How The Internet Has Changed Estate Agency

old computer

Written by www.findahomeonline.co.uk

I remember in 2000 when I was working for a large corporate estate agency, one day, computers arrived in our office. Prior to this point, we were like most other estate agents and worked completely from paper and had a member of staff who typed the brochures on a typewriter.

Like most people, I am not a great fan of change. So when these computers turned up, I piped up ‘This will never take off.   What do we need these for?

In those days, not many people had PCs in their homes and although the internet was up and running, few people had access to it.

The agent I was working for had teamed up with some other corporate estate agents and built and designed a new website which would display every property each agent had up for sale. The new computers would give us access to this site, in order for us to show our properties to potential buyers.

Rightmove was launched.

At the time, we could not understand why our company would want to team up with some of its fiercest competitors to set this site up. Ten years on, it of course makes perfect sense.

The internet has revolutionized the way properties are searched for and viewed. Everything is so accessible now, gone are the days when you would trawl the high street picking up a mountain of brochures, some with only one photograph on. Nowadays, the internet is the first place you look. On here you can find multiple photographs, full details, virtual tours and floorplans.

Rightmove and the other property portal websites are so easy to navigate. Having all the properties for all subscribing estate agents on one site is genius, a buyer’s dream, saving them a lot of leg work.

The buyer can see and do everything they need on these sites. In theory a buyer need not step into an estate agent’s office prior to purchasing a home. It amazes me that it has taken so long to get to this stage. After all, estate agencies are not like other high street shops where you physically buy something. All they have ever had on display are photographs of homes; you can’t pick them up and take them home with you!

The internet’s influence on estate agency will continue to grow as time moves on. Already we are seeing the major property portals introducing ‘apps’ for mobile phones, this would have been unheard of 5 years ago. The future looks bright for our industry and any improvements in technology can only aid our main objective, which is selling or letting a home.

I was a technophobe and frightened of change. I am not any more and have embraced the new technology available, even building a business on the back of it.

It will be interesting to see what changes, we will see in the next 10 years.


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