As the original ''online estate agent'', we launched HN in 2004. Since then we have seen many firms try and copy our success. Only a few have made it work.
Being a National business has its pros and cons. You have to ensure the service is the same throughout the entire UK, no matter where someone lives. This means you have to have big resources to cover that area, but of course the flip side is that if one area goes quiet other areas get busy, so you have a business that can cope much better with local seasonal fluctuations.
The reason so many online agents started and failed very quickly is they have launched with limited funding and have tried to reduce fees at an unsustainable level. The only way you can do so is by cutting corners on the service and this impacts the customer experience and stops organic growth.
Cutting corners is still a problem though. Even big players in our market space are very rarely delivering the service in-house. Many are sub contracting elements out to third parties. Whether this is the home visit appointment to calls going to big third party call centres.
Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference when looking at different websites, but as far as we are concerned, if you sub contract any task to a third party, you are leaving potential clients exposed.
If you are reading this blog and considering selling, I would advise you ask the following questions to any agents you are interested in using:-
1) Is the agent that visits employed by your company
2) Will I receive one person to deal with throughout my marketing
3) Will that assigned agent be employed by you
4) Will the field agent and negotiator be approved and qualified by the NAEA
If an agent answers any of the above as a NO, then you have to seriously question the comittment of the estate agent. How can they be in control of every element of the service they provide, if they sub-out work to someone else.
Answer = its impossible!