Using Proptech to Choose a Real Estate Agent

Looking into proptech trends in the UK, it was surprising to discover so many companies focused on helping clients find an estate agent; it turns out there are many. It was also interesting to discover most of the business models of these companies focus on property owners and sellers (as opposed to buyers). Below we will examine several UK technology companies that are working to help sellers and buyers find real estate agents.

Proptech Companies Helping Sellers Find Estate Agents

Companies in this space want to help clients “find the best agent.”  Their focus is on clients that are looking to list and sell existing homes, and property owners that want help renting and leasing rental properties.

“Enter a few details about your property, and we’ll instantly compare estate agents, giving you choices from local high-street estate agents and online estate agencies.”- Netanagent.com

“Find the best estate agent for you. See which agents will do the best job of selling your home, based on past performance. Since 2015, we’ve helped more than 400,000 homeowners across the UK sell their home for the best possible price.”- GetAgent.co.uk

“Find the best performing estate agent to sell your property. We recommend agents who: Sell similar properties in your area, achieve the best price, sell properties quickly.”- Choose My Agent.co.uk

These companies provide sellers with rankings for real estate agencies based on criteria such as; lowest agent fees, how long those agencies generally take to sell a listing, which agencies achieve the highest sales prices, estate agencies that have the most property listings for a given area, and more. The various criteria provided by these proptech startups help come clients to feel more certain as they choose an estate agent.

Using Sales Data to Evaluate Real Estate Agents

Many of these companies use data from HM Land Registry to rank the sales performance records of UK estate agencies (within a certain region or postcode). They take the estate agent performance rankings, add them to databases, analyse them, and use their algorithms to provide suggestions, or sometimes generate an ordered list based on a “score.”  Most of the process is quantitative; rankings are based on sales numbers and percentages.  For clients that are interested in a numeric assessment, that is an area where computers and technology companies can provide a lot of value.

Proptech Companies that Focus on Letting Agents

While most of the UK estate agent recommendation companies are focused on sellers, there are a number of proptech startups that provide solutions for landlords.  Best Estate Agent Guide provides rankings for letting agents as well.  And there are other UK real estate companies that make property owners a primary focus.

“Our agent comparison empowers landlords & sellers to choose their ideal agent. Our comparison service is completely free to use & takes just 1 minute to complete.”- Rentround

“PropertyLoop is building the UK’s first modern real estate platform, connecting agents, landlords, and tenants with smart technology to make the lettings experience intelligent and seamless.”- PropertyLoop

Why UK Proptech Companies Mostly Focus on Sellers

These real estate agent comparison services in the UK are focused on sellers, and that specialization is due in part to a peculiarity of the local real estate culture; most home buyers in the UK try to buy property without the help of a real estate agent. Most buyers do not have the experience to know what is best for their side of the transaction, and are unlikely to be able to ensure the best terms. In locations around the world, experienced real estate consultants can present strong arguments for why home buyers will benefit from having an experienced agent guide them through their purchase.

It makes sense that after years of experience with home sales in the UK, a buyer’s agent might help buyers to make better, more informed decisions.  It is unusual that the local culture of buyers in the UK does not pursue that guidance as often as other markets.

Buyers’ agents in the UK do exist (sometimes focused on more expensive properties, or as a part of relocation services), but the lack of demand in the UK means the proptech companies have found more opportunities with sellers and landlords.

Real Estate Agencies or Individual Agents

Despite different business models, one thing almost all the UK companies discussed here have in common is that they provide information about estate “companies,” but not individual real estate agents.  These UK proptech services market themselves as ranking “agents,” but if you look at the reports these “real estate agent comparison services” provide, you will primarily see a list of scores for companies, and not much detail about the capabilities of individual UK realtors.