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PropTech survey claims agents lack expertise and local knowledge

A small survey commissioned by a PropTech firm appears to show that a majority of respondents believe estate agents lack expertise and local know-how.

The study involved only 500 respondents, only two thirds of which had even used an estate agent in the past three years.

Perhaps one consolation for criticised estate agents is that only 13 per cent of the survey wanted the industry to be more “tech savvy”.


The survey was conducted by Acaboom and asked what the most important factor was when choosing an estate agent - 40 per cent looked for professionalism, 37 per cent for local knowledge and just 13 per cent wanted agents to be ‘tech savvy’.

Acaboom then says: “According to the study of 500 UK residents, 68 per cent of whom had used an agent in the last three years, 52 per cent felt the agent didn’t understand the local property market and 60 per cent felt they lacked general expertise.”

The PropTech firm continues: “When asked, 87 per cent of homeowners [that is, the 500 respondents] said they look for data along with a fee breakdown. 80 per cent of homeowners want an agent to demonstrate the ability to sell their property with a full marketing strategy or proposal, 56 per cent expected their valuation given to be accompanied by property industry data and 39 per cent wanted to see comparable properties presented.”

The survey findings also suggest that vendors discuss a valuation with one to four people, and that some vendors could be persuaded to sell if they received market updates - even if their own property was not on the market at that time. 

Acaboom managing director Brian Farrell says: “The homeowner does not start out worried about fees and is simply looking to identify the agent that will meet their needs. If no one agent has stood out, it comes down to cost.

“Smart agents are now focused on delivery. The survey tells us vendors aren’t interested in a plain email or valuation letter advising of fees and with a recommended asking price; they want to get more information and justify their decision. They also want information they can’t get anywhere else. 

“As a valuer ask yourself, are you giving more details and information than your competitors, around things like local market trends, an average price per square foot, or even planning permission on the road that might affect the price?”

  • Richard Copus

    1. Professionalism. 2. local knowledge. What good estate agents have been working on since dawn. Interestingly over 85% are not particularly interested in agents being tech savvy. This is a real swipe at all those in our industry who are forever saying that we need to encourage more people with no agency knowledge into our business, that exams and professionalism are old school and that the focus should be on prop tech influence, referrals and low fees. More than sad that over half of those surveyed said that the agent they dealt with didn't know their local property market and lacked expertise. Independent, local estate agents need to capitalise on this.

  • icon

    IRONIC when the Prop tech companies themselves can't get anywhere near the right property valuations

  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    40% of estate agents change their job every 18 months, average age of an agent is 23. Yes there are many companies with 30 plus years of experience, but due to industry churn, the likelihood is that in many agencies the 'local product knowledge' is often very thin. It is not a case of being an agent or being an agent who relies on tech.

    The public use digital solutions to run their life, and in their daily work environment, so they would assume (wrongly) that an industry with 80,000 plus frontline agents would be running their businesses on a digital basis in 2021, as it is quick efficient and 24/7.

    And a survey of only 500 people given, 4 million people move home a year in the UK (rentals/resi) is based on a tiny data pool, I wonder what the others think.

  • icon

    I must be dragging the average up, along with most of the agents I respect up here in the north east.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Do consumers want agents to be 'more tech savvy'- no, they want experts who deliver a brilliant customer experience & service. Do consumers want a frictionless process (whatever agency service they are using) underpinned by quality, user-friendly tach? Absolutely. Does the 'right tech' free agents up to deliver a better personal service- 100%.

  • charlotte Jeffrey- campbell

    Prop tech should be there to make the agents life easier and help agents advise sellers in clear language. There is still a huge gap in ability - because of agent churn and still lack of expertise. The service sellers want is clear - honest advice from agents who are experts. Plus regular communication- demonstrating this via qualifications and service levels is such an easy way for agents to stand out and charge better fees.


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