Posts Tagged ‘estate agents

I was just reading this blog from Transforming Decor that tells us that 90 per cent of home buyers look online to find the home they want.  This is a US statistic, but I bet the UK are not far behind.

Image from reckon, much as we love to look at the papers to see what houses are going for in our area, or to have a ‘wishful thinking’ moment, most of us who are serious about buying go to one of the major websites, such as Rightmove, Zoopla or Primelocation.  As it happens, Rightmove have been the best ones for us, though I gather that Zoopla is good for finding homes being sold privately or by auction, and Primelocation is great for London buyers.  Newspaper marketing is more to give agents visibility for people who might put their house on the market.

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What does this mean for us? Well, when we chose our agent we made sure they felt the same way as we did about this; indeed, we were online before we were in print.

Image from www.primelocation.comHowever, you can never be sure.  Your buyer might just be an empty nester who doesn’t believe in computers, for instance.  So we’ve been regularly in the papers too.

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But I have to say, I wish there was a house-selling equivalent of online dating.  You get matched up to your ideal buyer, you see if you get on, and if not, you get matched up to the next one.  The current system is similar, but wouldn’t it be great to have such a service?

Especially if they give you your money back if they don’t get you a buyer within 3 months…


We’re planning on getting our house on the market within the next seven days or so.  Yes, things are hotting up.

renjith krishnan /

Swap the dollar sign for a £ and this seems fairly accurate right now

We can play it several ways.

Option one is the least hassle: don’t do anything differently to normal. We did this in the last house, but then that was a part exchange so there was less urgency to ensure the house would actually sell. One advantage of buying a new build I suppose.

Option two is the most hassle: you make the place look like a showhome. Fresh paintwork on all the walls, a kitchen you could find on the pages of an interiors magazine, the latest style of wallpaper and flooring..  This tends to ensure a quick sale and was the basis of all those House Doctor TV programmes.

Unfortunately everyone has seen the programmes and everyone seems to have identikit trendy show houses when selling these days.

This could be a problem in our case since we don’t do trendy wallpaper and all that malarkey. But with everyone else doing it and living in an area where people tend to like that style, it’s hard to tell how well option three will be received.

Yes, unsurprisingly our plan is somewhere in the middle. We don’t want to start faffing around with builders when there’s every chance the person considering buying the property would do it differently. We could follow the herd and go down the trendy route, but I can’t bring myself to spend so much time and money only to hate the end result.

Which means that option three is basic maintenance and tidying the house to within an inch of its life… In itself quite a feat when there’s three children and two messy adults to take into account.

I’ll be blitzing it from top to bottom in the next couple of days. Woe betide a child who so much as breathes in the house once it’s clean.

Filomena Scalise /

I admit, the internet is a wonderful thing.  Particularly when you are looking for houses to live in but you are based an hour and a half away from the area you are looking at.

Estate agents have – mostly – picked up on this.  You can Google properties anywhere in the world, and agent websites are bursting at the seams with photos, floor plans and more.

(I checked out, however, and it would appear there are still some agents out there who don’t have a website.  How they are still in business is anybody’s guess.)

So I spend a considerable amount of time most days trying to spot properties that might work for us.  We started a few weeks ago using Google to help us find stuff.  This was great to start us off.

Then we discovered that three quarters of agencies that advertise on Google are just hopeless.  Mainly because they go via an intermediate site called Netmovers, which is simply not worth even one click.  You can’t get the agent’s details, and if you request more information or a viewing your email goes to the middle of nowhere and your phone call goes to someone who has no idea about anything.

Even more annoying is the fact that Google, in spite of being the most comprehensive search engine, only has about five or ten percent of all property available.   So using it as a main tool really wasn’t working.

This means that you have to go through individual agency websites.  Some have pretty displays.  Some have impressive search engines.  Some have neither but have loads of worthwhile properties.

So you spend HOURS trawling through all these sites.  You select several properties.  You then dismiss all the properties because it turns out that ‘panoramic views’ translates as ‘dodgy area on a hill’, or ‘four bedrooms’ means there’s three bedrooms upstairs and a dining room you might just be able to use as a bedroom downstairs, as long as you don’t mind having nowhere to eat.  ‘Close to station’ means up to three miles away from the station concerned.  ‘Easy access to motorway’ means that the moment you open the back door you are bombarded with the sound of cars passing behind your back garden at seventy miles per hour.

I could go on.

So once your rose-tinted spectacles have been replaced with harsh reality and you still have some properties that look interesting, you contact the agent to try and get some viewings in.  You say you are free on X day at X time (several days in the future in our case), could they arrange it?

To be fair, the good agents do exactly this.  And send full details to you.

The lesser agents (but the ones with more properties to view) will not.  They somehow don’t check their email.  Or they come back asking for a different time, totally failing to understand that you are out of area.

So it’s hardly surprising that out of the hundreds of houses we’ve looked at over the last few weeks, we’ve only managed to see seven.  Of which only one turned out to be truthful to the description on the net.


Smallest one in the early days

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