in challenging times. Not only are we now able to attract new clients, but also by demonstrating the difference in the online and traditional services we have been able to increase the fee we charge for a full service. I firmly believe agents who can offer choice but maintain profitability will protect their business and our industry.”
The Love2move survey is here.