When you put it like that how on earth can Estate Agents justify their commission? It’s the age old question that Online Agents will argue with the more traditional Estate Agents forever.
There was a time (before the internet) that putting a board up and one photograph of the outside of the property in your shop window was an accepted marketing strategy for property.
But times change, marketing tools and people's expectations change and Estate Agency is traditionally very slow to adapt. The invention of the property portals and the demise of print has not been terribly positive for vendors trying to get their homes out to as many potential buyers as you may think. This is largely because Estate Agents are simply resting on their laurels once the property goes live on the internet rather than continuing to actively market them.
Also, with the rise of online agents offering exactly the same service (in people’s perception) for a fraction of the cost it’s little wonder your traditional estate agent has had a tough time and a bad press in recent years.
The strategy that many estate agents have relied on in recent years is to invest in their own marketing and their brand. The targets that are set by the head offices is to get as many boards up as possible, the mantra repeated throughout estate agency branches across the land is “BOARDS BREED BUSINESS” get them out there.
Now, it might seem a little odd for someone that bangs on about marketing and delights in our artist designed boards to say this is the wrong approach, but it is, a good estate agents main focus should be to sell your home, agents focused on new instructions are missing the point.
Boards do indeed breed business, this is why estate agents invest so much in their branding and getting their boards to shout out their brands, they aren’t advertising your home, they are advertising the Estate Agent.
It’s something that has never sat well with me, and when I looked at launching Saxon Shore I wanted something that would advertise the home and look beautiful outside it. You will notice the contact details on our boards are very small, this was deliberate, and I got a lot of stick from fellow marketeers as it completely contradicts the purpose they were designed for.
However, it worked, people liked the idea of having something beautiful and different outside their homes, they grabbed people’s attention and imagination in a non “shouty” way and they did breed business for us, as we quickly became Faversham’s top selling estate agent.
But that isn’t the end of the story, our marketing is focused on our properties, professional photography, video tours, dedicated marketing strategies. This is backed up by outstanding customer service and really getting to know our vendors, buyers and people in the local and wider community both on and off-line. We are approachable and adaptable, and it’s this that makes us different and ultimately successful, even in a falling market.
So, when it comes to selling your house, compare fees and consider what you are getting for your money. Are you paying upfront to effectively just list your home? Are you paying commission and for what? Is the money re-invested in costly rebrands and expensive literature that is delivered trough your door? Is your fee being used to actively market your home to potential buyers?
And if in doubt, try this, think of which estate agent has the most boards in your local area? Then think again, which estate agent has the most SOLD boards in your area and are they the same? If not it’s very likely that the estate agent with the most boards is more focused on getting new instructions than they are on selling your home.