Sales progression costing more for high street agents as online firms fall down on the job

Dawsons Property has backed the findings of a report which claims that traditional agents are being forced increasingly to step in and pick up the pieces left by online firms.

The report, from regional solicitors Rix & Kay reported by Property Eye, suggests there is a lack of support from online agents which is driving up the cost of sales progression for high street agents.

Traditional estate agents are finding that they are having to come in and ensure chains do not collapse because sellers have chosen online firms. It means that in a lot of cases agents are having to take the hit on higher costs of sales progression.

Jo Summerfield-Talbot, Dawsons’ Sales Director, has warned vendors to beware.

“What most vendors don’t realise when using an online ‘DIY’ agent to sell, that they are at an immediate disadvantage when buying on,” said Jo.

Jo Summerfield-Talbot
Jo Summerfield-Talbot

“It is becoming more and more apparent some of these ‘agents’ do not fully check the chain details when recommending and accepting an offer on behalf of their client, which is completely beyond me and certainly not in the interest of their client.

“It is a huge frustration to our dedicated sales chasers when we find ourselves in a chain with some of these ‘agents’ to find they are completely ignorant to the circumstances surrounding the sale/purchase and any subsequent parties in the chain.

“We invariably find ourselves doing the work for them, just to ensure both our vendors and purchasers are kept fully in the loop, avoiding any unnecessary stress and progressing matters to a swift completion.”

Rix & Kay, which covers Sussex and Kent, said that 98% of traditional estate agents agreed that the home buying process is more likely to collapse in the absence of experienced professionals.

The firm said that the most skilled and critical phase of the home buying and selling process was sales progression but that online agents who are paid upfront and not reliant on a sale completing to get paid had little motivation or incentive to support their clients.

It also found that the public has little awareness of how critical sales progression is and that traditional agents needed to do “far more” to differentiate their services from online rivals if they want to avoid being selected on cost alone.

In the estimation of the agents Rix & Kay spoke to, a total of 84% thought that the public don’t truly understand the role of the traditional estate agent.

Meanwhile, 76% felt they were not doing enough to ensure the public is aware of the differences in service traditional businesses can offer.

The report also recommended that traditional agents consider alternative business models if they wanted to remain profitable.

It found that 70% of traditional estate agents agreed with this idea, whereas only 8% disagreed (with 22% neither agreeing nor disagreeing).

Rix & Kay added that better regulation of the home buying and selling process was “fundamental” to improve service quality, as well as the reputation and credibility of the industry.

Of the agents surveyed, 66% strongly agreed this was the case, with a further 28% simply agreeing.

Not a single agent disagreed with the idea.

And it urged agents to embrace technology to improve their service, and to learn from their online rivals in this respect.