Why it takes much more than Rightmove and Zoopla to sell a home

Buyers are hiding. Long gone are the days of simply slinging a property on Rightmove, keeping your fingers crossed and let the leads come in.

With so much information out there online, whether it be floorplans, numerous photographs or a full virtual tour, prospective purchasers sometimes feel they don’t need to engage with estate agents, as they have arguably been given too much information up front.

If one can ‘virtually’ view a property, why bother leaving the comforts of your screen to ‘physically’ view?

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Nowadays enticing buyers away from their screens needs to be done from a variety of angles. Of course, being mindful of what information you are putting out online in the first instance is one of them.

Alex GoldsteinAlex Goldstein
Alex Goldstein

There is a proportion of estate agents who have forgotten that their database is key and some don’t even run one nowadays, as they simply rely on the web portals, which is a dangerous step if you ask me.

The more proactive estate agents are starting to see that whilst technology is useful in disseminating information, it also has its drawbacks as it can limit how buyers engage with you.

These agents see that their buyer databases are vital and they proactively and regularly go through them, not by sending out mass volume emails asking buyers to update their criteria, but by directly calling or meeting them.

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This is all about more of a personal touch, building rapport and getting those little trinkets of information that could prove so useful for when a buyer makes the decision to offer. It also enhances trust between agent and buyer.

A proportion of these agents are going one step further, by luring buyers away from Rightmove and OnTheMarket and back onto their own websites, where they can monitor, engage and evaluate buyers.

They do this via a "private listings” section on their website, where you have to be fully vetted by the agent before having access.

Everything but everything is about one’s network but equally how you know them. Sourcing previously unknown buyers and wooing them, is one of the big advantages of social media, however this has to be balanced with how much information the agent is putting out there and the digital footprint.

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Whether it is on social media or real-terms networking, it is about the connections behind each agent or company, which can prove to be useful.

Who do they know and if they don’t know them, are they well enough connected to be introduced.

One connection of mine in a small private group asked if anyone knew Star Wars director George Lucas. Many scorned him for such a preposterous request, yet someone in the group personally knew George.

In order to be the connector of people, some agents are concierge service orientated. I am often asked about who I know and with zero referral fees I am unbiased.

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Estate agency evolves but it always comes back to people. The great estate agents are well networked. Alex Goldstein is an independent property consultant in Yorkshire and London, www.alexgoldstein.co.uk, 01423 788377