‘Reassuringly expensive’. So goes the strapline for Stella Artois, and maybe sometimes that’s true. But as time goes on, the trend we’re seeing is that low-cost doesn’t have to mean low-quality at all. Just 20 years ago, for example, if you’d told me that you could fly me to Cologne for £30 I would have had some pretty severe reservations about the quality of that flight (and the likelihood of arriving in one piece). Now though? I wouldn’t think twice.
From Amazon to Uber, the narrative of the past few years has been relentless: as technology advances, industries evolve dramatically. The result is that customers are empowered. Customers have become increasingly accustomed to paying less for a service that offers more: more control and more value.
The property sector is the anomaly. For the most part, it hasn’t changed all that much since I first became part of it at just 16. Still resistant to change, the industry’s haughty attitude is epitomized by the emergence of OnTheMarket, the new property portal from AgentsMutual which – as their name suggests – is more concerned about keeping agents in profit than their customers happy.
When quizzed about the industry’s inflated commission fees, and how it is that online agents can offer the same services for a fraction of the price, they trot out the same tired cliché – ‘you get what you pay for’. When in actual fact, that’s nonsense.
Online estate agents (like easyProperty) use exactly the same tools, belong to exactly the same bodies, and employ all the same quality measures as traditional estate agents – what we changed is the model, not the quality of service.
And when you break it down, it’s easy to understand (if you’ll excuse the pun) how it is that we can offer such low prices without sacrificing quality.
The first is the fact that we aren’t local – something High Street agents pride themselves on with little cause. Offering a nationwide service means we don’t have to charge a lot to the few in order to make ends meet. By dramatically increasing the volume of transactions we make, we can afford to dramatically lower our costs.
And – because we aren’t local – we don’t pay for endless branches, fleets of cars, or pay to sponsor the new mini-roundabout in Dibley-Upon-Avon… and because we don’t pay for it, it means our customers don’t either.
Lastly, all of our services are ‘Click n Mix’ so our landlords only pay for the bits they need. By unbundling the estate agency model, we are able to offer something (lots of things, actually!) to the thousands of ‘DIY landlords’ out there who would never have used an agent before, but now do. All of these savings are made by changing the way we operate. Not by sacrificing quality.
Another supposed string to the bow of the high street agent is their ‘No win. No fee’ style commission structure. On the face of it, it sounds attractive, but the reality is that you’re paying for it inadvertently anyway. Every time you pay a high street agent thousands of pounds for finding you tenants and sorting the paperwork, you’re also paying for all the work they did on someone else’s property which the agent never got to charge them for. Whereas with online agents, you pay for your service – and you get a fairer price as a result.
The fact is that we charge low costs because that’s all we need to charge for a quality service. We advertise on the UK’s leading portals, Rightmove, Zoopla & Primelocation. We only use ARLA accredited tenancy agreements. Our tenant referencing service is industry-leading. The person creating your inventory will be a fully qualified APIP clerk (not the most junior employee at your local agent). And, while we don’t have a branch down the road, we do have highly qualified and experienced experts on hand to walk you through every step of the way.
3 months on the UK’s leading property websites
To Let board, delivered and installed
Secure deposit protection
ARLA accredited tenancy agreement
Standing order mandate
1st month’s rent collection
Dedicated property management
24 hour support
Coordination of repairs
Secure deposit handling
Rob Ellice is the CEO & co-founder of online estate agent easyProperty.com the new exciting business from the easyGroup – here to give you choice, flexibility and control.