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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Onliner takes a swipe at estate agents who 'lose interest' in vendors' homes

An online estate agency claims it has evidence traditional agents have attention spans “not that much longer” than goldfish when it comes to the properties that they market. 

House Simple claims that traditional agents lose interest in homes they are marketing if no offers have been received within two week. 

The online agency, in a poll of more than 2,000 people who have sold a property in the past 12 months, says 50 per cent felt their agent’s commitment to sell dropped off considerably after the initial marketing period, and by the second week they felt they were already having to chase the estate agent for updates.

House Simple also claims “it is not uncommon for high street agents to promise an unrealistic sale price to get sellers signed up only ... to quickly recommend a price drop once the property is marketed.” It claims 51 per cent of those polled revealed their agent suggested they drop the asking price soon after marketing began.

The poll also suggests 21 per cent of those surveyed regarded half or more of those would-be buyers who came to viewings were actually time-wasters - in London and Wales that figure rose to 40 per cent. 

“Agents only receive their commission once a property is sold, so they need to secure an offer quickly. Once they have you signed up, their interest in your property can wane rapidly if an offer doesn’t materialize” claims Alex Gosling, House Simple’s chief executive.

“Sellers shouldn’t feel under pressure, but often do, to lower the price to attract a buyer, especially when viewings dry up. And the agent is in a much stronger position to suggest dropping the price, when the seller is tied into a contract.”

  • Chris Arnold

    All the more reason that potential vendors should know what questions to ask of any estate agency they may be considering. During the listing presentation, homeowners should ask whether the agency has a plan B if a home doesn't attract viewings and offers within the first two weeks. Of course, some agents will suggest the valuation was over-optimistic and pressure the vendor to reduce, but more sensible questions in the presentation should eliminate those agencies. The question then becomes more about the marketing. Might the agency change the photos, what was the CTR, does the property need superficial cosmetic update, can the home be better promoted with words than pictures? It is incumbent on any vendor to ask these questions: the fact that they don't demonstrates their inability to choose wisely! A professional high street agency might wish to suggest their plan B to the vendor, if they have one. The alternative for the vendor is that they consider an online agency that has no plan other than more exposure on the portals ( which as we know creates a stale offering). If a home isn't getting interest after a few weeks, there is something fundamentally wrong with either the promotion, the presentation of the property, or the ability of the agency instructed. Of course it's hard work selling any property, but agencies need to be paid more for their efforts, not less. Using an online agency is the choice of lazy thinkers that want instant gratification. Hopefully, high street agencies will come round to thinking that they have to offer more value and that this requires more, not less, effort on the part of agency. Vendors, for their part, have to stop being so naive as to think that a listing on the portals and a fee of a few hundred pounds is the answer.

  • David OConnor

    Common sense tells us that when a property is initially brought to market it has access to the whole population of buyer currently looking after two weeks those currently looking should have seen the property. Thereafter you are limited to new buyer entering the market and therefore after the first two weeks activity will reduce. This is no reflection on any type of agent. Some might says that the online agent model who attempt to get fees upfront are if fact not Estate agents but only advertisers and that they lose interest immediately their fee is paid & have no interest at at in achieving best price for their client!

  • icon

    I came across House Simple when I bought a house in Hampshire in 2013, and I have to say they were very good.

    Apparently the seller paid under £400 commission, so he did quite well too. Negotiations were professional and the transaction went smoothly. I would definitely use them to sell, but as I intend living here until the wooden box beckons, (or the home for dribblers) so it might not arise!

    Algarve  Investor

    Interesting to read a positive review about an onliner. That doesn't seem to happen much on here.

    My views on the traditional v online debate are a bit conflicted. I think there is a place for both in the market, but part of me worries about a race to the bottom if all these new agents keep coming on to the market. Traditional agents will eventually have to slash their prices to compete. Some would argue that that's no bad thing, and I'd partially agree, but quality of service would have to be maintained across the board.

    I don't think fairly childish insults like the above really help matters, but this kind of playground animosity comes from both sides all the time.

     
  • DAVID PERRIN

    Seems like an opportunity for all estate agents to educate their potential clients as to what they do differently to the competition, what is their USP? and why that vendor should instruct them to act. its more about explaining how they do things and what is the contingency plan if they need to change direction - dropping the price isn't always the answer and is the easy option - bad press if the asking price was based on the agents valuation - there are lots of things an agent can do!

  • icon

    This is a well balanced report and good responses a pleasure to read for once, (by the way I am a high street agent)

  • Oliver Chapple

    What is missing from this research is the fact that 80% of all on-line viewing activity happens in the first two week's of a property's on-line marketing life. So therefore it is no wonder this is why 50% of the customers interviewed by HS felt this way!! So their comment is factually misleading as the survey and its results like so many are flawed due to being taken out of the context - the full picture! I know this as Webdadi has served estate agent's Websites & SEO tracking online property viewings and valautions for return on investment and has done for 15 years.

  • icon

    The comment made by housesimple is why we set up our business, in our area agents donot seem to keep in touch with their vendors we pride ourselves on our client contact and are exploiting the gap in our market

  • Kristjan Byfield

    As many have stated above, there is tons of evdence to support the level of enquiries and viewing requests are highest in the forst 2 weeks. I seem to remember that at least 80% of enquiries for a property arrive in the first 2 weeks. I would be intrigued to know what level of interest housesimple have after the first 2 weeks as online-only agents. I would be intrigues to know if their marketted on the same portals as the rest of us miraculously does differently.
    What is more, the comments regarding inflated list prices and the ensuing reductions are usually client driven. I have seen so many clients n London over the years be given 2/3/4 accurate valuations supported by listings and recent transactions. Then in comes an agent who gives a price 10-20% higher with ni justification and (in many cases) a hgher fee. The clients suddenly lose all interest in comparables as £ signs flash before thier eyes often without any questions to that agent as to why their valuation is so much higher than others and what evidence they have to support this.
    I never have an issue with a client testing the market at a higher price, but an agent should never be blamed if this doesnt work out and the price is then reduced.
    Must say, though, by now very bored of the pointless mud-slinging between 'online' and 'high street' agents. How about we all just get on with doing the best job we can rather than posting poorly thought out, mud slinging comments simply for a reaction and some free press?

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