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My blog

Give homeowners exactly what they want

Give homeowners exactly what they want

I saw a comment the other day on Linked In saying that a large corporate agent had conducted a survey among homeowners and discovered that people with property only care about themselves. Now, whether that’s the only thing homeowners care about is obviously a matter of conjecture, but we can certainly say that one thing […]

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Reignite your social media in a F.L.A.S.H.

Reignite your social media in a F.L.A.S.H.

Every agent I speak to says something like “we know we should be more active on Facebook or Instagram” but they often have no idea why. They either don’t use it themselves; don’t know how it works; aren’t sure how it can benefit their business or find the whole idea of it overwhelming. Wherever they […]

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SHOULD YOU BE “SWITCHING OFF” OVER CHRISTMAS?

  • December 23, 2019
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SHOULD YOU BE "SWITCHING OFF" OVER CHRISTMAS?

There’s quite a bit of “I can’t wait for the holidays” talk at this time of year, and indeed before most people go on vacation. Given the way it’s often expressed, it’s pretty clear there’s something about with the way we work that makes people want to get away from it. We work more than […]

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OUT OF SINK: FAIRY & COLGATE IN PROPERTY PHOTOS

OUT OF SINK: FAIRY  & COLGATE IN PROPERTY PHOTOS

I’ve been studying the photos and videos that estate agents post on LinkedIn to showcase their marketing prowess. What I’ve noticed are some national trends that shocked me at first, but seeing as they are used by so many estate agents up and down the country, they are clearly part of a revolution in evoking […]

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Turn your blog into a listings magnet

Turn your blog into a listings magnet

Every piece of content you write should be aimed at landlords and sellers, and it’s never been easier for estate agents to communicate with local homeowners long before they think about selling or letting their property. But it’s only the humble blog that can be re-used and repurposed across your social media channels to give […]

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Only accept the instructions you want

Only accept the instructions you want

  Do you ever go to a valuation where you don’t want the property? Maybe it doesn’t fit with your image or your marketplace; maybe it’s even decorated in a style you don’t want to put on your website? Perhaps it’s too cheap, or the neighbourhood is either far too far away, or just not […]

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What’s the best social media for estate agents?

What's the best social media for estate agents?

Should your estate agency be flaunting it on Facebook or inspiring people on Instagram? Should you be tweeting on Twitter, parading yourself on Pinterest or finding another way altogether? The best place to start is to question what you want to from your social media presence. Specifically, what can you do with your social media  […]

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How to hit the jackpot on social media

How to hit the jackpot on social media

Social media for estate agents is a bit of a strange area. In the modern world, your Instagram feed or Facebook page have the potential to win tons of new clients and tens of thousands of pounds for a teeny tiny expense, so why don’t the majority of estate agents treat social media as a […]

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Big estate agent marketing mistakes: blogs

Big estate agent marketing mistakes: blogs

As estate agent marketing tools go, a blog is right up there with the greats, but it’s remarkably easy to blog about entirely the wrong thing. So don’t feel bad if you’re doing it as well. Most estate agents I speak to are not yet running a blog. Or, if they are, the regularity of […]

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Is your estate agent blog missing 92% of home owners?

Is your estate agent blog missing 92% of home owners?

Most estate agents use their website to target the big, headline-grabbing keywords in the hope of capturing the attention of potential clients. I’m sure your website is perfectly optimised to reach anyone searching for estate agents in your area, but that’s only useful when people are actually looking to move. And it’s a complete waste […]

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Stop posting new listings to your social media

Stop posting new listings to your social media

Facebook for estate agents is an incredible resource: the world’s biggest audience at your fingertips. So anyone liking your page must want to know about your latest instructions, right? Err, no. What Facebook for estate agents ISN’T for There is no evidence that people use social media to be constantly sold to. But Facebook is […]

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How can estate agents handle complaints?

How can estate agents handle complaints?

Every business gets complaints. In fact, complaints are a sign that you’re in business! There seems to be a denial in every industry about embracing complaints, as though it’s best not to talk about them and certainly not to have a procedure for them. Having a procedure suggests you plan to receive lots of complaints! […]

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Why estate agents should network

Why estate agents should network

Have you noticed how much a recommended person will trust what you say immediately and without questions? Recommended clients are the best you can get because their trust in you comes before they talk to you, because someone they already know and trust has recommend you as someone they know and trust. So it really […]

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How long should your canvassing letters be?

How long should your canvassing letters be?

