- add to their existing list of properties (by using local contacts, private sales, back street agents)
- do an initial sifting to weed out unsuitable prospects
- guide them through the buying process, offering independent advice and acting purely for them not the agent or vendor
- help in negotiating the lowest possible price
- act as a signpost towards other professional advisors (notaires, surveyors, lawyers, currency brokers, architects, builders, artisans, mortgage advisors)
The French market is going through the same fundamental change as the UK. Nightly television is full of adverts for private sale websites and for property portals. The number of traditional agents is diminishing (I was shocked to see that in the UK one in four agents have closed over the last two years).
I'm not saying that traditional agents are dead men walking, nor am I saying that they don't have a place in the market. Clearly they do and changes like this don't happen overnight. If I were selling my house I would still use local agents and would expect them to advise me on how to "dress" my house to the best effect and how to get the highest possible price for it.
What I am saying though is that customer needs and actions are changing fast. Buyers will need traditional agents less and less.
Sellers on the other hand will be looking to their agents to help them differentiate and stand out from the crowd.....if the agent fails to deliver this then more and more sellers will go it alone and Sarah Beeney may well be proved right when she says:
"The internet has removed the need for estate agents and that in the future it is likely that estate agents will be the preserve of complicated or "out of the ordinary" sales".