The rise of the online estate agent

Jul 05, 2017

As property developers, investors and end-users we get a good spectrum of perspective when it comes to real estate agents. Unfortunately, we are consistently dissatisfied and disappointed with the levels of service and capabilities in an industry that probably provides the worst ratio of service vs product value.

When you deal with this industry on a daily basis, you can understand the appeal in online estate agents. Generally, our experience in online agents have been more negative than that of high street agents but you can certainly understand the thought process of a seller to list through an online agent because they generally feel the service they receive from their high street agent is pretty poor and therefore why not just do most the work yourself and pay a much lower fee and try and get it done online.

Unfortunately, the market place is riddled with poor service and a lack of imagination, and this comes from nearly every touchpoint. Sellers are likely to receive the best service as they pay the largest fees, however perhaps unknown to them is that the service their agent is providing to potential buyers is not good – and again this occurs at frequent touch points;


  • difficulty in actually speaking with someone that can provide valuable information about the property in question
  • Being asked what your post code is and how you’re going to pay for it before even receiving basic information. This is not qualifying your buyer, it is merely alienating them


  • Inability to answer questions
  • Not the actual lister of the property and therefore frankly cannot answer questions
  • Has never seen the property before
  • No idea on planning history
  • A vague promise to get back to you on key questions
  • A reluctance to commit to any kind of advice in fear of that advice perhaps not working out

Deal management

  • No real handle on all the moving parts of the deal; situations of chains, financing & solicitors

These frustrations are far too regular for an industry that in theory should and could provide so much value, and an industry that is now tainted with a pretty dire reputation. And although much of this negative sentiment appears to be against individual agents, the fault really lies within the system itself. Other global real estate agency markets operate with excellent service and are in good reputation, and the key differences are with the system.

Individual agents should be given full responsibility, full recognition and held fully accountable for their products (instructions) and their clients (sellers, buyers, renters), rather than the existing trend whereby no one is individually responsible for anything. A customer should be able to know that they can trust in one industry expert. And then individual agents should be fully incentivised to sell their service by being given a much larger share of the commission on their own deals.

Jamie Gray, G5 Properties

Published by Jamie Gray |