The Internet - threat or strength?
Far from cutting them out of the property game, the internet is a tool that estate agents are using to strengthen their role.
In a survey of members, the NAEA, found that 84% of respondents said customers generally viewed the internet as a positive addition to traditional marketing techniques. Fewer than two per cent of estate agents surveyed felt they had lost any business to private property sites.
NAEA chief executive, Hugh Dunsmore-Hardy, said: " Information is not knowledge and both in the UK and in America we are finding evidence that house buyers and sellers are recognising the difference. "While the internet is increasingly seen as an excellent marketing tool for widening potential audiences for homes, customers still want the interpretative skills, expert local advice and the negotiating expertise that only professional estate agents can provide on what are likely to be the largest transactions of their lives.
"Fears being expressed a few years or so ago that the internet revolution would sweep away estate agents appear to be unfounded. We are not mere order takers but remain the first point of contact for most sales because we understand the need to protect such transactions and to provide and interpret information for our clients."
Many customers are now actively asking whether their home details would be available via internet sites.
Dunsmore-Hardy says: "The Internet, through sites like our own PropertyLive site, may open the door, but estate agents are there to greet buyers and sellers, adding value to the process like never before."