Reassuringly Ignorant

I bet only a few estate agents have sold their own home more than five times.

Indeed quite a number have never owned a property, live in rented accommodation and therefore have never personally been through the buying process… or selling for that matter. How about you, how many times have you bought and sold? And what does that tell you?

According to the Land Registry, people own their home for between 16-22 years depending on which part of the country they live in. On that basis, whilst people might move more often, they only sell a property three times on average in their lifetime, four if you count their probate sale. And I think EAs don’t appreciate this enough and presume that because of the information available on house prices, crime rates, transport links, schools and just about everything else the internet offers within a few clicks, that people are experts – and they might be to the extent they’re knowledgeable but that doesn’t mean they’re experienced and certainly not wise.

Do you think that the average home owner is aware that roughly half of all properties put up for sale don’t sell within 12 months? Do they know that 20-30% of all offers accepted don’t proceed to exchange of contracts and completion? Do they appreciate that many asking prices are not achieved and that often prices get adjusted after the deal is concluded? I suggest the average homeowner is ignorant to all these facts and therefore runs the risk of being blind to the pitfalls of moving and doesn’t appreciate how valuable it is to have an expert guiding hand, i.e. an experienced, authoritative and trustworthy estate agent. And who’s to blame for this ignorance? Is it the customer’s fault that she doesn’t know of the complexities of moving home?

It strikes me that many EAs need to communicate far more effectively what they actually do for their clients. They need to make the invisible, visible. To highlight the issues, challenges and problems of moving and how these can’t be magic’d away but can be anticipated, managed and dealt with. And by doing so it will highlight why you’re more expensive than the others – “reassuringly expensive” I think it’s called.

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