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For those EAT readers who missed it, Sarah Beeny's How To Sell Your Home on Channel 4 last evening was probably what one would have expected from a person who, in her own words, owns an established online estate agency.

It was, to put it mildly, bullish about the online revolution, suggesting that by 2020 some 50 per cent of all homes in the UK will be sold this way, referring to vendors who opted to sell online as pioneers and revelling in the prospect of eating into the £5 billion of traditional estate agents' fees which are paid every year by sellers in this country.

Interestingly, the show's two case studies had radically different outcomes.

In Nottingham, the Watsons sold their four bed semi for £220,000, some £10,000 more than a high street agent valued it at. They had 27 viewers and a generally positive experience.

In East Sussex, Terri Measures defied the high street agent's advice - and that of Sarah Beeny herself - and put her listed country cottage on sale at £400,000 to £450,000 instead of something like £300,000 to £320,000. Surprise, surprise - no viewings and no sale.

Beeny's interpretation of this failure to sell did not for one second consider that perhaps the online method was at fault, or that a high street agent may have got nearer to asking price - or at least a viewing or two.

In Sarah's outlook, the fault was entirely the price not the medium.

And the show, despite being about online sales, was also laced with some classic Beeny practical tips about how a lick of paint here or a new kitchen cupboard door there could improve the asking price and chance of a sale - sensible enough.

The show did illustrate some challenges inherent in the online system. Even the successful sellers felt that handling so many viewings made them (at least temporarily) resolve never to sell their own home again; and the practicalities of rushing back from the school run to tidy a property and then appear on stage' for prospective buyers made entertaining TV.

What remains to be seen is how the traditional agency industry responds to the show, and the five remaining programmes in this series, each featuring two online sales case studies.

Last night Twitter was disappointingly tame during the show, at least on the official #howtosellyourhome hastag.

Online agents plugged their own services mercilessly and only a few traditional agents waged their traditional arguments.

One came from Jamie Lester of London's Haus Properties, a well-known critic of online agency, who tweeted: Sarah Beeny has yet to mention that estate agents tend to work on a no sale, no fee basis.

The next edition of Beeny's programme is on Channel 4 next Monday at 8.30pm.


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    I really think that before Beany starts plugging her Tepilo portal and publicly bashing high st agents that, she get her own house in order. There own t and c's http://www.tepilo.com/info/terms-and-conditions/ make no mention of the 14 day cooling off period as per Consumer Contract (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. They also make numerous references to PMA which was repealed on October 1st 2013 and no mention of CPRs. Perhaps all those cheap fees mean Tepilo can't invest in maintaining correct terms, dread to think what the service is like.

    • 21 October 2014 19:29 PM
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    I make no apology for including a link to our blog - [url="http://www.helphound.info/2014/10/sarah-beeny-and-london-standard-all-in.html"] here [/url] addressing this programme and today's article in the Evening Standard on the same theme

    • 21 October 2014 16:38 PM
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    Personally I thought the most damaging thing about the program was that it adds further fuel to the fire on the idea that EA's undervalue property.

    Totally not true in my view.

    If anything competition to win the instruction coupled with the gullibility of most house sellers leads to endemic levels of overvalued property hitting the market.

    When everyone thinks EA's undervalue property who's going to belive the poor EA pushing their realistic pricing advice & analysis

    You're always up against that one chap deperate to secure the listing (at any price).

    Difficult to stay the course and not push your valuation as high as you dare in order to stay in the game.

    Overpriced stock -> longer sale times (if any sale at all) -> requests for reductions -> increased frustration for sellers -> unenthusiastic estate agents leading to communication breakdown with clients =====> Futher damage to EA industry reputation and round and round we go.

    Whatcha gonna do eh!

    • 21 October 2014 12:06 PM
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    [quote] Beenys interpretation of this failure to sell did not for one second consider that perhaps the online method was at fault, or that a high street agent may have got nearer to asking price - or at least a viewing or two.

    In Sarahs outlook, the fault was entirely the price not the medium.[/quote]

    Come on EAT!



    A ggod EA provides a very valuable service however, they're not miricale workers for crying out loud.

    Price it right and both OEA's & EA can produce offers. Price it wrong and there's not a lot either can do.

    • 21 October 2014 09:54 AM
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    Completely agree, Kevin. This us v them mentality on show between online and traditional - and both sides are equally guilty of it - is just tiresome in the extreme. Housesimple.co.uk has come on and quite brilliantly displayed the worst aspects of the online model and the 'superior' service they offer. If we turned it round, there would be plenty of examples of traditional agents offering a better service than online, and vice versa. One model isn't inherently better than the other, and the childish 'we're better than you, ner ner ner ner' is not helpful at all.

    Beeny's programme is extremely biased towards online agents, so it's no surprise that she'd want to show them off in a positive light. But as we saw in the show, ignoring the advice of experienced industry professionals doesn't always work out. In fact, more often than not, it will cost people.

    It would be nice if we could have a more balanced programme that explored the pros and cons of the two models, but I won't hold my breath. I've always said that the future will probably involve the merging of the two, but I just can't see half of all homes being sold online by 2020. That's fantasy land.

    • 21 October 2014 09:34 AM
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    Absolutely agree Kevin, it was a 30 min infomercial for her online agency. I did feel for the agent from Hammond Property Services who clearly was not prepared at all for that meeting and feel somewhat sad that it shouldn't have been her there but maybe her boss!..... So maybe thats where the fault lies with that pricing.
    I think there is definitely room in the market for both online and high street agents, this is going to shake up the market for the better yes this will include fees. The lazy high street agent has to now prove their worth and justify such fees, which I think can be done. Some vendors will not hesitate to hand over the stressful process to a property professional who will do everything for them, yes there is a price for this but one worth paying. Others may use the online agency to save money and I don't blame them!

    • 21 October 2014 08:28 AM
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    The lady who didn't sell her home actually ended up circa 1,000 down due to her high expectations which weren't managed at all. This is where the online model is flawed.

    • 21 October 2014 08:08 AM
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    One of the biggest criticisms of Beeny's show is the shameless self-promotion and bias she fails to avoid with programmes like this. How ironic you make the same mistake, especially when pitching your services on a web-site comment almost exclusively read by estate agents and not potential customers.

    Simple indeed.

    • 21 October 2014 07:43 AM
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    Whilst Housesimple are proud to show it's professionalism in terms of high quality of service and it's achievement levels highlighted by the Watsons selling at 10,000 more than suggested by their local agent, this is something that occurs day in, day out.

    Housesimple have been trading almost 8 years now and are consistantly ourperforming High Street Agents and saving clients thousands in the process - in this case the Watsons saved 4,000 or 14,000 depending if you count the 10,000 they'd have lost if they'd been pushed by the High Street Agent to accept a lower price, as i'm afraid many do.

    Vendors want a good service, but they also want more control and reasonable fees, Housesimple fulfils all of this.

    • 21 October 2014 05:48 AM
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