Where Phil & Kirstie Get it Wrong

July 2015

Everyone claims to be a property expert nowadays and it is no surprise when every other television programme seems to be about property. As a nation we are obsessed!

There is a plethora of advice out there whether it be online property engines, Zoopla algorithms, newspapers, estate agents or the television. However with so much advice freely available, it often sends house sellers in to a spin as to how to best present their property and how to pick the right estate agent.

The three most prolific personalities on television when it comes to property are arguably Phil and Kirstie from Location, Location, Location and Sarah Beeny from Property Ladder. Their programmes are widely viewed and created as great entertainment. However there are two areas of their advice, which don’t work in the real world of buying and selling property.

1) House Presentation

The personalities often advise to clear the decks. Remove all personal possessions, family photographs, large items of furniture and paint the walls white. However they have missed why a purchaser buys a property – emotion.

Buying a house is one of the rare, if not the only emotional purchase we make in life. For example, if we take the presenters advice and showcase a property along these stark lines, very quickly it will feel like a sterile hospital environment, with little character on show.

Then ask yourself – who likes going to hospital?

The answer is of course nobody, so why present your house like one!

Purchasers fall in love with a property and they are buying in to a lifestyle choice. If you remove all that is important when it comes to the emotional part of a purchase, your sale is likely to fail.

2) Which Estate Agent to Instruct?

With all the current PR battles between Rightmove, Zoopla and On The Market, Phil and Kirstie recently advised house sellers to appoint an estate agent with the greatest online web presence.

However, are there any estate agents out there who do not have a presence online? Very few indeed I would have thought and with Rightmove and Google performing the largest proportion of property searches, it is unlikely that any agent would not feature on at least one of both of these sites. This leads vendors straight back to the question of asking, how do you choose the right agent and what are the differences?

Personally there is one area that is often overlooked and that is – the front of house team. At the end of the day, the valuer sat in your kitchen giving you advice on the market, pricing and how his/her company can help you sell, is there to secure your instructions. Once they have done this, very often the property is passed back to the office for the next steps in the marketing process.

Valuers spend a good proportion of each working week on the road seeing properties and as a result tend to be out of the office. Therefore, it is the front of house team who are greeting walk-in enquiries, picking up the telephones or calling their top buyers to push your property sale forward.

Therefore the advice should not be about an online presence, but an office presence.

So the next time you watch one of those property programmes, just be mindful that what works on television doesn’t always translate to the real world.

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