Comment: How to survive in the internet age

PUBLISHED: 15:00 02 August 2017

Even high street estate agents are struggling to pay the rent, with 1 in 5 at risk of going bust

Even high street estate agents are struggling to pay the rent, with 1 in 5 at risk of going bust

This content is subject to copyright.

Estate agents and journalists have more in common than you think when it comes to trying to surviving without compromising in the digital era

London’s pie and mash shops are at risk of disappearing completely. The traditional, working-class purveyors of such gastronomic delights as jellied eels and, of course, pies and mashed potatoes, should be granted heritage status say campaigners.

Also making it on to this week’s High Street Endangered List are estate agents, with twenty per cent of them at risk of going under according to a report from accountants Moore Stephens.

Most Londoners would rather eat a jellied eel than admit to feeling sorry for estate agents, but it’s something we should all be concerned about.

Whenever Rightmove churns out another house price index with headline grabbing figures I always pick up the phone to a local agent to see if it matches what they’re seeing on the ground. More often than not, it bears little correlation to the point-something percentages the online portals claim to have been able to measure.

In fact, the proliferation of these online agencies means that it’s becoming increasingly harder to work out what a London property is actually worth. These newer indexes frequently use asking prices when collecting their data, rather than the prices properties actually sold for.

Now, that’s not to absolve some unscrupulous high street agents for their part in talking up prices in the first place. But a good agent who knows their local area will be able to price your property properly. It’s so easy to go online and see how much next door are asking for their home. As such, vendors are pitching their asking prices higher, despite the market conditions.

2017 has been an upside down year for many, many reasons. But one of the most which-parallel-universe-are-we-in-now trends has been estate agents going on the record again and again to implore people to price sensibly. Overpriced properties sitting on the market for months without selling helps no one.

Online agents are cheaper, often charging a flat fee rather than a percentage of the sale price. But there’s a drop off in quality and customer service, plus reportedly only half of properties listed through online agents such as Purplebricks actually sell – and the fee is non-refundable.

The gig economy will come for all our jobs in the end, but no one wants a freelance estate agent who is less experienced than your average Uber driver. There’s no Sat Nav for selling someone’s house.

The struggle of the high street agent is the same one that the media has been tussling with for a decade. The internet has been both a blessing and a curse.

In some ways it’s rendered print obsolete; why purchase a newspaper when it’s online for free, and faster? Online rises so far and so fast that it cannibalises its host.

We can break stories faster, and present them in increasingly exciting ways. But for every investment in digital longform storytelling there’s a pivot to video and job losses.

The race to get traffic and try to recoup print advertising losses opened the door for the proliferation of ‘churnalism’ and fake news. There’s a constant tension in our increasingly tech-enabled world between being able to reach greater heights and stooping to grimier lows.

In order to adapt high street agents, like journalists, will need to evolve. Extortionate fees now only serve to drive customers onto online peer-to-peer platforms, and might as well be dropped before the government makes good on that ban. Embrace the internet age that loves a quirky angle on a story and a good image. And if someone calls about a property don’t just bung their email on an annoying, inbox-clogging newsletter.

But they should also hold firm to their core values. Unrivalled local knowledge, answering the phone, the contacts to know when a property is about to come on the market before it goes online.

In many ways being a modern day estate agent is much like being a journalist in the internet age. And they’re still paid more.

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Other Hampstead and Highgate property news

Listed Property Awareness Week: Living in a house with legacy

With more than 5,600 listed buildings in the borough of Camden, many of which are homes, it’s important to know the challenges you face as an owner and how to deal with them. Listed Property Owners’ Club can help

Primrose Hill area guide: Enjoy shopping and eating out in an upmarket village atmosphere

Your guide to all the things to do in Primrose Hill, including the best restaurants, shops, bars, schools and things to do. Plus our guide to property in the area

Three top properties for sale/rent in Primrose Hill

All properties on the market with Goldschmidt & Howland; 020 7043 4433; g-h.co.uk

How to make a bird’s home a happy one

Planning to do your bit for National Nest Box Week? Experts

offer 9 tips to make sure you get the best nest boxes.

Looking for help to get on the ladder? Head to the First Time Buyer Home Show in Stratford for advice on schemes, developments and mortgages

Help is at hand for first-time buyers looking to buy their first home in London

The mortgage time bomb: What interest-only borrowers need to know

Did you know that some home owners could be at risk of losing their property for good - because they’ve ignored correspondence from their lender about how they plan to eventually clear their mortgage debt?

