The rapid development of technology and the Internet has brought about the opportunity for change in almost every industry. The estate agency industry has been one of the major industries affected by the online revolution, as a dramatic rise in homeowners are now choosing online estate agents. As people are now demanding more control and flexibility over their buying and selling choices, the online market has resulted in homeowners having a growing number of options to choose from.
The beginning of Online Estate Agents
The online estate agency first emerged more than 10 years ago, in a hope to compete for market share with the more traditional high street estate agent. Online estate agents have provided home sellers an alternative to the traditional fee structure, with cheaper, fixed fee selling packages.
The rise in popularity & expected growth
As the online estate agent market is a relatively recent phenomenon, with most brands joining the market after 2011, unsurprisingly, the online market currently has a much smaller share of the market compared to the traditional estate agent.
Various reports say online market share totalled 1% in 2014, growing to 7.3% in 2018, which is a remarkable rise all things considered. If growth continues at its current rate, by 2020, online agents’ market share would reach around 17%. (link here: https://www.itproportal.com/features/the-rise-of-online-estate-agents-in-the-uk/ )
Market Leaders in the industry
Purplebricks is an online estate agent, which operates in the UK, US and Canada. The company was founded in 2012 by Michael and Kenny Bruce and are supported by an extensive TV advertising campaign to promote the brand’s ‘no commission’ approach. Purplebricks fees start from £899, however in London and certain neighbouring areas, basic rates increases to £1,399.
Yopa was founded in 2014 by Daniel Attia, their services have since gained a customer rating of 9.5/10 on Trust Pilot, 98% of their clients can sell in less than 30 days and can save more than £3,000. Yopa will sell your property for a flat fee of £839, which will rise to £1,399 in certain areas of London.
Housesimple was founded in 2007 by Alexander Gosling and Sophie Cronin and has the backing of Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone. Housesimple offered a ‘no sale, no fee’ deal which cost customers £995 and was payable on completion. However, in June 2019, restricted to just the north of England they have changed to a new model, which essentially allows homeowners to sell their property for free.
Doorsteps is another online estate agent that operates in the UK, and was founded in 2016 by teenager Akshay Ruparelia. The young entrepreneur remarkably set up the business while still at sixth form. Doorsteps received a top-five rating from Trust Pilot in 2019, and the selling costs range from £99 through to £599 depending on which of the three package deals you choose.
The advantages of an Online Estate Agent
- Savings – The amount of money you can save by using an online estate agency is without doubt the biggest advantage of using this method. You can save thousands of pounds in fees by using an online rather than a high street estate agent, as online agents fees’ tend to be fixed and lower than their high street counterparts.
- Control – When using an online, you can manage everything if and when it’s most convenient for you. For example, sellers can conduct their own property viewings and could also negotiate the sale directly with potential buyers.
- Flexibility – You can find the right package that suits the level of support you need and the price you can afford. As your property is on the Internet potential buyers are able to see your property at any time, meaning its essentially open for business 24/7 all over the world. Also, their call centres tend to be open on the weekends and outside of traditional office hours