I work alongside a fair few estate agents and having been in the industry myself for a couple of years, I totally understand the holy grail of trying to acquire listings.

If you operate a no sale no fee model, you have to get vendors selling homes and then hoping that they pick you and not a cheaper online rival or the 8 other agents clustered in close proximity.

You can’t turn around to your office staff, or email Rightmove, Zoopla and Metropix, and say “Look I know this is inconvenient but we have had four valuation requests this past month and just one went with us, which should net us £2500 in 12 weeks all being well. Are you all ok with me not paying you?”

No.

You can’t and wouldn’t want to, because if and when the market improves, you’ll need those portals and your team to cope with the upturn in demand.

I explain this to estate agents I blog for: offering me a free EPC, a £250 selling fee or no sale, no fee at 1% won’t remotely tempt me into allowing your silent sentry of the For Sale board on to my meagre front lawn, because at this moment in time, I don’t want to move.

Same with your leaflets.

Your social media sponsored posts.

If I don’t want to move, others won’t either.

And this means inertia and empty pockets for estate agents up and down the country.

People used to move every 7 years on average, and 4 on new estates, but I’ve noticed on the development we bought on that there’s been no property up for sale in 2 years – properties to let yes, for sale, no.

Norfolk is not atypical either.

The only movement in the market it seems to me from discussions and my own daily portal perusals is with new builds.

First time buyers have almost disappeared and with that, there is no consequent upward demand from those FTBs who would want to upsize in 4 or 7 years.

Starter homes are being pocketed by investors with a 25 year strategy of holding on to their investment.

If that £100,000 two bedroomed terraced home is being bagged by landlords, not young buyers, then the demand for £150,000 homes reduces and we’ve ended up in a state of stasis.

No matter what agents may say, the market to me seems deader than a dodo.

I remember in 2010, the election uncertainty was blamed and for the past two years, Brexit, but I think the market has been declining for many years and these are just factors to peg a slowdown on.

I might be wrong, of course.

But I’d argue that what you need to do is continue to work at clever marketing. That doesn’t mean offering to sell homes for peanuts – if an estate agent rocked up in a Mini and said to me “Stuart, we’ll sell this house for free, pay your conveyancing fees and removal costs,” I’d smile and say “Thanks, but I don’t want to move.”

I will eventually but not now.

When I do decide to move, I won’t pick because of price, discounts, high street location, I’ll choose on emotions – who I like and how they have made me feel.

It’s the same with any major purchase – why do I drive 57 miles to a car dealer to get the same deal and car as the one I could have got 23 miles away? It’s the people, the relationship marketing, the fact that they all connect with me on social media and engage with me.

House selling is no different.

I’ll choose based on the people, the relationship marketing, and the fact that they all connect with me on social media and constantly engage with me on LinkedIn.

People buy from people they like, and people sell with people they like.

Instead of throwing money at portals, premium listings, new office furniture, wrapped Minis and sharp suits, work instead on connecting at a human level.

Make yourself loveable – and, if that’s too difficult, at least likeable.

I can show you ways to do that too. 

Let’s talk.