By Mike Rix of Savills in Norwich
What’s an estate agent’s favourite noise? Surely it has to be a ringing phone. Even in this modern age of apps and portals, there’s nothing quite like that shrill, persistent sound to let you know your properties have caught the house hunters’ eye. So what is it today that gets those phones ringing? Whatever the underlying economic conditions, in Norwich it seems there are certain types of house that have proved to be, while I hesitate to use the phrase ‘recession proof’, then certainly recession resistant. These are those houses in the £500,000-£1m price bracket in prime pockets of the city – the Golden Triangle and Town Close areas are perfect examples. In almost constant demand, with a good location and sensibly priced, these are homes that sell. Buyers are often moving up and out of the smaller terraces, looking for a bigger garden and more space for a growing family. But at the moment, these potential purchasers are hardly spoilt for choice. We need more of these houses – people want to move, and will if they can find the right place to go. Which brings me neatly onto my next point – how buyers find houses. Anyone like me who has worked in this business for years has witnessed a huge change in the way we market properties. Hard to believe that not so very long ago we were pasting pictures onto particulars and popping them in the post. Of course we still have printed brochures – and vendors and purchasers still want and need them – but uploading onto the web gives instant access to a massive shop window and an enormous, eager audience. The ease with which house hunters can find what they are looking for online is key which is why a new improved search function was a major consideration for our recently relaunched, highly popular website. Not only this, but Savills also now has both an iPhone and iPad app to make properties even more accessible to buyers on the move. Add to this access through a variety of portals as well as electronic matching and it’s clear the industry has come a long way. So in the face of this technological advance, where does this leave the humble phone? Whether it calls with the soft dring of yesteryear, a cheery chirrup or a blast from the top 20, we still want to hear it. Trawling the net is no substitute for talking to an agent. The more we can talk to would-be buyers, the better the rapport that can be built, and the better the outcome all round. We often describe a home as an asset and so it is, but it is so much more than that. It’s personal. Estate agency is about people. What was it that phone company said? Oh yes, it’s good to talk.
Mike Rix is on 01603 229229