The existence of online agencies means some consumers believe real life estate agents are unnecessary in a deal - but the rest of the industry needs to prove that’s not the case.
That’s according to PropTech firm Gazeal, which argues agents can do more to ensure they are seen as relevant, trusted and, most importantly, essential to their clients.
A combination of more technology, better delivery of information to consumers, and a role in speeding property transactions will all help agents become more trusted by the public.
Bryan Mansell, Gazeal co-founder, says: “It’s about rich data and agents using this to demonstrate their competence, knowledge and professionalism. They can show they are more professional than competitors by sharing national and local knowledge with tech-savvy delivery.”
He continues: “Good agents play an absolutely crucial role in facilitating smooth house moves, never more important than now when the stamp duty holiday has ended and there are some concerns about how the market will react.
“Having the right information and technology readily available – by making the use of the growth of Artificial Intelligence – can help agents to thrive and prove how essential they are. With the right tech, agents can control the process better; chasing a sale is not the same as progressing a sale.”
Mansell says the information required in a house sale or purchase is still massively fragmented, confusing and frustrating for consumers.
“However, tech can help agents to give better advice on key things like TA6 forms and other required legal documents. This could be in the form of an alert on their phone, an automated message, a blog on their website, or a jazzy little guide” he explains.
“Anything you can do to make their lives easier, with everything taken care of from day one, will be highly welcome and improve your standing in their eyes. Tech is there as that helping hand.”
Mansell says that many agencies are not currently trusted in the way they should be to steer the public through the transaction process.
“We know that agency continues to have trust issues with consumers, largely due to negative portrayals in the media and a hard to shift perception of agents in the UK.
“But there are ways in which agencies can stand out from the crowd, making themselves more transparent and trusted, and that includes things like upfront information to differentiate yourself from the competition around you.”
He says agents shouldn’t be afraid to adopt PropTech solutions as technology advances and transactions slowly but surely become more digital and less paper-based, but that a considered choice needs to be made.