A new survey suggests 53 per cent of buyers never actually visit an estate agent’s office during the course of their transaction.
Well over another third, 38 per cent, say they visit an office only “once or twice” during the transaction. Only nine per cent say they visit quite often during the process of purchasing.
There is only limited engagement with window displays too, according to this survey of 1,081 people who bought a home in the past six months.
Just six per cent say they discovered the home they eventually bought via the window of an estate agency branch, and only five per cent discovered it via a For Sale board.
A full 70 per cent say they found their eventual home online.
When asked by the survey - conducted for the PropTech platform WiggyWam - some 75 per cent of respondents claimed they would happily see the end of physical High Street branch offices if it meant agents had fewer overheads to cover and could, therefore, reduce fees to sellers.
The survey was conducted earlier this month and WiggyWam chief executive Silas J Lees says thanks to lockdown, recent buyers may have made unusually limited use of branches for in-person visits to agents.
“However, we also know that the entire high street retail sector was struggling before Covid and has been truly battered since. Even the biggest names in retail are retreating from physical operations” he adds.
“Yet, at the same time, some retailers are enjoying great high street success and, more often than not, they are those who have changed the strategic value of their physical retail units. It’s about time agents started doing the same, finding a way to create an in-branch experience that cannot be replicated online.
“To this end, multi-disciplinary branches are where the smart money is; agents, lawyers, surveyors, etc, all under one roof, all working together to create an efficient buying and selling process. Given how many law firms, for example, are likely to fold as a result of the pandemic, this kind of consolidation provides a genuine option for the future.”