Monthly Archives: February 2019

Low up-take of online estate agency

online blogSome local sellers have approached us to sell their property following a less-than-impressive performance by an online alternative to “proper” estate agency. Although it is always tempting to say “I told you so”, we wouldn’t be so harsh with someone who has just been through the mill with the wrong choice of agent.

And it seems they are not alone. In fact, a survey* of over 14,000 sellers, the largest ever undertaken, has demonstrated that 93% of people would prefer to use a real, human estate agent.

Those sellers who chose to use a traditional agent were asked whether they had considered an internet-only alternative; 30% had, due to apparently cheaper fees, but then decided against. Seventy per cent of sellers said they didn’t consider using an online agent.

Despite the fact that so much of our world is now online – and often all the better for it – most people recognize that this does not generally apply to effective estate agency. For example, 38% of sellers using a “traditional” estate agent said they did so because local knowledge was very important to them. Thirty five percent appreciated the value of a face to face relationship with their agent (which of course offers far greater personal accountability), seventeen per cent cited the importance of a local high street presence and 10% said it was simply more convenient than some presumably faceless online alternative.

It would seem that the only attribute an online agency has to offer is the temptation of an apparently cheaper fee (this was the main reason why 74% of those who used an online agent decided to do so). But beware! This can be a substantial false economy as most online agencies charge up front, with no incentive to actually sell your property! Additionally, automated models cannot fully understand the nuances of local values and online agents are seldom involved in the psychology of selling, negotiations, sales progression, chain chasing, liaising with solicitors etc.

These observations are also well supported by actual results. According to recent research conducted by The HomeOwners’ Alliance, the top 1000 high street estate agents typically sell 82.4% of homes listed with them (in 21 days on average), as opposed to just 51.9% of homes listed with an online agent (in 43 days on average). The top 1000 agents also achieved a 4.5% higher sale price v asking price than the online alternative.

Further research by city consultancy Jeffreys has projected that even the “hybrid” model of agency is unlikely to achieve even a ten per cent market share in the next two years.
Choosing the right estate agent for your property type is an important decision, so don’t be tempted to cut corners; as most sellers will confirm – it usually ends in tears!

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The Advertising Myth

AdvertisingIt would not be unreasonable to assume that as a property comes onto the market, the instructed estate agent will post the property details on various property portals and wait for the enquiries to roll in.

However, this approach is somewhat simplistic! We take a much more strategic and proactive approach to handling new buyer enquiries. There is a fallacy surrounding adverts in that many people think that a property sells as a direct result of the publication of its corresponding advertisement. This is simply not true in most cases.

In fact, the overwhelming majority of buyers who enquire about a specific property do not go on to buy it – they buy something else instead. This is because only limited information can be conveyed in an advertisement, such as price, location, accommodation and condition. Yet the decision to buy is usually much more complex, and is something that cannot adequately be assimilated until the buyer actually visits the property.

So while it is important to choose an agent that advertises extensively (eg, we feature our clients’ properties on a number of portals including Rightmove, Zoopla, etc), it is more important to choose an agent who knows what to do with an enquiry than simply putting the buyer on a mailing list!

A good agent will use good ads to attract buyers, and then use their skill, training and judgement to help the buyer identify the right property – which in all probability will not turn out to be the one about which they enquired. This effective method is one of the reasons why we enjoy such an excellent ratio of new applicants to sales agreed, which is of course to our clients’ substantial advantage.

Why not join them? Please feel free to call 01933 224400 now to arrange a confidential appraisal so that we might provide you with highly relevant strategic marketing proposal.

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