Home of the Week: Apartment in Phillipe Starck designed development

A stunning duplex apartment in The Yoo Building in St. John’s Wood.

How to revamp your bathroom by re-grouting tired tiles

Fancy tackling the job yourself? Follow Chloe Kent’s step-by-step guide.

Gardening: 5 ways to suceed with conifers

Conifers may have a reputation for being boring, but they add valuable colour and structure in winter. An expert offers five growing tips.

Home of the Week: Iconic house in Primrose Hill

This iconic Primrose Hill home, formerly known as The Rocking Horse House, has been beautifully remodelled.

Three great properties to buy in Dartmouth Park

Properties such as semi-detached and terraced Victorian houses with large gardens characterise Dartmouth Park’s streets

Dartmouth Park area guide: pubs, schools and family homes

Your guide to all the things to do in Dartmouth Park, including the best restaurants, pubs, schools and cultural activities in this corner of NW5. PLUS our guide to property in the area

Three great properties to buy in Hornsey

If you’re looking to move into or around the area, here are some ideas

Hornsey area guide: pubs, schools and family homes

Your guide to all the things to do in Hornsey, including the best restaurants, shops, pubs, schools and local history. PLUS our guide to property in the area.

Home of the Week: New build in Hampstead with panoramic views

Newly built property in Hampstead boasts 42ft entertaining room and its own roof terrace

5 issues landlords should consider in 2018

2017 saw a number of changes made to regulations governing the private rented sector and a record number of government consultations held in relation to letting in the UK, meaning there is plenty for landlords to consider and act upon in the new year.

Three great properties for sale in Little Venice

Grand stucco-fronted houses and large Georgian and Victorian brick constructions line the wide streets of Little Venice, whilst charming mews houses can be found on the cobbled street of Bristol Gardens. For the ultimate canalside location nothing can beat a narrow boat.

Little Venice area guide: Canalside lifestyle, cafés and bars, shopping, property and more

Your guide to all the things to do in Little Venice, including the best restaurants, shops, pubs, schools and things to do by the canal. PLUS our guide to property in the area

New two and three-bedroom homes in Hampstead reflect Arts and Craft architecture of area

Thirty nine new two and three-bedroom homes, influenced by the Arts and Crafts architecture of the area, have been launched in Hampstead.

Comment: How to set the asking price for your property

Simon Gerrard, MD of north London estate agents, Martyn Gerrard, offers advice on pricing your house to achieve the best possible result

What you should know about inheriting property

There’s much to consider when inheriting property, writes Fiona Brandhorst

Camden area guide: Market, food & drink, entertainment, property and more

Your guide to all the things to do in Camden Town, including the best restaurants, shops, pubs, live music venues and Camden Lock Market. PLUS our guide to property in the area

Home of the week: Regency villa in picturesque Downshire Hill

Situated on the prized and picturesque Downshire Hill, this early 19th century Grade II-listed Regency villa is on the preferred south side of the road.

Comment: They call me the House Whisperer

Trevor Abrahmsohn, managing director of north London agents, Glentree Estates, writes about his special skills for closing a deal, which, he says, include “psychotherapy, extreme cajoling and applied salesmanship”. We’re intrigued...

How best to clear your unwanted junk

Richard Burr reveals how to clear your clutter.

Do it yourself! Great short and part-time courses in DIY, interior design, carpentry and more

With a whole new year stretching ahead of you, instead of making resolutions and not sticking to them, why not pick a fresh interest which will not only hold your attention, stimulate your creativity and keep your mind active, but improve your home, too.

What’s in store for the housing market in 2018 and how it will affect house prices, mortgages and first-time buyers

If you’re considering whether to move home this year, Ella Walker looks at potentially the main influences on house prices in London and further afield, and how they may affect buying and selling.

10 gardening trends set to blossom in 2018

These are the themes and plants predicted to dominate in the coming 12 months, writes Hannah Stephenson.

How to brick up a window like a pro

Being a brickie isn’t easy. Richard Burr reveals how to master the moves.

It’s time to get your home back in order after the festive season, but where do you dispose of your Christmas tree? We offer 3 recycling tips.

Festive season is in full flow, but soon it will be time to think about ditching the decorations and making more space for your home once again. But how should you dispose of your tree?

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

2018 © Archant Community Media Ltd

Terms and conditions | Cookie policy | Jobs at Archant