Deciphering Estate Agent Speak

Today sees the launch of On The Market, the new property portal run by Agents’ Mutual, which is made up of a membership of over 2,000 estate agency firms.

What this means for sellers is that they will have to decide which of the main portals they want their estate agent to have presence on as many will make the choice between Rightmove and On the Market versus Prime Location or Zoopla.

We understand from our contacts that most of the larger well known estate agents will remain on Rightmove as it is the market leader, ranked 8th in the list of the most viewed websites in the UK and noted by Google as the most ‘searched for’ business in the UK, well ahead of Zoopla at 35th and PrimeLocation at 120th.

What the new property website means for buyers is that you have another portal to visit when perusing online so theoretically, buyers and sellers will have more choice. Plus, On The Market promise to present the site in an uncluttered way with no pop-ups or third party advertising, so it should be a better end user experience.

On the subject of property portals, you don’t have to dig deep, especially in our line of work, to find people who admit at dinner parties they have a secret – yep you’ve guessed it – they love a bit of late night ‘property porn’.

With 69.7 million Rightmove visitors in January 2014 alone, its a very popular hobby. Whether people are looking to see if they can unearth that gem ‘renovation’ project or for the next house and are watching the local market closely, we are all becoming armchair experts.

But it is worth bearing in mind, that things are not always everything they seem. I remember from personal experience traipsing from London to the most beautiful looking house online, full of excitement only to find that the ‘close to transport links’ should have read ‘on a busy main road, where you cannot hear each other speak if in the garden.’

Pictures give you an idea of what to expect from the property but clever photography can make a semi appear detached at first glance, a small garden can appear sweeping and we’ve seen large detached houses that on visitation are surprisingly snug to their neighbours on either side. Also be mindful of ‘Estate Agent speak’. The Sunday Times ran a great ‘jargon buster’ piece a while back some of our favourites were:
Potential to reconfigure – the interior is a total mess
Breaktaking views – it’s on a hill
Stunning elevated position – it’s on a very steep hill
Impressive – they are pushing it with the price
Immaculately presented – no belongings, no kids, no personality. Once you move in, it won’t look like this.

When looking for a property on behalf of a client we always go straight to the floor plan, as it can tell you a lot more about the size and scope of the building itself. It is also always worth phoning the Estate Agent directly, to ask the person in the office that has actually been to the property, for some of the home truths.

So enjoy your secret hobby but just be conscious that the house itself might not be all it seemed online…