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JONATHAN ROLANDE: What a bar of chocolate can teach us about estate agency

I bought a bar of chocolate today, I shouldn’t have done it but the weather was grey and I was in need of a boost. On the back is, not surprisingly, a long list of ingredients: sugar, milk, butter, cocoa and six others, none of which interest me.

But to someone who can’t consume eggs, gluten, peanuts or milk, the information that the innocent bar contains such dangers could be a lifesaver. In other words, what is important to them is not important to me, but the information is there nonetheless.

It’s one way for us agents to think about the recent material information legislation. If you heard about it coming into force and sighed at yet more rules to slow us down and stop us from actually doing our jobs, well, you wouldn’t have been alone. But now that the dust has settled, we can think again. Is it just a waste of our time?


I’d argue not.

What is clear is that more work is needed upfront to find out key information about the property we’re selling. This is time-consuming and very visible – something we now have to do that we didn’t before.

But what is not visible is the time it will save. Fewer wasted applicant enquiries, viewings of unsuitable property, and, most importantly, fewer fall-throughs. With so much information available at the outset, buyers have far fewer reasons or excuses to pull the plug. As I have written here before, a lost sale is the very worst outcome for everybody and often leads to dis-instruction—a lose/lose situation.

By providing the information that affects a buying decision we are in effect, listing the ingredients of the property.

It will be too much information for some – a tough investor really won’t care about the local phone signal, but a work-from-home first timer likely will. Better they know at the earliest stage than six weeks in.

We’ll all grumble about it for a while longer I’m sure. Just like we did about EPC’s, MLR changes and HIPs – remember them?

But in the end, it means we’ll be offering a better service to buyers and sellers will be protected from more last minute hitches.

So let’s embrace them or at least, grin and bear it – it’s a good thing, really.


  • Shaun Adams

    Well said Jon, for four years now we have been providing lots of upfront info and also the Pre-Contract pack with Supporting Documents to buyers to check before they make an offer. Preparing information before a sale is agreed shaves many weeks off the sale time. A potential buyer reading all the information about the property means nothing is hidden that could put them off at a later date. Transparency is much smarter for all.

  • Jonathan Rolande

    Thanks Shaun, I know you've had great success with the pre-contract pack. Getting everything ready early saves a lot of hassle and lost revenue too.

    Shaun Adams

    100% in theory agents could stop most enquiries with a full pack.


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