The Inside Edge
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.
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.
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…