July 19, 2016

Tongue Not Thumb…And Why Houses Need Someone To Tell Their Stories

We are on the brink of a radical change in how people communicate in real estate.

Buyers and sellers are starting to use the phone again to ring real estate agents and talk to them about property. Buyers and sellers are again walking into agents offices and speaking to an agent about property. In recent years both of these actions had all but disappeared.

Why did buyers stop talking to agents?

Because people looking for property did not always trust agents and they were very busy and it was easier to send them emails. Buyers utilized technology because it also gave them a sense of control and power and distance without any need for commitment.

Agents are perceived by some people as pushy and intrusive so talking with them using email meant you could hold them at arm’s length.

It was also easier to use the internet for research because you could do it at work without talking to anyone and save the weekends for visiting open homes. (Research shows the busiest time of the week now by the way for internet searches on real estate sites is Monday and Tuesday during work hours.) So calling up an agent, or more importantly going into their office to chat with them was seen as old fashioned, unnecessary and far too time consuming.

There is now a change afoot for a new breed of buyers and sellers (who I suspect are the most curious amongst us) who believe talking in person to an agent is the only way to do deep research and get the answers to all the extra questions they have so they can make the right property choices. It is the only way they can get the full picture. Our knowledge is free.

For me just using digital methods of research has always been flawed.

Digital research is good but it’s like an x-ray at best and it does not tell you everything.

Why would people want to talk to us?

The flesh of a property – the story about it – can be provided by the agent. It should complement the market and property intelligence you need and can obtain from the sold galleries, RP Data and other real estate data companies.

Buyers need to know everything about a property including the story of how it got to be what it is and who built it and who has lived in it. It means something especially in a small town.

Houses are independent structures but they are also a part of the fabric of a community. They are connected not just by wires, pipes and concrete with the soil and the other properties around them, but they are woven into the streets and footpaths and the vegetation. A house also has a history. It has foibles and quirks and an atmosphere that is often difficult to describe in an advertisement of a few words on the internet.

I had so many buyers over so many years buy a home from me that they initially said they would not enter after I told them a story about the home. A story that aroused their interest and encouraged them to carry out an inspection. A story that connected with them.

Everyone needs and wants the story of their new home when they are moving house and moving life. Even if they don’t know it.

Digital research can only offer so much.

Does it tell you who lives next door?

Does it tell you if it’s a holiday home, or an Airbnb house over the back fence?

Does it tell you if there is sun in the living room 12 months of the year, or where do the kids catch the bus from?

Every profession has accumulated facts, deep knowledge and wisdom that they love to share.

Real estate agents are the same.

Ringing them up, or better still dropping in to see them so they can fill in the spaces about a home or precinct or a street is invaluable if you are looking to buy in any area.

Why not use your tongue rather than your thumb and see how it works. Yes it’s a little old fashioned, but it connects the dots and makes you more comfortable with your purchase. No surprises.

If you would like more information about buying, selling or renting in our community please contact any of our team, we would love to help.


Chris Hanley

BBFN Sales Team

James Young

Su Reynolds

Paul Banister

Helen Huntly-Barratt

Tara Torkkola

Paul Prior

Luke Elwin

Helene Adams

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