George Berry, Residential Area Manager of Durrants, explains why traditional estate agents beat an online agent every time in a tough housing market. This article was first published in the Diss Express.
With the recent implosion of certain online agents, what lessons can we learn when choosing an estate agent to market our property?
Agents often see a property instruction as merely a number that helps their target. They forget that not only is a home someone’s biggest asset but that people buy people. Looking at the house is important but giving the client time and listening to their needs is far more important. This way marketing can be tailored to ensure that clients get what they need from the service they will be paying for.
When times are tough and every penny counts, we all look where we can save money. However, ultimately, we also know that we get what we pay for and if something looks cheap it invariably is. Clothing that is made cheaply does not last and online agents offering fees that do not cover services eventually fold because it is not sustainable.
Therefore, when you are selling in a tough market you want longevity and track record. You want honest and sensible advice. However, most importantly you want a person to be there to support you through the process and not a computer that says ‘no’.
Helpful and honest advice
There is a direct correlation between price and presentation and part of the process is ensuring your chosen agent gives you honest advice – even if it may not be what you want to hear. If there are things you can do to improve first impressions, an agent can advise. This can include de-cluttering, moving furniture and even work to a garden. As a vendor you want to get the best price you can and equally the agent wants to achieve this for you. It is therefore essential you can work together. Linked to this is having an agent that will give you accurate and honest feedback from viewings as there maybe factors you can change.
An agent with an office at the heart of a community where you can walk in and chat about your home is more important now than ever. Post-Covid we have all become used to life on Zoom but when it comes to our biggest asset we need the tangibility of someone being there. We all strive to be part of a community and often the biggest one is where we live. Choosing an agent that is already central to that community can immediately make you feel more settled.
In a very short space of time, relatively speaking, we have seen a big change to the property market. The rise in interest rates has caused buyers to pause but like any point in time there are people that still need to buy and sell for a variety of reasons and the three D’s of death, divorce and debt is always present in any market.
The issue we are finding is from seeing many buyers in proceedable positions, we are now seeing buyers needing to sell. As a result, the market has become all about chain building. You need an agent that can think creatively and put links together. That is never going to happen with an online agent. You need someone that will listen to a buyer’s requirements and find them the house they did not realise they wanted.
Our Building Consultancy division has ‘From Concept to Completion’ as their motto. However, I would argue this can be applied to every aspect of a client’s property needs and your chosen agent should always be thinking about this through every step of the process.
When you are considering who to use when selling your home, think about the bigger picture and everything involved, not just the price and fee.
Catch up with the latest property news in George’s Diss Express column next month.