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Published June 13th 2018

If You Take a Cut, Take One You Deserve: On Actually Being Invested

It was a sad day when Chris found out his neighbors were selling their house. However, it’s a miracle they sold the place, he says. Not because it’s not a gorgeous house, but because of the sheer lack of sh*ts given by the estate agent.

It was a sad day when we found out our neighbors were selling their house.

We like our neighbors. They’re friendly. We go round there for sausage rolls, mince pies, cheese straws and cake at Christmas. They look after our cat when we’re away. The husband has helped countless times when I’ve a particularly stupid/basic DIY-type task I’m about to bodge, he being very good at these things.

Most recently, he was responsible for holding a massive branch of a tree I was sawing down so it didn’t crack off and smash the roof of his car parked underneath.

So, as you can no doubt imagine, we were sad they were moving – although we’ll stay in touch, which is nice. And the new family who are moving in are a similar age to us and also have a young daughter, which is, again, nice.

However, it’s a miracle they sold the place.

Not because it’s not a gorgeous house – it’s delightful – but because of the sheer lack of shits given by the estate agent. At last count, it was perhaps one, and that’s being generous – it’s far closer to zero.

Zero shits given

During the week the full-time estate agent would do the potential buyer tours around the house – pointing out the fantastic job they’ve done of turning the front room into a cosy, comfortable, impeccably designed lounge to relax in.

They’ve waxed lyrical about the extension, which has added space and light to a kitchen and dining area. And they’ve shown off the well-proportioned bedrooms upstairs perfect for a young couple with a growing family.

So far, some shits given.

But at weekends, it’s a different matter. It’s a combination of part time agents who either work every Saturday, or who work two days a month. The role they basically fulfil is ‘opening the door’. They don’t sell the house. They don’t read the faces of the buyers and respond to the delight and intrigue or reassure any frowns.

They literally just stand in the doorway and point people to rooms. My neighbor knows this as he stayed in once to watch them.

In the end, he hosted the tours with the part-timer there purely to tick the box about the buyer coming via them – to take their hefty cut of commission.

Given the figures that estate agents cream off house sales, it’s just insulting to do such a half-arsed, part-time job of it. And you know what? It’s one of those situations where you realise why online equivalents, which don’t take such hits, are booming.

An open door for disruptors

‘Traditional’ players and models which monopolised the approach to a service need to take a step back and put themselves in the buyer’s shoes.

There’s the old joke about walking a mile in someone’s shoes, because then even if you’re still wrong you’re at least a mile away and wearing their shoes.

Traditional players and models in the housing market should take a step back and put themselves in the buyer’s shoes before disruptors like Purple Bricks do laps around them, in their shiny new brogues.

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