A relatively recent offering, fixed price estate agency from the likes of PurpleBricks and Yopa is yesteday's-news.
In 1861, a shopkeeper in Philadelphia, John Wannamaker, revolutionised the retail industry by introducing price tags for his goods. Up until then, high street retailers had generally adopted a market-stall system of haggling on most products.
For the past 150 years, Wannamaker's system had been the norm on the high street. That idea is no longer secure.
Technology, for better or worse, can now transport us back to the shopping days before 1861.
The alternative notion of 'dynamic pricing' has long been familiar to anyone booking a flight, hotel room or holiday.
Prices rising and falling in response to demand and avilability.
Data is now being used to place consumers into categories of those prepared to pay more and those seeking bargains.
Algorithms attuned to our habits and wishes.
If we are to believe some of the 'sages, though, estate agency is no longer a service sector, but part of the retail sector.
That being the case, introducing a fixed price model when most every other sector is moving towards dynamic pricing doesn't seem wise.
Fixed price estate agency was supposedly conceived as an attempt to disrupt the ever-increasing fees enjoyed by agencies with the commission model. Yet those escalating fees were as a direct result of the increasing house-price index and were subject to decrease as much as to increase.
Fixed price estate agency is driving down the standards in the sector.
Offering a fixed price service when the hours required to complete the work are variable.
If the home doesn't sell in the hours estimated to complete, what happens then?
Will the agency keep on marketing the home at the same price, or simply ask the vendor to reduce the price in order to get the job done?
There is a huge commitment by any agency that offers a No-Sale, No-Fee model.
They deserve the commission simply because of risk.and reward.
Fixed fee is a culture of quantity over quality.
Of obscure over transparent, Of guarantees that require more than a cursary glance at the small print,