‘Hybrid website’ to boost high street estate agents

A report from accountants Moore Stephens suggested one in five high street estate agents is at risk of going out of business. Picture: Ian Georgeson
A report from accountants Moore Stephens suggested one in five high street estate agents is at risk of going out of business. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A technology business is aiming to help Scottish estate agents compete in the face of dramatic growth in online property advertising sites.

The founders of the Scotland Property portal say its “hybrid website” will enable house-sellers to use the services of a local estate agent to value and market the property but also benefit from the lower prices which the growing number of online portals offer.

Vendors would handle their own viewings and negotiations through an online dashboard which it has developed.

“The advantage of using a local high street agent is that they will still be able to do everything else such as market a property on the portals like Rightmove and Zoopla, but also protect sellers from losing their up-front fee if the property doesn’t sell, which can be the case with other online estate agents,” said Neil Harvey of Plymouth-based Juice Media Design, which is behind the venture.

Harvey said if sellers found handling of viewings and sale negotiations themselves wasn’t working, they can revert back to the traditional “full package” service provided by the local estate agent.

The site has also partnered with Mortgage Advice Bureau in Scotland to help users access lending for properties.

According to analysis by data company TwentyCi, the market share of online agents rose by 61 per cent to just over 6 per cent at the end of 2017.

A report from accountants Moore Stephens last year also suggested that one in five high street estate agents is at risk of going out of business amid a growth in online companies.

The report said almost 5,000 estate agents around the UK are showing signs of “financial distress” as commission-free firms continue to grow online.