Traditional agents have lost 7% of market share so far this year to online competitors.
The estimate comes from Mark Worrall, a high street estate agent who has co-created love2move as a national online agency brand that can sit alongside existing businesses.
Worrall launched love2move in February, promoting it as “your high street agent online”.
It was originally designed for Worrall’s own family agency, MovingWorks, in Lancashire, but is now being rolled out to businesses elsewhere.
Worrall said: “My research, based on 15 areas in the UK where we have been talking to agents, shows that this year 7% of new instructions have gone to online agents, with every area showing some exposure to the onlines.
“If that is happening on a national scale, then traditional agents have lost 7% of total market share.”
He went on: “The truth is, cheap will always appeal in every market and the online agents have developed a business model that has such an appeal.
“We have adapted that model so that high street agents can compete on a level playing field. By having a high street presence we can also offer additional services that online operators are not able to, so we are operating in an ideal space to appeal to both vendors and agents.
“We believe that offering an online option allows high street agents the opportunity to get through the door then sell the product that most suits the client, whilst demonstrating a forward-thinking and flexible approach.”
Worrall said: “Property marketing has been transformed by the advent of online agencies, and the traditionalists among us have watched their progress closely whilst jealously guarding our own business models.
“Many companies feel that by advertising properties on Rightmove they are online, but they are not. An online platform gives the vendor the power to complete the full sales process from arranging a viewing through to completing the sales progression using a fully automated online platform 24/7 from anywhere in the world.
“At MovingWorks we have always prided ourselves in delivering a first-class service to our customers, whether vendors or purchasers. But in today’s ‘always on’ society, that is no longer enough.
“Younger people in particular are looking for ways to take control of their own life choices and save money by so doing, and it was inevitable that this attitude would extend to property.”
He added: “It is my contention that whilst there will always be a place for a traditional offering, we traditional agents would not be fulfilling our duty as property professionals if we did not embrace the full power of the internet.
“It is for this reason that we decided to launch our own online property marketing service, whilst at the same time being conscious not to dilute our traditional business model.”
Worrall said that developing the software had been a massive investment, and said that online services like love2move would not appeal to every vendor.
“They do, however, appeal to the new generation of home sellers who are so exposed to all the advertising that they have no appetite to pay £3,000 to sell their home because they think selling homes is easy. It isn’t, of course.
“Meeting great agents up and down the country has reinforced my belief that there is some real talent in this industry, but we just need to be open-minded enough to adapt our offering to enable us to not only survive, but prosper as well.”