We have asked back the renowned Independent Property Expert and commentator Ed Mead to impart some of his words of wisdom in the following Guest Blog:
When it comes to doing anything property related, unless you are fabulously rich you’ll end up having to deal face to face with estate agents, solicitors and mortgage companies. All three disciplines can be expensive, stressful and intimidating – particularly if, like many, you’ve not moved before.
Of the above three perhaps we can all learn a bit from what mortgage brokers have done. In the dim and distant past, when I started, getting a mortgage was about knowing your bank manager – and that was about it. Over the years deregulation created a huge and bewilderingly diverse mix of products that often tempted some into the lowest monthly payment product that was patently unsuitable. Objective advice was difficult to come by.
These days – because mortgage brokers are really pretty good at communicating what they do – almost 75% of mortgages are obtained with the help of an objective mortgage broker. Joe Public now knows it’s a minefield out there and knows they need their hand held. There IS an online mortgage broking threat coming down the road but I’d suggest that at best this simply delays the point at which a borrower has to pick up the phone and talk to a human being.
Residential estate agents have clearly done a terrible job of communicating what they do – a recent Rightmove survey of sellers attributing a scarcely believable £13 out of a notional £100 spend on sales progression – this should be £80. Most of an agent’s work is in pushing a deal through but clearly this is NOT what the public thinks.
If the public believe selling a property is simply about getting it on the internet then it’s seriously no surprise that some are willing to take the upfront online route. As with mortgage broking, communication needs to get personal at some point, the sooner the better, and I’m just not sure agents have got the message out yet.
How they change perceptions is open to suggestion – but the fact that property advertising is still full of post nuclear Britain photos of houses with no humans, and that marketing mostly consists of telling punters either how wonderful their company is or how cheap they are, implies it could be a time yet.