The National Association of Estate Agents has admitted the days of the traditional high street agency could be numbered due to the popularity of property websites.
The days of the estate agents’ ‘big shop front’ may be nearing an end In the last two years, one in four estate agents in the UK has closed down. Meanwhile, the online property market has been booming, with a 35% growth this year in the number of property searches on Google.
Property search engine Rightmove says that 90% of all homes on the market can be found on their site. Philip Bullman, of the NAEA, told Sky News Online that the internet posed a threat to high street branches but insisted that there would always be a role for an agent. “I do think there’s an opening for a virtual estate agent out there but you still need the local experience and the people on the ground,” he said. “Most buyers don’t like to negotiate face-to-face with the seller over prices and they prefer to use a middle man. “Home Information Packs (HIPS) can also be quite complicated and many people would want an agent to sort that for them. “But yes, I think maybe the day of the big shop front is nearing an end.
” TV presenter and property expert Sarah Beeny said that circumventing estate agents and selling your home online independently can be quite straightforward. She has set-up a free website called Tepilo which helps homeowners to sell their property without having to pay hefty fees. “It’s actually easier dealing with things yourself – we find our mortgage ourselves, we find our own holidays, we book our own flights,” she said. “The internet has empowered the average person to deal with things and there’s no actual reason why they can’t deal with selling their house.”