Is the decline of online estate agents a bad thing?

The internet has transformed many aspects of our lives, and it’s certainly had a dramatic effect on the UK’s residential property market. The traditional model of local agents with For Sale cards in their windows has been overshadowed by a new breed of online estate agents. These budget focused firms promise lower prices despite high profile advertising campaigns.

As we approach the end of the current decade, there are strong signs that sellers are turning their backs on the impersonal service and variable quality of internet only agents. The recent announcement by Purplebricks that they’ve made “execution errors” in an “increasingly challenging” market represents a watershed for the whole sector. Having rapidly expanded from the UK to markets as diverse (and legally distinct) as Australia, California and Germany, Purplebricks has discovered to its cost that homeowners expect a quality service. They don’t just want a low-cost one.

Going offline

Purplebricks isn’t alone in its struggles. In recent years, several high profile online estate agents have failed, including Emoov, Tepilo and Hatched. Yet local estate agents continue to prosper, despite having to rent showrooms and employ staff at every branch. Their overheads are far higher than the online chains, whose entire workforce can be accommodated in an affordable out of town industrial estate. And local solicitors and estate agents don’t have pockets deep enough for national advertising campaigns on bus shelters, let alone in the middle of Channel Four property shows. So what’s their secret?

Taste the difference

There’s a simple reason why high street estate agencies and solicitors have survived the online onslaught. They generally offer superior service. Bricks and mortar agents know the local market far better than a company potentially based hundreds of miles away. Estate agents often have lengthy lists of people looking for homes, rather than uploading a schedule and waiting for enquiries to roll in. Estate agents have the margins to employ property photography specialists like G75 Images, creating maximum impact in every property listing. Because online estate agents are driven by cost, their photography tends to be provided by an amateur with an iPhone. You can see how this compares to professional property photography on our before and after page. (Our residential page also contains various examples of estate agency photography.)

The local experts with the personal touch

Even if you’re among the growing number of people who’ve decided online estate agents aren’t for you, the internet remains a valuable resource. Estate agents and solicitors combine their bricks-and-mortar presence with online listings. Self-advertising on social media is another increasingly popular way to sell your home. It allows vendors to decide how professional or detailed their property particulars should be, and where the property should be advertised. With professional property photography from G75 Images, you’re halfway to completing an online property listing. And did you know we can also produce schedule text, floor plans, room sizes and travel directions? We can even combine everything into a bespoke PDF schedule, for a small additional fee.

To find out how G75 Images can help with property marketing, get in touch to enquire about our freelance property photography and schedule production services. We can supply sample schedules on demand, from concise two-page PDFs to detailed eight-page brochures. And unlike impersonal online estate agents, personal service is a cornerstone of our business. That’s true whether we’re working directly with homeowners, or acting on behalf of local estate agents.