Last year heralded the news that many in the retail industry predicted: online sales overtook high street sales. Indeed, perhaps the only surprise was that it took until 2016 for this to happen.
As well as new technology, clothing, and other shopping goods, we’re also brave enough now to buy and sell much bigger items such as cars…and homes.
The latter, in particular, is a point of interest. The power to instantly examine the housing market in Manchester, Miami or Melbourne with equal ease, takes out much of the legwork of buying a house.
People can instantly search for three-bedroomed homes, in a particular area, in a particular price range. People can also find out the sales history, floor plans, local planning permissions, nearby schools and amenities, and anything else of interest.
Some sites offer videos or 3D graphics of properties as well. So we can know a home without leaving our bedroom.
Because this new wave of digital online agents have fewer costs – by not possessing local offices and branded cars, for example – they can charge less, and entice potential customers, and that leads to quicker house sales, as you can find out here. According to
Reuters: “Rightmove, the country’s top property portal reckons the many web-based agencies now account for 5 percent of its listings having doubled their share in two years. ”
It adds that traditional high street agents are seeing profits fall through the floor. As an example of the lower charges, high street agent may levy a percentage of anywhere between 1.5% and 3.5% of the sale cost of a home, compared to a flat fee of an online agent of just a few hundred pounds. That transparency is a big plus point for both seller and buyer.
In addition, no longer are forms exclusively sent through the post – email is far faster of course, and digital technology allows customers to sign forms with confidence. Online portals allow individuals to access forms online, and also make alterations. So if people not happy with the wording of our home advertisement, they can simply change it at any time they wish.
There’s also money to be made as an agent. This is Money highlighted the story of Michael and Kenny Bruce, who founded Purple Bricks just three years ago, and are now multimillionaires.
Part of the firm’s success – it apparently makes a sale every 16 minutes – is that it adheres to the principle of charging one fixed fee for sales (£849), and therefore goes against the perceived tactic of high street estate agents to impose various fees and charges as the sale progresses. One might suggest that if a high street agent implemented a lower set fee it might gain sales – but would probably have to make drastic cuts in staff/premises to lessen the loss in revenue.
As well as cost, and ease, there’s at least one other advantage: people can market it themselves more easily. They can place their home on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to name but four, and target people who may be interested or get their friends and colleagues to spread the word.
Entrepreneurs can build their own, more in-depth site, complete with video, slideshow and audio, and can Skype anyone who is interested in discussing the home, and answer their queries. Each of these tools can link to the sales pages, and help the overall process.
The digital world has given us the means to take home sales into our own hands – why would people not use them?