The Haart estate agency chain has launched a portal called Off Market which it describes to sellers as being “a unique strategy to find you a buyer during lockdown.”
Haart says the portal uses social media technology called FLINK to allow vendors to meet their agent and prospective buyer virtually and safely.
The agency says: “FLINK uses data form providers like Google and Facebook to find people who might be interested in a home like yours. No other technology can tap into those buyers who aren't yet registered with an estate agent or searching on property portals.”
Haart was on the receiving end of substantial industry criticism for its closure of offices and laying off of some staff just a matter of hours before the government announced a furlough scheme that may have avoided some redundancies.
At the time some former Haart staff took to social media and the press to criticise the company and epropservices chief executive Jon Cooke tweeted: “SHAMEFUL! As industry leaders we all know tough decisions may need to be taken to secure our businesses BUT to not wait and factor in government support shows the true culture of an organisation shame on you [Haart chief executive] Paul Smith.”
Now Haart appears to take a swipe back at its critics by saying on its website: “While some agents have closed their doors completely we are adapting to give you access to potential buyers and get you moved.“
Under the FLINK system, a seller takes photographs or creates a video of their own home after which they discuss the property and its possible valuation with Haart via Zoom.
The agency then sends a paperless contract and ask the seller to complete ID checks.
Then an advertisement for the property will be placed on social media with an option of online viewings made available for interested would-be buyers.
Haart says its own agents will then be “calling out our database of hungry buyers to talk to them about your home.”
You can see the idea promoted on Haart’s website here.