A recent GetAgent study discusses the benefits of selecting an agent located close to the property you wish to sell. The study analysed the effectiveness of what some online agents are calling a ‘local property expert’ despite these being located up to ten times further away than some traditional high street agents. GetAgent explains, what isn’t clear is what actually constitutes a ‘local’ estate agent and how they go about deciding how ‘local’ they should be, so they decided to explore this further. Following the success of their previous research, they felt it was also necessary to look at the differences between high street estate agents and online estate agents. The reason for this is that time and time again something that comes up is the opinion that a successful estate agent is one that has local knowledge.
What are the results from Doncaster?
Certainly at Galley Properties the results confirm that by being local they are able to use their expert knowledge to secure sales at outstanding market prices and all within a good time frame. Being based in Balby they have been able to secure a significant number of excellent results within this area of Doncaster, in fact they are the number one sales agent for Balby in the past 12 months (1st September 2017 – 31st August 2018). During this time they have sold more properties in this area than any other agent. Also over the past year the average sales prices at Galley Properties has been over 97% of the asking price.
When explaining why Galley Properties perform so well Tashana Jackson says: “being based in Balby means we have a rich understanding of this area. We can advise vendors how to best market their properties and also highlight all the amazing things this part of Doncaster has to offer to any potential buyers. Several of our staff live in this area and this means their local knowledge is unparalleled.” This is not to say that Galley Properties don’t perform well for sales in other parts of Doncaster, or further afield. For several years their average sales time has been more than twice as fast as the Doncaster average. But the results they are seeing in Doncaster confirm what the GetAgent study highlights, which is that local knowledge can play a huge part in the success of a property sale.
Who are GetAgent?
GetAgent is the estate agent comparison website. They use historical sales data to help vendors find the best estate agents for them and they work with over 5,500 of the best performing estate agents in the UK. They are a data driven business with access to a number of property sources. As such, they were able to analyse over 14,000 estate agency branches and all estate agent property listings (over 1 million in total) over a 6 month period from January 2017 – July 2017. For this study they also spoke to a range of estate agents to find out what they think.
How local is local?
In order to understand what is meant by ‘local’, GetAgent analysed the median distance from branch to listing for over 14,000 estate agency branches. The analysis showed that one group of branches had a median distance to their listings of just over 1km while another with the furthest distance from their properties stood at a median distance of just over 3.5km. Overall on average, the results showed that properties are around 3km away from the estate agency branches they are listed with.
Is local knowledge important?
To understand how important locality is GetAgent spoke to a number of estate agents, both corporate and independent. What all the high street estate agents they spoke to have in common is that they see their local knowledge and their local database as a key factor to their success.
Galley Properties confirm this, Teresa Galley explains “a successful sale is dependent on a number of key factors. Some of the most important are how to market a property at its best, how to price it correctly and how to best communicate the positives to buyers on viewings. I believe that a local agent who knows an area inside and out will be able to use their insight into the local area to present a property at its best. It’s certainly something we do at Galley Properties, we tailor each and every listing to suit a property and its audience of potential buyers. An outside agent with very little local knowledge will probably list a property based on the basics, and that will not grab the imagination of a buyer. Pricing has become more and more important since the market downturn in 2008. A property priced too high will turn buyers away and a property priced too low will lose a vendor potentially thousands of pounds. I can’t stress enough how local knowledge of the facts and figures of how the market is performing in a particular area is key to pricing a property correctly. Finally when you have generated a lot of interest in a property how you communicate all the positives on viewings is important. Some agents use what are referred to as ‘door openers’ who simply are present for a viewing. At Galley Properties when our agents show a buyer around a home they will be keen to tell them all about the positives including the local area. Without the detailed local knowledge they simply would not be able to do this.”
How do the online local property experts compare?
GetAgent explains that online estate agents do things a little differently to high street estate agents. Firstly, they do not have a branch, a cost saving approach which allows them to sometimes offer customers a cheaper (albeit often upfront) fee. It’s worth noting that some excellent high street agents fees are comparable to that of online agents. The first difference is that they have what they call Local Property Experts (LPEs) who manage listings from home. Secondly, rather than expanding a business from one set location, what determines the area they cover is the leads that are generated from the main website. As such, they often pick up listings from a wider catchment area than high street estate agents.
GetAgent analysed the average distance between two Purplebricks property listings (one of the UKs largest online agents) and looked at how this compares to a high street agent. On average the distance between two Purplebricks listings covered by the same LPE is 10km. 10km is a much larger distance compared to the median distance between the high street branches and their listings. 10km is the average distance between two Purplebricks properties. Research shows that each Purplebrick’s LPE has taken on substantially more properties than the average high street estate agent. So this means Purplebricks have further to travel between properties AND more properties to visit. Purplebricks LPEs listed 90 properties on the main portals, compared to the average high street branch which was 45 listings (analysis of a 6 month period January 2017 – July 2017).
Stewart Craven who heads up the marketing and data analysis at Galley properties comments: “I’m sure most vendors would make the fair assumption that if one person is claiming to be an ‘expert’ in several wide reaching areas their knowledge of each area could be diluted. Also because an online LPE may be juggling a larger number of properties they understandably will have less time to concentrate on each customer. A diluted knowledge and less time could result in a poor quality service. I would recommend that people looking to sell consider all these details rather than be lured in by a glossy sales pitch an online agent.”
Get Agent explains that the nation is often quick to criticise estate agents but their experiences have been quite different. Discussing the importance of being local with estate agents showed there is in fact a softer side to them. It demonstrated how proud and passionate they are about the neighbourhood they live and work in, not just about the properties they are wanting to sell.
Nicola Place from Galley Properties says “I simply love being part of someone moving journey. Helping someone find their dream home is a great feeling and I judge our success based on the hundreds of happy customers we have had. I am proud of the fact that over the past few years I feel like I have really helped many families with their move. Family is important to me and helping a happy family move to their wonderful new home makes me very proud of the great job we do at Galley Properties.”
GetAgent finishes their study by saying that they think it’s safe to say that the research has made them question whether the online agent’s Local Property Experts can really call themselves ‘local’, in particular with regards to PurpleBricks. They point to a programme by BBC Watchdog which recently covered Purplebricks following a number of complaints against them. Steph McGovern spoke with one disappointed Purplebricks customer, he lived in South London but found out his LPE lived 30 miles away from the house he was selling. Purplebricks are on a drive to recruit more LPEs so this may be a short term issue but GetAgent question if they really expect customers to deal with the consequences in the meantime? They wonder if we seeing another company expand too quickly, forgetting that the service they offer to customers is key to long term sustainable growth.
If you want to know why expert local knowledge could help your sale why not give Galley Properties a call.
For a friendly no obligation chat about your property sale why not speak to one of the team at Galley Properties. Not only do they perform well when selling properties in Balby but their results are outstanding for all areas of Doncaster. Call 01302570470 to speak to one of the team.