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Agents second call must be Viewber says tech guru

Posted by: on 14 Oct 2016

In this weekly journey together we’ll often find the ‘disruption’ talk shown to be hollow. It’s the enablers who change the world. Like most business, it’s about the people (more than the product).

Which is why this week it gives me great pleasure to focus on Ed Mead’s Viewber.

His innovation, his product, is making people conveniently available any time of day and night to conduct property viewings.

It’s not difficult to imagine a future where booking a property viewing can be a button click and stops being a negotiation to fit into an agent’s diary. What is more of a reach for the current industry is this: never again having a viewing conducted by a poorly trained agent (what we call negotiators in the UK).

All viewing requests to Viewber are fulfilled by local people. At the end of the appointment the agent – or ‘Viewber’ – gets rated by both viewer and the agency (or vendor/seller) who they’re representing for that one viewing.

This transparency has never before existed in the world of property.

In my mind it’s clear the future of agency will continue to be ‘long tail’ in that corporate/national brands will always be outnumbered by more local, independent agents. For the time-being innovations like Viewber will keep poorly run agencies from going out of business – enabling them to operate with lower costs by turning negotiators into a variable (rather than fixed) cost.

So while vendors and landlords are still largely in the dark whether their agency choice was a good one, the clear winner here will be prospective buyers and renters: ‘Viewbers’ with low ratings just won’t win work (as long as the identity checks can’t be gamed).

The negotiator is dead. Long live the Viewber?

But here’s the kicker: Viewber is a bet on agency persisting.

Viewber will be the second call a new agency owner makes, after securing their Rightmove membership. As new agencies form, they’ll have a distinct advantage in not needing negotiators sitting around while business picks up.  That just leaves one challenge unsolved by technology: how to win new business in the form of vendors and landlords. Any takers?

 

This blog, written by Rayhan Rafiq Omar, first appeared at http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/proptech/proptech-weekly-43/

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