Buy to net an advantage
Bringing transparency to the property selling game is the principle behind a new online service, writes Anthony Harrington
IN TODAY’S brisk property market, the gap between putting a property on the market and concluding a sale has become vanishingly small for many sellers. However, as every estate agent knows, the property market has its cycles and it will not be a seller’s market forever.
As a seller, there is nothing worse than waiting week after week while a property goes unsold. The question “What is the agent doing?” gains a real urgency and the opacity of the sales process can generate considerable frustration for the seller.
To bring transparency to the selling process, Clyde, Scotland’s largest independent estate agency, has introduced a new, web-based service for sellers.
For the last month new customers selling their homes through Clyde have been able to view their “property file” 24 hours a day via the internet, using a secure password. Clyde staff have all gone through rigorous training to ensure that every activity in relation to the property, such as viewers phoning up to request an appointment, and follow ups by staff to ascertain viewer reaction, are all entered into the file.
“The new development will allow our customers to monitor everything we do on their behalf, and we are the only estate agency in the country to offer this,” said Clyde chairman Bill Cullens.
“We recognise and fully understand how stressful moving house can be. Giving customers their own property file removes uncertainty about what we do on a day to day basis.”
Michael Luck, managing director at estate agent Slater Hogg & Howison, said that the idea of giving the client constant access to the client property f ile was “a new and interesting” development. “Anything which assists that communication is valuable, of course, and the idea of instant web access is appealing. But I would not want it to be used somehow as a substitute for personal contact,” he said.
Luck points out that with many clients spending hundreds of pounds on newspaper advertising as part of the effort to sell their homes, client interest in being kept informed about the sales process is very high.
“Right now the property market in Scotland is what one might call “patchy”. Sellers expectations are still very high, and in some geographic areas those expectations are being realised, but in others sellers might be struggling to achieve those values,” he says.
Nevertheless, Luck believes that the property market in Scotland is unlikely to crash in the foreseeable future. “The underlying love of property is ingrained in the UK. Then too, we have a new generation of property buyers in their mid thirties, who have never seen the property market do anything except rise. This generation simply do not remember or did not register the property crash of 1991 to 1993,” he says.
Clyde finance director Alan Burke said that the move was part of the firm’s continuing drive to change the public perception of the estate agency industry in general by keeping customers at the heart of everything it does.
The new online facility coincides with Clyde’s recent move to Craighall in Glasgow. “The technology to facilitate this initiative is there for everyone but it is time for us to show others how it can be done,” he says.
“This really does deliver real change for customers and we are in no doubt it will prove extremely popular,” adds Bill Cullens.
Plugged in: Clyde’s Alan Burke