Property Guru Henry Pryor launched a scathing attack on modern estate agents ‘list and leave’ approach.
The high-end buying agent claims that the marketing incompetence of estate agents is pushing buyers to look at alternative arenas to sell their property, including online agents, Facebook, eBay and Gumtree.
Holding nothing back, the self-proclaimed darling of BBC property commentary said “too many estate agents have forgotten how to sell, having spent years just uploading adverts onto Zoopla they’ve become fat and lazy leaving the door open to new marketeers to do their selling for them.”
It isn’t the first time Pryor has attacked the sales approach of modern agents.
In 2015 he told The Mirror that agents usually follow a “lazy” tried and tested strategy, “they have listed their clients’ properties on the internet, stuck up a ‘For Sale’ board if allowed, emailed their dwindling mailing list and then sat back and waited to manage the interest…it is no wonder that the online agents and their deep-pocket founders have spotted an opportunity.”
An outspoken property veteran, Pryor is no stranger to controversy and features regularly in both the industry and mainstream press. His most famous prediction came in early 2007, where he astutely called the top of the UK housing market, saying sellers were increasingly “motivated by greed…we may look back and say the fourth quarter of 2006 was the peak”.
He recently started an alternative property platform of his own dedicated to off-market deals. Not On The Market is a private twitter feed where agents can discuss ‘grey market’ deals, costing £1+VAT per day for agents – a drop in the ocean compared to his £12,000 bespoke buying fee.
This isn’t the first time traditional agents have taken a hammering or been branded ‘lazy’; online agents continue to spend millions on ad campaigns that tout the misery sellers feel when using higher priced traditional agents and blogs such as TerribleRealEstateAgentPhotos compile a veritable hall of shame of property portal uploads from a pre-online era.
Benjamin Wilmore, a Senior agent at Brinkley’s Estate Agents, hit back at these claims in a recent guest article for DMZ. He called for a focus on the strengths of traditional agents, “we have adapted the technology, we are local, more in touch with the market than ever before. This is why we out produce the onliners, maintaining a high level of property transactions in house sales and rental properties.”
Defence of traditional agency practice has also come in the form of Glentree CEO Trevor Abrahmsohn who told DealMakerz “there can’t be anything better than a contingency based estate agents fee service…The Great British Public would rather ‘run naked through the streets’ than they would negotiate the sale of their own home.”
DealMakerz thinks Pryor’s “fat and lazy” comments are largely a PR play – direct, controversial headlines ensure he is quoted in an article, which in turn drives his public profile and broader business. Not a ground-breaking strategy, but an effective one nonetheless.
What is bigger than the comments themselves is the growing coverage across media outlets that traditional agents are “lazy” and reliant on portals to make the sale for them. Online agencies have bombarded potential buyers with the benefits of their service – cheaper prices, good service and customer satisfaction. However, the general mood around traditional estate agents seems one of ‘attack is the best form of defence’, with organisations like CIELA spouting condemnation of everyone from Purplebricks to Trustpilot before claiming their own critics were “law flouters” and “anonymous trolls”.
Rather than relying on negative campaigning, DealMakerz urges high street agents to promote their strengths – regional networks, deeply-held local relationships and a solid history of success. As we have seen in the recent General Election, positive campaigning can be extremely effective.
Buyers and sellers are unconcerned with industry tittle-tattle of back and forth arguments between sectors, they will continue to make one critical choice: how should I sell my property?
Whomever comes up on the right side of that answer more often than not will succeed.