A few weeks ago we read, with interest, a report which showed that on-line estate agents have still failed to secure more than 5% market share. The figures from property consultancy The Advisory concentrated on new inventory listed on Rightmove and Zoopla from 7th- 21st February and bundled together the top 10 on-line agents, including Purplebricks, Yopa and Emoov. 
Last year we saw analysts predict that on-line agents would by now be looking at something closer to 7 or 8% of total sales and the constant bombardment of high-profile advertising (and the huge budgets associated with it) certainly suggested that they were heading that way with all guns blazing. The fact that the massive marketing assault hasn’t resulted in a significant uplift suggests to us that the consumer is still somewhat unconvinced about on-line alone being the best route to sale. 
 
This lack of confidence is most probably not being helped by recent publicity surrounding two of the most well-known players – Purplebricks and Emoov. Profit warnings, and a subsequent management restructure, at the former will undoubtedly have done little in their favour and the very public financial collapse of Emoov at the end of 2018 is a hurdle which the new owners will have to work hard to overcome. 
 
So what do we feel is the biggest challenge these new-comers are facing? Well, in our opinion we are in a time of unprecedented uncertainty and people are applying a much greater degree of caution to the purchase (and of course the selling) of high-ticket items – and few things are quite as ‘high ticket’ as property. We often speak of the balance to be sought when deciding if and when to move. Yes, there are a great deal of unknowns at the moment and this significantly affects people’s confidence to do anything other than ‘stay put’. The trouble is however that staying put for some means months and months living in a situation which no longer suits their circumstances, and this can make life all that more difficult. 
 
Those who are brave enough to follow their hearts and make a move are most probably then determined to take as few risks as possible with the selling and buying process itself, so the known, trusted support of a traditional agent is what they seek. In more certain times perhaps vendors would be more open to taking a chance on a less proven route to sale for the sake of saving a little money, but for now they are focussed on the end result and want to utilise the experience and knowledge of established professionals. 
 
You may imagine that we are writing this post with an element of smugness - and in that assumption you would be correct. However we are not lamenting the failure of on-line agents to succeed as they expected to do, but instead we are celebrating the fact that the vast majority of the property selling population still have most confidence in real-life agents and the far-reaching expertise they can offer. 95% of those currently selling their homes, it appears, would agree. 
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