There is no denying Estate Agency has changed dramatically over recent years particularly with the introduction of the property portals such as Rightmove. For Maisie, who has recently joined our team it’s hard to imagine how you would be an estate agent in the days before the Internet.
So, as today is Show And Tell At Work Day we thought we would delve into our archives and explain how it was in the days before the World Wide Web.
Firstly, your estate agent had to really be a “local property expert” and know the area you covered, local knowledge was key.
The business of valuing houses and getting them onto the market was very different to these days where you can get comparable prices at the click of a mouse.
In the days before Rightmove it was a much more complicated (and laborious business). The first place to check for house prices in the area was the comparable drawer/book. Estate agents keep details of every transaction they had made, and recorded the sale price for future reference. Next you would pick up a copy of the local newspapers to check to see if your competitors had any similar properties on the market and what price they were being marketed at. Then, you would consider the local market and wider national outlook and then come up with a price which was much more subjective than it is these days.
Once the vendor was happy with the price the business of marketing the property begins. Firstly all of the rooms and outside space would be measured by hand using a tape measure, features recorded in a notepad and a couple of photo’s taken of the outside of the house only.
Return to the office to get the details typed up on the office typewriter. Then off to your local photography shop to get your photographs developed via the overnight service. Cue a nervous night, hoping that the photo’s you had taken had come out OK otherwise you would have to return to the property and take some more until you had a suitable photograph, unless you worked for a thoroughly progressive agency that had embraced technology and invested in a polaroid camera which would speed up the process with instant photographs.
The photo would be glued to the typewritten details, and photocopied for perspective buyers, the original displayed in your shop window.
Finally the process of ringing around potential buyers to tell them of the property and, if interested, posting details out and finally booking in viewings.
Buyers themselves also had to do a lot more legwork, by going around to all of the estate agents in their chosen area and registering their interest in the type of property they were looking to buy.
When you think that Rightmove only launched in 2000, Estate Agency has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades and revolutionised the way we buy and sell houses. Whilst vendors now have many more options when it comes to selling, particularly with the introduction of Online agents and estate agents have a much wider reach than just their database of potential buyers, with many forgoing having their traditional shop window one thing remains the same, you cannot replace good local knowledge.