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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Forget branches - Google and Feefo are go-to for today’s buyers

A well known regional agent has closed one of its offices saying “the old shop window of an estate agency is no longer much needed” - and suggesting the quality of a firm’s website is more important.

Andrew Grant, a well-known independent in the West Midlands, has closed its Redditch branch and has pledged to visit clients rather than expecting them to visit the company’s offices. And a local press report suggests the Andrew Grant office at Hereford has also closed.

It still has 12 other offices in the region but a blog on the company’s website - quoting Estate Agent Today research on the number of agency offices remaining on High Streets - suggests a complete change of philosophy by the firm. 

“In the UK 16 retail stores close each day; 1,234 High Street chain stores have already closed this year, and restaurant chain branches aren’t far behind in numbers. It’s safe to say the look of the average High Street is changing.

“Estate agents, too, populate many high profile shop windows in our towns. There are around 20,000 branches of sales and lettings agencies around the UK and that too will certainly change.

“Not because High Street estate agents share the retailers’ problem of being threatened by online versions of themselves (despite what advertising might suggest!). The market is busy with buyers and even with Brexit looming, business is brisk.

“But the old shop window of an estate agency is no longer much needed. Committed buyers have telephone and email alerts to flag up new properties to market the moment they appear online and simply click a link to learn more and book a viewing.

“No one is waiting for the local newspaper to arrive on a Thursday evening to see what’s available, or walk the streets peering into the half light of the estate agency window for inspiration.

“Research suggests that few prospective vendors now would choose an agent to represent them because they have the best office position in town - though they might choose the one with the best website.

“These days personal recommendations bring in a high percentage of clients. Google searches and online reviews like Feefo are the go-to research tools for those new to the property market.

“Many will never visit their chosen agent’s office or necessarily even know where it is.”

You can see the full blog here.

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