Online Letting Agents & The Death of The High Street Estate Agency

19 October 2017

It is no secret that the world has become increasingly focused around digital in the last few decades. Today, everything from checking your bank balance to buying milk can be done from the comfort of your own sofa. Entire industries have been transformed – the internet is no longer a tool for making innovation more efficient; it is now the fundamental basis for innovation itself.

But there are some industries that, despite vast leaps forward in digital technology, still work within the same structures they have used for decades. We think that high street letting agents are guilty of this. But of course, we needed to test our theory and find out exactly what landlords and tenants think.

In our latest research, which has received national coverage in The Voice, Coinslot, Property Wire, The Times and more, we set out to uncover people’s experiences and thoughts on the concept of online letting agents.

The LetBritain online letting agents research

Here are some of the highlights from our research*:

  • 51 per cent of the people we spoke to claim to go online for ‘the vast majority of products and services’. This figure varied by age group with a higher percentage (68 per cent) of people aged between 18 and 34 agreeing, compared to just 35 per cent of people aged 55 and above. This is particularly important for the rental sector, which rents to a disproportionate number of young people, largely in urban areas.
  • 25 per cent of those surveyed said they would prefer to use online-only services, such as Gumtree or Spareroom in order to secure a tenancy. This number rose to 41 per cent when sampled for young people and 50 per cent for people surveyed in London.
  • 31 per cent of those questioned claimed to think that letting agents were out-dated and agreed that they required customers to submit unnecessary information in cumbersome ways. 43 per cent of young people and 53 per cent of people living in London agreed.

*Sample size was 2,005 people. The sample is nationally representative, which means it is an accurate representation – a microcosm – of the UK population as a whole in terms of the age, sex, location and working status of the respondents

What does this mean for internet estate agents?

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that more and more people are losing their patience for services that aren’t available online. Having the data to hand to demonstrate the extent of this trend in the rental sector has proven to be enlightening.

In short, it’s shown us what we’ve long suspected: within the locations and demographics where letting is in highest demand, there is a real interest in circumventing the tedious old processes of traditional letting agents.

What does this mean for landlords?

If you’re a landlord looking to secure the best rent for your property, you want to advertise to the largest target audience. That’s supply and demand for you. What these statistics tell you is that there’s strong appetite among young people for a slicker, digitised, internet estate agent service.

With online letting agent LetBritain, you can access this market quickly and easily for a vastly reduced cost in comparison to traditional letting agents’ fees – and you can manage the whole process from your sofa with your personal LetBritain landlord dashboard.

Sign up for your free trial today to find out more.