A leading agent and property management expert says the shock closure of online agency Upad is a sign that technology alone is not enough when it comes to transacting homes.
Upad announced its closure unexpectedly last Saturday; apparently this was the result of its founder, James Davis, re-thinking his priorities after a serious medical emergency.
However David Alexander - joint managing director of online platform Apropos - says even the most innovative and unique technology must be backed up by experience, a strong customer base, sound financial backing, and face to face service delivery.
Apropos launches in the New Year as a bespoke property platform and will be delivered by “on-the-ground business partners across the UK” because “it is the combination of people and technology that provides the best service for tenants and landlords” explains Alexander.
Online services are, undoubtedly, the way forward for the property market allowing greater access, openness and transparency … but this must be delivered by experienced individuals who can provide a face for the service” he says.
“Technology alone cannot provide the full package. You need to know there is someone there who responds to the individual, who understands the local market, and who has the experience and knowledge to ensure that great service is delivered combined with the latest technology.
“It is also essential that online providers charge an appropriate fee. It is extremely difficult to sustain a business if the fees are set too low simply to attract business. We do not want a race to the bottom on fees” he adds.