If the rise of property portals is ‘chapter one’ of the evolution of estate agency, a completely digitized hybrid property sales process is ‘chapter two’, and this part of the story will be fueled by disruptive technologies, such as View My Chain. At least, that’s according to a recent report by investment company Exane BNP Paribas.

‘The future of estate agency: who wins?’ describes the significant changes that the estate agency industry is experiencing due to technological advances, as well exploring how online estate agents are disrupting the traditional bricks and mortar estate agency model. Admittedly, the unshakable grip that property portals have over estate agents has been explored many times. And, I’m sure you’ve read before that online estate agents are ‘the future’. However, the report also goes into detail about the next phase of digitization of the property buying process and how that impacts both estate agents (online and high-street) and property portals.

It’s agreed from both sides of the online/high-street argument that people still want and need human interaction during the sales process. The conclusion drawn in this report is that as online agents impact the industry, high street agents will react, driving a hybridisation of property sales as a whole. The majority of the process will be carried out online, but with a human expert guide (an estate agent). To a certain extent, thanks to property portals, this has already happened: an important segment of the sales process has moved entirely online.

The report states that for hybrid estate agencies to exist effectively, each segment of the sales process needs to be powered by appropriate new technologies that, in many cases, are only just being investigated properly by the industry. It singles out View My Chain as “an innovative new start-up that leverages big data to expedite the post SSTC to completion journey for vendors – a key area of friction in the house sale process.”

Needless to say, View My Chain works for both online and offline estate agency models. It is simply a means of speeding up an existing process through making information available that was previously unattainable or difficult to acquire. However, as the report suggests, the hybrid model of estate agency will depend on such technologies. If as predicted, fees decrease as online competition builds, innovative solutions such as View My Chain may be the difference in reducing time, saving money, keeping the vendor happy, and getting sales over the line.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sohail Rashid

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