PGP says digital offerings won’t replace agents
Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of Pam Golding Properties
“The traditional agent model has a value proposition which is compelling”
Pam Golding Properties is the first traditional estate agency in SA to combine digital set-fee services alongside their commission-based services. First Eazi.com was bought, now there’s a joint venture with online auction sales channel BidX1. PGP chief executive Dr Andrew Golding states their view on the future of traditional estate agents with the group.
A few months ago, in August PGP, one of the country’s oldest and largest commission-based estate agencies shocked the industry by announcing they bought set-fee start-up company Eazi.com.
At the time PGP’s chief executive, Dr Andrew Golding, said the “traditional high ‘touch’ service, agent/client relationship model would remain the core offering of the group, but they have been following the advance of the online ‘hybrid estate agency model and believes it has potential for the future especially in the lower end of the property market.
Many estate agents questioned how the agency could do this as it would mean they are directly competing with their own agents, offering clients the option of the less expensive set-fee service or more personalised yet also more costly service by a qualified estate agent.
Property leaders had divided opinions on the wisdom of PGP’s bold move – some said it is the way forward while others weren’t so sure. Most staunchly vowed foremost to remain commission-based agencies but with the latest in technological support available to their agents.
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Following PGP’s recent announcement that they’re entering into a joint venture with digital auction platform, BidX1, thereby further extending their online offering, we asked PGP’s chief executive Dr Andrew Golding whether they still see a future for traditional commission-based estate agents with the PGP Group.
Dr Golding in his comments confirmed that the traditional commission-based agent can offer a premium service which will continue to have an important and permanent place in all markets.
“While there is no doubt that technology will continue to play an ever increasingly significant role in the entire residential real estate industry, and as a consequence the role of the agent continues to evolve, we believe that the traditional agent model has a value proposition which is compelling and which will continue to have an important and permanent place in all markets,” he said.
He continued that including online offerings with the traditional service gave consumers more options to choose from. He said: “However, it is also true that newer and different models offer consumers a choice of service that previously was not available. This is no different from most industries where consumers have a range of choices and choose these services based on a range of factors, but ultimately coming down to ‘a price paid for a service received’, be that for a premium service which justifies a premium price or a less premium service which therefore justifies a less premium price. We believe that the time is long overdue for consumers to be able to have a clear understanding of a very well-defined value proposition and as a consequence of this, make informed choices regarding the type of service they require and therefore choose.”
BidX1 and Eazi.com are both run as separate companies. BidX1 is an online auction sales channel and Dr Golding says being in partnership with them will complement and add value to PGP’s existing range of property services across the entire spectrum of property of all types and markets.
“This in a sense adds another string to our bow. Both Eazi.com and BidX1 are run as separate companies, each operating within their own digital space and providing buyers and sellers with different options and choices,” explained Dr Golding.
On the question of whether there are more digital acquisitions to come, Dr Golding said they will continue to look for complementary offerings in line with their strategy to be a comprehensive property services group across the African continent and functionally across all property genres and services..
PGP is in partnership with international property group Savills, who in 2016 made a substantial investment into set-fee hybrid agency Yopa.