The chief executive of Hunters franchise operation, Glynis Frew, says online estate agencies have given the industry two ‘positives’ - but have failed to replace the traditional people-centric model which is now once again in the ascendency.
Frew was speaking to TheBusinessDesk’s Women in Business lunch in York, and reported on TheBusinessDesk website.
In the article Frew is quoted as saying that as online firms entered the market in recent years there was a fear they were going to disrupt the sector.
“It was expected that in a very short space of time, they would probably have 30 per cent market share. In actual fact, that’s not happened. Their business model is about paying up front regardless.
“As the market tightens, that hasn’t proved very successful and a number have closed. I don’t want you to think, though, that I am saying that system is no good. I think there is a couple of things online agents have really taught traditional estate agents.”
She says the first is that “brands matter” with some online agencies enjoying high levels of brand recognition, helping them in an industry based at least partly on reputation.
The second it that “the customer is willing and wants to communicate online. And they want to do that when your office shuts. Just because you close, doesn’t mean to say the customer’s transaction stops.”
However, with online agencies’ market share now in decline and several leading onliners having shut down completely, she says the traditional model remains head and shoulders as the best.
“I still believe that our model is the best because people are at the heart of a property transaction … The lesson I take from it is that it’s always important to remember that whatever industry you are looking at, you can always learn different things.”
And she concluded: “We help people to realise their dreams. To live in a property that they aspire to or even to actually solve a problem. Our vision is to be the nation’s favourite agent … Nobody can destroy the aspiration to live somewhere or in somewhere where you wanted to live. That is intrinsic in us all.”