The changing face of the property market

The advent and progression of an increase in consumer power has caused a number of changes within the property market.

In years gone by, selling a property could realistically only be achieved through an estate agency or if you had the time and patience, a property auction. Today though in the property market, things are very different, with consumers able to be involved in the buying, letting or sales processes throughout.

Whether buying, selling or letting a property, the property and real estate market can be a tough place. Increasingly, consumers are able to bypass previously expensive estate agents and brokers; facilitating and negotiating all aspects of the process themselves.

The advent and progression of this increase in ‘consumer power’ has caused a number of changes within the property market. Estate agents have to vie for custom not just against each other, but also against internet-based equivalents and competitors. The likes of Zoopla, Rightmove and Tepilo, all of which utilise the internet age to empower consumers to facilitate property services and transactions themselves.

That isn’t to say that estate agencies are defunct. There are those who still prefer the face to face engagement and personable service that estate agents offer. Moreover, there are some property services, including the likes of block management, where it is extremely difficult to go it alone and take care of everything alone; with limited knowledge of such a specialised aspect of the industry.

Specialised areas on the property market such as block management regularly lead to customers preferring to avoid ‘going it alone’ and turning to the tried and tested route of estate agencies with expertise in that specific area (source: ABC Estates). Rather than causing estate agencies and property brokers to die out though, these internet competitors have caused them to shift their focuses.

With buyers and sellers now able to broker deals themselves, cutting out the middlemen via online channels, more and more estate agencies are moving online and increasing numbers of estate agents are embracing the trend to target the online market and consumers directly.

A booming trade in the property market

The UK property market is an industry that is worth more than £6 trillion and as such, has no shortage for competition and an array of different and emerging services. The size and expansion of the UK’s market has allowed property and property related companies to thrive. Rightmove, one of the UK’s largest property portals regularly boasts around 95 million unique visitors per month (source: the Telegraph).

The combination of emerging internet-based property resources and estate agencies’ moving with the online trend has been of great advantage to consumers and individuals.

In past years, the valuation, surveys and quotes provided by an estate agent was gospel. They were the only experts, there was no one else to really turn to and anyone who could be asked simply didn’t have the knowledge, expertise and network of customers and clients that an estate agent could offer.

Consumer power

Nowadays though, whether using the services of an estate agent, property broker or online property resource, there is a lot of material and resources available to help consumers.

For example, before approaching an estate agent for a valuation of a property one wishes to sell, it has become common practice to do some research using Zoopla to see how much properties in the local area sell for. Furthermore, even once a quote has been obtained from a reputable and trusted estate agent, the customer can delve further into the market themselves.

Simply by inputting a few details about the property in question and the local area, plus some personal details, within a few clicks, a consumer can get multiple quotes on all aspects of their property; property price, utility providers, insurance and more.

In addition, sites that collate relevant property data including Zoopla and even Twitter have become very trusted resources in the property market. It isn’t just consumers relying on their information and insights either. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is set to use these resources to collate census data (source: the Telegraph).

In conclusion

While the property market is a powerhouse that has retained its basic principles of reward in exchange for bricks and mortar, consumers are now seeing their power and influence increase greatly. Gone are the days of pounding the high streets looking in all nature of estate agencie

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