Client Best Interests, Not Property Porn
‘Client best interests’ is a phrase used throughout most business sectors, but it can be invariably thrown around like the latest government changes and policies. Sounds simple enough – look after your client, make sure they get the best result and always look out for them – easy.
However there has been and continues to be, a blurring of these lines in some quarters of the estate agency sector. This is predominantly taking place with the self-proclaimed ‘rising stars’ and ‘disruptors’ in the industry, where they are seen to be promoting their clients’ homes, but also themselves too in an unbalanced way.
Spreading digital content like digital confetti
Many of these agents are seen endorsing their clients’ homes in glamourised video shoots and indeed themselves across all the key social media platforms, on which they all vie for the highest number of view, likes and comments. They are filmed doing virtual tours throughout (of often higher value) properties, taking behind the scenes looks and spreading the subsequent digital content like confetti in a hurricane.
You may well say this is all part of the marketing of a home, but hear me out. The issue is that these agents’ followers on the most part aren’t active buyers in the market and they’re more interested in property porn! Whilst the agent ratchets sometimes up to 1m views of a video and more followers, they can’t follow up a statistic to see which of their entourage is serious about buying the property – so where is the benefit to the vendor client in trying to sell their home?
Considering the security risks
Many vendors can be caught unaware and are enticed by the high gloss Hollywood factor feel, but there is an even greater problem to all of this. With the scattered digital content, there is no control about where it goes and who sees it. As a former Royal Marine Commando who runs his own private security company that I work alongside will tell you, he can now have a full tour of the property, know which way doors open, alarm sensors, where high value items are, photographs of friends and family, cars in garages – the list goes on. Nobody knows it is him looking at the information in this way, however thankfully he is one of the good guys – but what if he wasn’t?
The problems go on further. What if the incoming purchaser of the property doesn’t want their new home emblazoned on the internet for all time? What if the property doesn’t sell first time around and the vendor needs to go in another direction?
Alternatively the agent is instructed to handle matters confidentially. They put out some photographs on their social media accounts, advising that it is still confidential as one can’t tell which house it is. However what they and the client don’t account for, is that one can scrape off the metadata (digital information hidden behind images) to see exactly where the photo was taken. Thus defeating the object of a confidential sale.
These agents have therefore done their clients a disservice and created far bigger problems than what first existed. This range of online content is out there in high definition for all to see and the only beneficiary in all of this, is the agent.
If you want my advice, keep the property porn on the top shelf and choose your agent more wisely.