Buy to net an ad­van­tage

Bring­ing trans­parency to the prop­erty sell­ing game is the prin­ci­ple be­hind a new on­line ser­vice, writes An­thony Har­ring­ton

The Herald Business - - Property -

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

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