23 September 2016
As trend forecasters, we’re constantly analysing parallel markets and anticipating how a trend will evolve and filter into neighbouring industries. This allows us to bring key shifts to the attention of our clients, connecting the dots and staying ahead of the curve. In this blog post, we document the impact of technology and explore how social media and online dating has revolutionised the way we buy and sell our property.
Currently, a ‘what I want, when I want it’ mentality drives almost everything we do. With mobile devices, we can now search for potential partners, do the weekly shop and even buy and sell our properties at the click of a button.
With 24/7 instant access, it comes as no surprise that traditional trips to the estate agent windows have been replaced with online property comparison sites such as Right Move, Zoopla and Prime Location. Similarly to dating sites such as Tinder and Match.com we are able to refine our searches, choose our preferences and filter out what is essential and what isn’t.
As a result, we’re also increasingly seeing services that go one step further – allowing customers to buy and sell property all through an online platform. Companies such as Yopa and House Simple are utilising smart technology to allow customers to feel in control and remove the stress and unreliability often associated with the buying/selling process, at a fraction of the cost. Yopa, described as the affordable, quick and simple way to sell your home aims to challenge high street estate agents, who traditionally charge two percent of the sale price.
“This could be hugely beneficial to the people and save them a lot of money. The average price of a house is around £272,000 so two percent is £5,000. Estate agency is an archaic industry which has not been reformed for many years and needs someone to ruffle its feathers. I want this to be as disruptive as Airbnb has been. It is a similar business model except that we aren’t doing short-term rentals; buying a home is a much more serious transaction and there is a lot more work involved at our end.”
– Yopa’s chief executive, Dan Attia
Whilst many agree online estate agents are the future, not everyone is satisfied. Justin Marking, head of UK residential at Savills argues there is no substitute for the experienced agent. Whilst people are now incredibly internet savvy, he believes customers still need someone with experience who can deal with a sale and multiple buyers all the way through from beginning to end. However, it’s clear that for high street estate agents to survive, they will need to offer so much more than the online experience can. Signature by Mark Small, is an excellent example of offline estate agents that focus on exceptional service.
Trend Bible Senior Trend Strategist, Ruth Kelly explains, “In order to compete with online estate agents, traditional companies must offer a bespoke experience to each and every customer. If high street estate agents stick to their traditional methods, more and more people will opt for an online alternative.” This could result in a clear divide in the market between luxury property sellers who can offer a bespoke service, and cheap online platforms that will replace standard high street agents.
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