Don’t depend on portals, some of the best homes are sold discreetly

Edward Hartshorne, managing director of Blenkin and Co., York
Edward Hartshorne, managing director of Blenkin and Co., York
Have your say

Edward Hartshorne

MD of Blenkin and Co.

I’m not the first to point out that some estate agents have become lazy, too willing to let the portals do the job. This abdication of responsibility may well be the intended strategy of certain portals whose rise to power has been stoked by agents’ growing dependency on them. Rightmove’s extortionate pricing scheme and onerous contracts may have compromised agents’ own obligations to act in their clients’ best interests.

Although most of us fight to prevent clients being short changed, there are others who have built their fragile business entirely upon dependency on Rightmove and Zoopla. These agents simply cross their fingers, sit back and hope for the best.

I firmly believe that a significant number of agents will end their association with Rightmove in the medium term. I can certainly confirm that it is part of the Blenkin & Co. plan. A more competitive online market will flourish if Rightmove’s push for a monopoly position is curbed by legal restraint. Agent-backed OnTheMarket is now attracting record levels of traffic to its site with a first-class service at fair prices.

Dependency upon the portals never pays off. As an agent who handles properties of significant value we are aware of the need for a flexible and nuanced approach.

This enables us to tailor our service to the needs of the customer. Property sales are rarely simple, and marketing strategy has to interpret and resolve difficulties to get the sale over the line.

Private marketing is one option open to estate agents, particularly at the higher end of the market. Owners of million pound plus houses are devotees of this discreet method. It makes buyers feel valued and enables sellers to avoid revealing the inner sanctuary of their houses to inquisitive neighbours. Few want to share the contents of their bedroom with a casual browser.

In short, it gives more control. Most serious buyers at the upper price range make themselves known to us and we talk them through the benefits of properties we market privately.

The directness of this traditional method of communication becomes apparent in the rate of successful sales that ensue. No clever algorithm can make up for the human need to talk and the impact of persuasion and negotiation.

Examples of recent private marketing success range from a cottage in Nun Monkton to a country house with land in the Howardian Hills. One of the stand-out country houses with a state-of-the-art equestrian facility in the North Yorkshireheartlands is currently being marketed privately by us.

Today we are giving The Yorkshire Post an exclusive opportunity to feature a remarkable property for sale, one that is not being promoted via the usual online channels – or at least not yet. Elphin House is almost certainly the best village house in North Yorkshire, enjoying a prime position in a picture postcard village with a garden designed by a three-time Gold medal winner at Chelsea and a far-reaching view to make the spirits soar.

We value the Yorkshire Post reader. We also recognise the power of an unforeseen discovery made whilst scanning the pages of the newspaper with a Saturday morning coffee in hand; we hear the conversation that ensues as the excitement is shared with friends and family. If you are interested in finding out more about Elphin House, as advertised opposite, call 07768 182162.