So the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has issued its updated Blue Book – supposedly a guide to best practice for estate agents.
Just one thing; there’s not a single mention of any of the online estate agencies. Not one; nada; zilch. It’s like the internet never happened.
At best you could describe the oversight as misguided; at worst, arrogant, pompous or just plain stupid.
What we do
We’ve been around as a business for over five years, steadily building our portfolio so that today, we can offer a decent selection of homes across England and Wales from £800,000 to £80,000. Not only that, we’ve sold everything from mansions to one-bedroom apartments – even a commercial premises or two.
We’re rated the UK’s No 2 in our field on independent review website Trustpilot, we’ve won awards for customer service and we’re now part of an international network marketing property globally.
But, according to RICS, the way we do things is not even worthy of consideration; it’s the same for larger rivals such as Purple Bricks, Emoov or HouseSimple. Admittedly, the Blue Book is produced for RICS members and not the public at large but it’s almost as though there’s a fervent hope among the estate agency’s establishment that, if they can ignore the newer, internet-based business model for estate agency long enough, it’ll go away.
The thing is, it won’t. The first generation of so-called internet natives – millennials who have never known the world before it went online – are now in their first jobs. In a few years’ time they’ll be in middle-management and probably looking for property of their own.
Are they all going to stick by the age-old estate agency practices now there are online alternatives out there? Of course not; they’ll be on their laptops or iPhone XV, probably using technology we’ve never even dreamed of to view and even buy property which matches their wish lists – probably in 3D. If RICS and its members really believe they can continue to patronise sellers of the future – and then charge them thousands for the privilege – we suspect they’re going to be hugely disappointed.
Here to stay
Granted, even in 2027, there will still be some uncomfortable with the concept of such a significant transaction as buying or selling a house being completed online. That’s why we’re convinced there’s enough business out there for both traditional agents as well as the newer online equivalents. We’ve always said that.
But to dismiss the business practices of a whole sector or your own industry as not worthy of consideration purely because they use more modern communication and selling techniques is incredibly short-sighted and, to be frank, unworthy of such an august body as RICS.
It has its faults; it is lamented by some as the root cause for a significant change in the way we live our lives. But the internet is here – and it’s here to stay. Clearly, some need to get used to it.