…it’s worth doing it well.
Unlike some “High Street” estate agencies, I don’t have a particular problem with the existence of “online” agents (ie those that don’t appear to have an office you can visit, but who rely entirely on the internet to conduct their business; the ones who make the vendor do all the running around, usually demanding an upfront fee from them for the privilege, but – in fairness – who generally charge less at the end if a sale actually happens).
It was in this spirit that I sent a friendly tweet to Ms Sarah Beeny and her company Tepilo the other day:
“One of the three properties you’re advertising in Bristol has now sold; the sale completed nearly three months ago”, I chirped.
The property concerned is marked by them as “Under Offer”. This is a little misleading, I would have thought, as it suggests there is a chance the sale might yet fall through. Potential buyers might be keeping a keen eye on the house in the hope that they will get an opportunity to buy.
But they won’t get that chance. I know that the sale completed some while ago (25th July, I believe) because the new owners have refurbished the property and rented it out through us. I’m not sure the tenants, who have been there for nearly two months, will be too pleased to have potential home-buyers cruising past their front windows!
As neither Ms Beeny (she is very busy being someone who works in the television industry, I guess, so perhaps doesn’t have time to take a personal interest in her business) nor her company, have deigned to reply or change their website, I am left with the conclusion that they don’t care.
Naturally, then, I ponder on whether they might also not care that they have advertised the property as having a “sunny” rear garden. In truth, it faces north-east which, in my opinion, is just about as “unsunny” as you can get. They possibly don’t also care that their description of the house being in a “private” cul-de-sac is also a little misleading. I don’t know about you, but I think of “private” cul-de-sacs as being gated communities, or roads not adopted by the local council, or somewhere the residents have a committee to decide on how much to spend on the croquet lawn this year … that sort of thing. With the best will in the World, this house is not situated in one of those.
I wonder if an online agent can possibly give as much attention to detail when providing information about properties right across the country. After all, they can’t possibly be expected to know every nuance of every neighbourhood in every postcode district.
And I also wonder if their client vendors are made aware that providing misinformation, or – conversely – not providing certain information, could, under current legislation, land them facing a court case and a hefty fine.
As a result I have redefined my view of online agents.
I do think there’s a place for them. There will always be people who want to sell their home without using a traditional estate agent (“I saved myself thousands, etc”), and if someone else can make some money out of them, well… why not?
But there’s only a place for them if they do the job properly and get their facts right. And that’s not always easy.
Mind you, deleting a property from your website that was sold several months ago? That’s not that hard, surely?<