The festive period has really made me consider the real value of the High Street, at a time when quality local businesses have to compete with large corporate on-line solutions, who in turn have the ability to under-cut given the volumes.
However, what they do not have is the personal, caring service that one can find on the High Street and is it really all about price and fees? I would dare to suggest that actually there is much to gain by talking to a specialist in their chosen business, many have years of experience and will help their customers take the right decisions and spend wisely – something that a desktop or mobile can’t do!
Few of us will spend more than what we do on our homes, our “bricks and mortar” are for most, the largest investment we will make and it, therefore, needs to be right. Latest statistics suggest that people move now on average every 15 years or so and therefore selling and buying property is not something we do very often and with the ever-changing legislation, tax changes and the like – most of us want guidance and help, to ensure we take the right decisions. Malcolm Prescott, Managing Director of Webbers estate agents explains “in 2018 over 96% of our clients would recommend our service to friends and family and rated our service as value for money and that is down to our staff, not a desk-top computer – people looking after people”
There are some key differences between selling a house using just an on-line solution and selling through a modern forward thinking High Street agent.
In the main a purely on-line agent will consider their job done once the house is listed – that is when they get paid and it is telling that they ask for a “review” from their clients at this point – before a buyer has even viewed the property. Typically a high street agent will only ask for a review once the house has been sold, in other words once the client has experienced a service and has the full picture of the sales service. It is commonly referred s “no sale, no fee” whereas with an on-line solution the fee is paid up-front and therefore a risk – who today really wants to risk giving away in most cases well over £1,000 with no result!
In a more challenging market high street agents really start to demonstrate the gulf between their service and that of an on-line business. Traditional agents will be hitting the phones talking to buyers, sending mail-shots, printing colour brochures, advertising and the like, as well as promoting on-line through the major portals like onthemarket.com and Rightmove. With a traditional High Street agent a home-seller can be assured that their home will be exposed to the whole of the market – not just those who look on-line.
Having operated in Bideford, North Devon for over 50 years, Webbers Estate Agents, who now have 16 offices have recently relocated and opened a brand new High Street office, which is bigger, brighter and has set a new standard in what customers can expect from a High Street estate agency office, but above all clearly demonstrates the value of the High Street.
Malcolm says “Like many other businesses, estate agency has new competition from out of town, so-called online solutions, however, it is our firm belief that people making an investment of this magnitude want to speak with a local professional, who is both knowledgeable and caring” Malcolm goes on to say “of course we also need to be leading the way in terms of service and technology – just being on the High Street is not enough, our customer care needs to be exceptional and our service offering has to be compelling to give people a reason to use our services and I am pleased to say that more and more people are choosing to do just that”.
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