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Have you Seen Sarah Beeny’s new TV show?

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If you haven’t, you can catch Sarah Beeny‘s Restoration Nightmare on channel four on thursdays at 8pm.

In her new series Sarah tackles the 97 room Georgian Mansion she bought ten years ago with her husband, a property developer himself,  in an attempt to restore it to its former glory and to make it a venue for weddings and events.

Channel four says:

‘It’s time for Sarah Beeney to practice what she preaches as she tries to save a stately home in Yorkshire from ruin.  Rise Hall has been home to Sarah, her husband Graham and their ever-expanding family for the last ten years.’

Sarah Beeny is best known for her TV series Property Ladder and last year launched private houses sales website Tepilo, which helps individuals market their house online without an Estate Agent.

Sarah Beeny's Restoration Nightmare on channel four

Does this prove the national obsession with property is no less strong than pre-2007?  Or is this more ‘aspiration media’ – watching someone do what we’d like to do, without the effort or glory?  Like River Cottage and Eat Love Pray however, you wonder if its really possible for most folks to take on this type of experience without TV/ book income.

If you have seen Sarah Beeny’s new show feel free to share your review or comments below.

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Direct marketing approach from Tesco Estate Agency business isold.com

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Having sold a house recently it was interesting to see the kind of direct marketing that a For Sale sign attracts – having erected both a private For Sale sign and one from The Best Estate Agent in Reading.

Having displayed a mobile number on the Private Board, the first approach was by text message:

We would like to make you a FREE cash offer for your property.  If you are interested please visit (website)

And there was me expecting to pay for offers from people who’d never been inside the house!

Most of the Estate Agents who valued the property but that I didn’t use wrote often to remind me that they were still there, should I need their assistance.  A good bunch in general and I could have selected any one of 3 that I liked (see my previous article on how to choose the best estate agent) so I didn’t mind at all hearing from them.

The approach that intrigued me the most was a postcard from ‘isold.com’, the ‘Online Estate Agency’ (my words), set up as a partnership between Spicerhaart and Tesco this spring.

isold.com estate agents postcard direct marketing

As you can see the card was posted and addressed to’The Homeowner’ and printed and signed with a handwriting font to give the personal touch.

This week, the house having been under offer for the past three, I found another letter on the mat, this time in an envelope but still addressed to the homeowner.

isold are using direct marketing to win business

Actually this is quite a strong proposition from spicerhaart, and the approach gives us some insight into isold’s intentions.  I’ve said for a while that I believe what I term ‘online estate agency’ will be the biggest growth area in Estate Agency and will take more business from ‘traditional’ high street agencies than the For Sale by Owner model offered by websites such as Sarah Beeny’s Tepilo.  Not that the for Sale by Owner model is flawed, just that many people, in my experience, are not ready to fully ‘go it alone’ even if they question the traditional method.

The winning proposition that Online Estate Agency offers is the low fees, due to the lack of High Street office, but with the comfort of having a professional Valuer/ Negotiator to value the house, draw up floor plans and support you through the process.  That and the ability to put your advert on the Estate Agent only portals like Rightmove and Primelocation – which do not accept listings from individuals or private property sales websites.

Looking at the isold.com website they have launched in only three UK cities, Reading, Bristol and York.  Since the announcement in spring 2010 the business has received little media coverage however and most articles refer to Tesco’s last attempt at entering the property market (in 2007) which ended when Agents and Portals refused to list their adverts with the Supermarket and the business was challenged by the OFT on whether they had become an Estate Agent.

Consumer reactions to the latest offering  (such as those posted under this York Press article) vary from a bit of estate agent bashing and hopes for reduced selling fees to concerns over Tesco’s apparant monopoly over everything.

The original Tesco proposition was sold to Spicerhaart in 2007, who now seem to be running the business (isold.com is registered at the spicerhaart HQ in Colchester) and despite the prominent Tesco branding on direct marketing and the isold.com website I challenge you to find the isold page on Tesco.com without using google.

So this does seem to be a softly softly approach this time around, perhaps looking to build franchises in areas that are void of a Spicerhaart office. One assumes that the Tesco involvement is mainly the use of the brand and direct marketing to Clubcard members.  But we’ll see…

What do you think?  Leave your comments below…

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We are officially a Top 100 Real Estate Blog – Technorati

by admin

We were really pleased this week to discover that we’ve  made it in to Technorati’s top 100 Real Estate blogsworldwide! As the name suggests Technorati is the Web’s leading  authority for blogs and attaining the upper ranks is no mean feat in the today’s rich blogosphere.technorati logo

Thebigpropertylist.co.uk blog started out on Blogger nearly two years ago and has gone from strength to strength, attracting guest writers from all over the property blogosphere such as Ollie Cornes, professional Landlord and owner of Landlord software company Juicy Property and Sharon Crossland, tenancy expert and blogger of Leasehold Life.

