A top London estate agent says the humble For Sale board remains the cheapest and most effective marketing tool - even in an era of portals and PropTech.
Trevor Abrahmsohn, the owner of Glentree Estates which specialises in luxury property sales and rentals in north London, says the “incredible commercial potency” is underestimated by agents at their peril.
“At least a third of the market is comprised of latent purchasers/tenants. These could be the most enthusiastic buyers/tenants of a property, if they were actually on a mailing list, or took notice of adverts, which may not be the case” he says.
However, Abrahmsohn believes they get motivated if they see For Sale board which for agents is the only way of identifying this potential type of client.
“A prospective applicant may be walking or driving and they see a board outside a property. They are invariably relaxed and it prompts a thought that they like the look of the place, which in turn leads to a call to the agent whose number, conveniently, is on the board. Once they hear the price and find it amenable, it is only the interior or garden that needs approval before purchasing or renting. So already, three out of the four imponderables in a deal have been resolved before an applicant sets foot in the door” he adds.
He is impatient with sellers or landlords who are reluctant to display boards - “the quaint English custom of social anxiety” as he calls it – and says the game is given away to the neighbours even if a sign isn’t erected.
“The mere sight of a stranger clutching their particulars, accompanied by a sharp-suited agent shows the curtain-twitchers that you are selling your house. Not only do you lose out on the wider access to the market brought by the board, but the rubber-neckers, with dull lives, know all about your plans anyway through the property portals” Abrahmsohn insists.
The joy of the board doesn’t end there, either.
He continues: “The board's utility extends well into the sales process, reminding the buyer that they have to (literally) keep things moving through the conveyancing process or else they will lose out. When dealing with sleepy solicitors, who time themselves by calendar, this is a definite advantage.
“Besides, what else gives such good value for £20 these days? For the price of an estate agent's weekly hair-gel bill, a For Sale board allows you to capture a part of the market that would ordinarily be out of reach, separates the clowns from the genuine vendors and keeps everything on track when a sale has been agreed. All in all, a staggering list of benefits for some bits of wood and paint which the client doesn’t even pay for.”