Prop Tech

What does your Agency’s future look like?

Ed Mead
Written by Ed Mead

Not sure many people realise that the original Bladerunner movie was set in 2019 – yup, all those flying cars, silly languages and MASSIVE buildings were all imagined as appearing barely a year from now.

All that does is make us acutely aware how difficult it is to predict what is, and isn’t, going to be the way of the future.

Some, well-known, commentators predicted a 50% market share for the new breed of online agent by 2020, and given the way Purplebricks has appeared, there’s still room for that prediction to work out. Many a detractor has sat, suitably mired in the past, lobbing brickbats at anyone willing to acknowledge their arrival.

Many predict as rapid a decline as rise, and in the absence of a crystal ball, who knows, but many issues that hamper them are slowly being solved by proptech. It’s that area that gives agents most cause for concern looking to the future. But I reckon it’s not just the high street that needs to look over its shoulder.

A useful innovation will benefit any agent, some already are, but I’m not sure anyone has actually sat down and tried to envisage what the home buying process will actually look like in a few years.

Given how far it’s come in the last century – i.e. nowhere, progress is inevitable and much has to, and will, change.

To remove stress the mortgage and legal processes need streamlining, things like electronic passports for properties and easily held and located local authority searches. Centrally held earnings data and records would take the hassle out of getting a mortgage too.

Being presented with properties needs to come out of the stone-age too. Existing portals apply search criteria that haven’t changed in decades and were built by blunt CRM systems in the 80s.  Buyers and tenants want to be served a few properties that match their lifestyle and aspirations, not bombarded with rough matches.

The one thing sitting between direct selling and agency is the AVM. If algorithms that suggested what the demand side looked like as well as recent similar sales figures were developed, then things might look different. Looking at demand isn’t that difficult so getting help negotiating offers isn’t that far fetched either.

If buyers and tenants could actually view a property without needing to resort to doing it through an agent, and outsourced viewings allied to virtual tours are here now.

If the issues above become a reality, and let’s face it some are here already, then it’s not just the high street that needs to worry.

What does your future look like.

About the author

Ed Mead

Ed Mead

ED Mead has worked in the Central London estate agency market for almost 40 years and has acquired a reputation for saying it as it is. He's contributed over many years as The Sunday Times Property Expert and as Agent Provocateur in The Telegraph, amongst many others, as well as fronting two BBC TV series and contributing regularly to a live Q&A slot on LBC.

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