Visitor numbers and contributions have continued to rise on a weekly basis and we have been really pleased by the positive and supportive emails we’ve received from readers in that time.

Our aim is to continue to bring you the latest UK property news as well as property articles on a range of useful and entertaining subjects.  We will shortly be moving the blog to the prettier design that we employ on the main website as the property portal is finally getting close to launch (horaah!).  Originally planned to be a ‘For Sale by Owner’ property sales portal thebigpropertylist.co.uk will offer an altogether different type of property search. The website has been delayed whilst we surveyed the market (especially in the wake of the Tepilo launch and while we finished other projects) and planned our next move.  So, you will just have to wait and see what the final site brings!

In celebration of making it to the top 100 Real Estate blogs and as a nod in the direction of our fellow property keyboard tappers, here’s a list of our favourite property blogs elesewhere on the web:

  • Housing Dabble -  Property Marketing, Brand Building and Social Media from Ben Harris
  • Agent’s Diary The weary musings of a time-served estate agent (realtor) somewhere in the UK
  • Modern Estate Agent -  Brain food for the modern estate agent
  • Facts Not Headlines -  Kate Faulkner, author of Which? property books and consultant to the industry tells the REAL stories in the property market
  • Landlord Law Blog – Tessa Shepperson, a solicitor and specialist in residential landlord and tenant law

Happy reading…

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Co-op gives sound advice re: Private Selling

by admin

Whilst researching mortgage options this morning I was surprised to find a page on the Co-operative Bank’s website discussing the pros and cons of selling your house without an estate agent.

Two of the critical ‘cons’ were:

  • one of the first places that buyers will look is a local estate agent and you may find it difficult to reach a sufficient number of potential buyers.
  • if you’re planning on selling your home yourself online, make sure that you check the website’s area coverage, user statistics, claims and other statistics before you commit yourself. Some websites are better than others.

Thats why we recommend marketing your house alongside your estate agent.  There will always be some contacts and clients that he has that you will not reach otherwise – just ensure that if you find the buyer you are not contractually obliged to pay his fees.

To the second point, we would always recommend using a ‘for Sale by Owner’ website that puts your advert on some of the mainstream property websites like fish4homes.co.uk, Globrix and Googlebase.  Many For Sale by Owner websites feature very few properties and are do not attract the visitor numbers that you need to find a buyer – on the other hand using them to get your advert onto a national property website gives you great exposure without the cost of the estate agents’ bill.

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Can Sarah Beeny sell my house?

by admin

The property section of the saturday’s Telegraph carried a raving review of Sarah Beeny’s private property sales website Tepilo.com in which Sarah again set out her vision for the future of property sales. She believes that by 2015 50% of us will be selling our house without an estate agent and that our erstwhile highstreet based salesmen will be viewed along similar lines as insurance and travel agencies where they will be frequented only by people who are too lazy or busy to organise their house sale themselves.

Let’s hear it for Sarah!


thebigpropertylist.co.uk
is a private property sales portal where UK homeowners can list their property for rent or to sell in conjunction or instead of using an estate agent. The website is currently in the final stages of development and is due to launch in early 2010.

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Ask yourself: Can I sell my house myself?

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When people ask what you ‘do’, what do you say?  It’s easy if you’ve got one of those jobs with a title everyone understands, like doctor, fireman or teacher but when you run a web business you could say a million different things – webmaster, publisher, business owner, entrepreneur, marketer, social media specialist, online something or other – like many small business people.

When I explain that I’m setting up a website to help people sell their own houses inevitably people have a few questions and almost always say ‘what a great idea!’ or a variation thereof.  Often they have a horror story of an estate agent lying/ stalling/ pressuring and other hijinks that estate agents are known for. 

This reaction is always heartening and backs up my research – that people can and will sell their own houses with a little help and guidance.  I feel for decent websites like mypropertyforsale, littlehousecompany and houseladder that have been plugging away for more than 8 years trying to save people thousands of pounds and still many people do not realise it’s even possible to sell your house without an agent.  People are becoming more aware, certainly since Sarah Beeny has launced her Tepilo service using her media profile built up through the channel 4 Property Ladder programme to reassure people that private selling is a viable option.

The kind of questions and doubts I come across often concern the legalities of selling a house and many people are surprised to hear that estate agents don’t have any part to play in the legal exchange of contracts other than introducing buyer and seller and keeping the sale process moving.

It is the solicitors that review all the surveys and searches, create, review and agree the contract.  Estate agents do add value to the process through marketing, sales skills, aiding the negotiation and quite often managing the chain to ensure the sale proceeds – but they are not absolutely necessary and anyone with the time and inclination can sell their house themselves. 

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Sell your house privately

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