Date Published 01 January 2016
I originally started working for Taylor Gibbs in 2001 and have seen the property market transformed by online marketing over the past 14 years. During the early part of my career we were reliant on telephone enquiries and walk in enquiries and although Taylor Gibbs had a website, very few enquiries were generated from the internet. A large number of lettings enquiries came from ‘Loot' and I remember faxing them on a Wednesday so that they came out in Friday's publication. Although we all had computers in the office, there was only one that was connected to the internet so we were completely reliant on arranging everything over the telephone or in our office.
Our office on Highgate High Street is in a very prominent position and we always had an extremely high number of walk in enquiries on a daily basis. Even now we receive a number of walk in enquiries everyday and on a Saturday afternoon there can often be a number of prospective purchasers or tenants waiting to speak to us about their property needs.
The online property portals very quickly started to grow and with technology advancing so quickly estate agents had to change and become more reliant on marketing properties on a number of different websites.
Over the past couple of years we have started to see various online estate agents start business who offer very low charges for what in my opinion is a very poor service. The promise to sell or rent a home for less than a high street agent may seem attractive to a vendor or landlord but I strongly believe that this is not the case. A good estate agent will know the requirements of their buyers or tenants and on the majority of occasions they will buy or rent a property that they haven't initially enquired about and they view the property on the advice of the estate agent. How is a telephone based advisor in an office somewhere else in the country supposed to be knowledgeable about the area, the local schools, transport facilities and amenities. Also does a vendor or landlord really want to conduct viewings themselves meeting strangers who they have never spoken to before, and then potentially have to negotiate on price and the finer detail.
There is also the sales or lettings progression that needs to be considered. The estate agent meets and gets to know the vendor or landlord and the buyer or tenant. They respect the advice and assistance given and believe me there are always a number of challenging issues to overcome.
Online property websites have become a major tool of our trade and every estate agent is very reliant on the enquiries that they generate. We have all had to change with it but the traditional values of a good High Street estate agent remains the same.