Cast your minds back to the summer of 2014. It’s 9.55 am somewhere in east London ‘Sorry I’m late’ offers the young underprepared estate agent as he crosses the street weaving between 30 to 35 people who have turned up to see a nondescript two-bedroom mid-terrace for the advertised 10 am viewing.
‘Are you going to let these all in at the same time?’ proffers the owner of the property as the first viewer crosses the threshold without any interest in the remonstration of the vendor with no attempt to wipe their feet.
The open house is born.
Roll on to the summer of 2016. The same sort of stage…only its 9.40 am and there are three members of the instructed agent’s sales team welcoming the first of the 40 -50 prospective purchasers with a smile, knowledgeable repartee and a brochure with great photos and floorplans.
An eclectic group of people ranging from the resurgent first-time buyer through to the would-be property magnate jostle for position with purposeful gait…
‘I would like to make an offer …who do I need to speak to?’
November 2018…the scene is set. 1 Acacia Avenue…priced sensibly, great kerb appeal. ‘Let’s review the numbers people, how many viewers we got for Saturday?’
‘2 ! Where has the buy-to-let fraternity gone?’
‘Stamp duty killed that avenue.’
‘Where has the Eastern European builder gone?’
‘Worried about Brexit or building a house on the outskirts of Warsaw with the well-deserved profits from the sale of the house in East London that they bought in 2011.’
‘Where are the first-time buyers?’
‘There are two booked in …I phoned them and sold them the idea of viewing!’
‘You did what ?’
The first-time buyer is at the front of 1 Acacia Avenue… ‘where is everyone?’ he thinks… usually the cocky agent is here avec patronising and condescending repartee, with 50-odd individuals jostling for position in the two in, two out game.
Cocky agent is now not so cocky. He’s got two viewings and one of them utters the words that are incomprehensible: ‘this has been on the market for two weeks, why hasn’t it sold?’ the agent doesn’t know what to say.
A lightning bolt-style realisation of biblical magnitude ensues. This is the death knell of the ‘open house viewing’, the block viewing is dead, long live the viewing.
Enter stage right the traditional independent agent, pro-actively promoting their latest listings with knowledge attained from years of working within the local area. No sale no fee, a branch network offering from the corporates, an insightful up-to-date input from the local independent agent.
Surely these are the people to turn to in an uncertain market?
In summary, the days of listing a property on the main portals and expecting the right result within a week or two are over. Selling a property is a skill and an art form that encapsulates the full spectrum of emotion, tenacity, perseverance. Skillsets and old-fashioned hard work.
Good agents with an authentic proposition can harness all the skills required in a business that’s all about people and also about technology, they go hand-in-hand.
The business of selling a property is relatively simple on the face of it, only complicated by the essential core elements…people!
There is nothing more complicated than people, but the more you can assist and show willing to help with true interest and desire to assist, the less complicated they become.
An estate agent is responsible for assisting in a process that in some instances takes up to six months (or even longer) and is often cited as one of the most stressful experiences in a person’s lifetime.
The question is a simple one…’should choosing an estate agent be considered on many levels and not the traditional method of fee v price?’
Good service offers the opportunity to tackle problems and overcome hurdles.
Does good service come at a price? The answer is unequivocally yes.
Can the online agents, or the desperate agents looking to hit targets by taking on overpriced property at low fees offer the service in a market that is now changing into the buyer’s favour with the uncertainty of the economic horizon? The answer suggests no.
The market we are about to be thrown into, (or already in) with the advent of Brexit and the slowing of the economy, will see the good prevail and the average or poor struggle through excuse, denial and the inability to roll with the punches.
The agent you may look to for assistance must at least relevant and reliable and at best be completely responsible and just maybe…remarkable.
*Mark Harris is managing director at Ramsey Moore estate agents