In recent years the estate agency industry has undergone a huge change, yet customers often complain that the end result is the same; overpriced or often sub-par service that turns one of the most exciting milestones in someone’s life, moving home, into a stressful sinkhole. An emerging form of ‘hybrid’ agency is changing this, but what’s it all about and how do the different types of estate agent stack up?
The online revolution
Online agents are taking an ever-increasing slice of the estate agency pie. Their fixed-fee, low-cost approach has disrupted the industry and highlighted a real issue with traditional agents – they charge too much for what they do.
But despite their growing popularity, online agents are often criticised when it comes to communication. With their ‘local’ agents covering huge areas and a call centre style of customer service, their lower fee comes at the cost of a less personable experience. When faced with potentially the biggest sale or purchase in your life, an online agent’s lack of a physical store and high street presence can really hit home when it comes to your expectation of personal customer service.
How it’s always been
Traditional agents pride themselves on providing that personal customer service that’s lacking from the online agencies. Their local knowledge, high street presence and face to face service are a key part of the home selling process for many.
They follow the same process as online agents; they take photos and put your property onto Rightmove & Zoopla, where over 95% of home property searches begin.
After spending years working towards paying off their home, a customer could find themselves giving an agent (who has basically just made a Rightmove advert) a slice of their profits. In fact, with Havering seeing an 11.4% house price increase last year*, estate agents have seen a much larger increase in wage than workers in other industries, where the average increase in income last year was 2.5%. Despite this, traditional agents continue to enjoy the out of proportion charges for selling your home, without needing to make any extra effort.
The best of both with hybrid
Hybrid estate agents are an innovative new form of agency that gives the best of both worlds – a fixed fee structure and a traditional customer service. While both online and traditional agents can get the job done, hybrid agencies give the customer the price they want, without sacrificing any customer service.
A customer who sold their home for £400,000 through a traditional agent would face a £4,000 + VAT bill based on a 1% fee (£4,800 in total) compared with a much lower fixed fee from a hybrid agency, yet they’d receive the same personal service.
Some larger online agents claim that by using their local property experts to cover areas, they are themselves hybrid in nature. However what they often neglect to mention is just how big an area these agents cover, with many being responsible for entire regions and cities.
Here at Chalk Street we do things differently.
We are Havering’s first dedicated hybrid estate agency, bringing together the low, fixed fee price structure with a high street presence and exceptional customer service. We pride ourselves on transparency, so unlike many of our competitors, our pricing is visible, inclusive of VAT with no hidden extras or nasty surprises. Based at our office in the heart of Havering, our experienced team offer genuine local expertise and are fully accessible from listing to completion. With our low fixed fee pricing, innovative marketing, outstanding customer service and local presence, we bring something refreshingly different to the area.
* Source: London Property Investment Network