In today’s digital age you can access all manner of services at your fingertips. Due the technological revolution brought about by the development of the web many industries have evolved their online services to suit the needs of their customers. Tesco’s along with many other retailers when originally presented with the concept of online ordering scoffed at the idea. They thought that it would be vastly impractical, extremely expensive and therefor financially viable. Then came online supermarkets such as Ocado and the mighty Amazon. The result was that the way many of shopped changed forever and all major retailers now offer an online ordering and deliver service allowing the customer to save time and energy by doing the majority of their shopping from the comfort of their own home.
The arrival of Property Portals such as PropertyPal.com and Propertynews.com changed the way the public searched for property as these web sites allowed the user to search all properties on the market and collate a property list specific to their requirements. These sites meant that estate agents had to re- think what was on offer to the public via their site and if the site was limited to merely showing property listings this could be done much better via the portals. Estate agents, in response to this, updated their web sites offering more features to give the customer more information on the company, the services the agency offers, information for customers in relation to process, additional features such as floor plans or video tours as well as a news section. The estate agents web site is further evolved today in an attempt to further engage with customers. Most websites are mobile responsive allowing easy use across all platforms and devices. The enhancement of the latest technologies allow customers to benefit from features like online payments, online repair reporting, live chat, directions and navigation and the ability for customers to translate the entire site into a language of their choosing. For an excellent example of this modern web site I suggest going to www.propertypeoplebelfast.com.
The latest trend in estate agency is the online agent. The main selling point for these agencies are that they are considerably cheaper that the traditional high street agency. This is possible as they have very few overheads. Customers of these agencies can upload their own photographs, write their own descriptions and conduct their own viewings the agency will advertise your property on the property portals, agree the sale and instruct your solicitor if the property is agreed (again by the customer). The main thrust of advertising for these agencies is the price. There is no denying that online agencies are much cheaper. High street agencies have therefore focused on the quality of service that they provide, the local market knowledge they give and the attention to detail they can add when instructed to sell or let a property. The arrival of the online agency gives the customer another option when selling or letting their property and healthy competition can only be positive for the customer. Price is after all not the only factor a customer will take into account when choosing where or what they will buy. To use the example of supermarket retailers, some customers will choose Aldi, some Asda and some Marks and Spencer’s. In my opinion the key for the customer is whichever they choose they are aware of the level service provided and the difference in cost. As cheaper does not always mean better. To quote the old saying "pay cheap, pay twice". In what is for many one of the largest transactions they will make in life it is important to get all the facts and make an informed decision before settling on what package is right for you.