Quick answer: long AND short. Other quick answer: canvassing letters! Don’t bother sending out a canvassing letter if you’re not going to make it part of a longer campaign. An estate agent really needs to be sending out letters at regular intervals over at least a year to begin to see real results. (I would […]

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How estate agents can turn clients into VIPs

How estate agents can turn clients into VIPs

One of the most important things for estate agents to do in the battle for recommendations and recognition in their neighbourhood is to involve themselves in the local community. There are the obvious options including school sponsorships and the like, but today I’m going to talk about creating a members club for your customers. Estate […]

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How to boost your estate agent’s SEO for free

How to boost your estate agent's SEO for free

Attracting local homeowners to your website has to be the number one priority of any estate agent. With more and more people searching the web for everything related to property and local lifestyle, it’s essential for estate agents to increase their digital presence in every area possible to capture potential new clients. One of the […]

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Estate agent coaching: is that a thing?

Estate agent coaching: is that a thing?

You could argue that coaching and consulting and are one in the same thing, but I think the difference lies – as with so many things – in perception. Consulting, rightly or wrongly, does come with an image of stuffy corporate meeting rooms drumming up entirely new operational practices and management structures for organisations that […]

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Are you an evil estate agent? Take the test.

Are you an evil estate agent? Take the test.

There are times when it’s sorely tempting to have a pop at other estate agents in your area, or to compare them in a negative light, or to deride customers and clients. While it might be human, understandable and often funny, it’s also a corrosive behaviour that can chip away at standards and attitudes, particularly […]

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What can estate agents do if homes aren’t selling?

What can estate agents do if homes aren't selling?

Right now, there’s a lot of talk: about property taking longer to sell; about buyers not committing; about the market being a generally tougher place. So what can you do when it all slows down? Well, you have to keep moving. Your bills won’t ease off, thats for sure (unless you’re planning on redundancies) which […]

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How to cheat an estate agent

How to cheat an estate agent

Here’s a light-hearted blog piece I wrote for Ralph James Estate Agents in Redhill, Surrey after a buyer and seller got together in an attempt to diddle the agent out of their fees. The article was then picked up and published by PropertyIndustryEye. “We recently had a case of an owner and a buyer colluding […]

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What is it with estate agent language?

What is it with estate agent language?

I’ve been umming and ahhing over whether to write this post. I’ve had the idea for ages but have wondered whether it might get taken the wrong way. Hopefully not. So, I think estate agents can’t spell. I don’t think it’s because estate agents don’t care, but I do think it has a massive impact […]

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The dangers of pricing property with …995

The dangers of pricing property with ...995

Remember the 1980s? Wham! Duran Duran. Shoulder pads. Asking prices ending in 995. Ah, the memories. However, any estate agent using these price tactics in the twenty first century is really not responding to modern property search methods. They’re also losing their clients time, money and buyers. Let’s look at the multiple loss-making areas of […]

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Can you sell more homes in a tough market?

Can you sell more homes in a tough market?

There are reports everywhere at the moment of house sales plummeting, prices falling, profits tumbling and a general doom and gloom about the property market. Anyone who has been an estate agent before will recognise those stories because they are rolled out about every five years in pretty much the same shape or form. And […]

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Why do estate agents need to blog?

Why do estate agents need to blog?

Like most estate agents, you might not yet run a blog. Or you might have one, but never update it. That could be down to not knowing where to start, or not knowing what a blog is really for. A blog allows you to show off your expertise in your profession and in your local […]

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Seven deadly Instagram wins for estate agents

Seven deadly Instagram wins for estate agents

Estate agents struggle with Instagram even more than they do with Facebook, which is really saying something! In general, social media is a tool that estate agents would clearly like to adopt, but aren’t sure how to use. Fortunately, the presence of so many bad pages makes it easier for your good one to stand […]

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Street or screen?Property’s new digital battleground

Street or screen?Property's new digital battleground

It no longer matters which estate agent has the best high street office. Today it’s the agent with the best online presence who will reach new clients first. As the rise of internet and hybrid estate agents has proved, a fancy shop in the middle of town is no longer the instruction winner it once […]

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Too busy to think about the future of your estate agency?

Too busy to think about the future of your estate agency?

“In recent weeks we have been bowled over & haven’t focussed on anything but incoming calls & maintenance issues!” – sound familiar? That is an actual quote from a client of mine, this week, telling me why they’ve abandoned every plan they have around ensuring the future of their business and engagement with their community […]

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How to launch a cold start estate agency

How to launch a cold start estate agency

Getting your new estate agent off to a flying start is absolutely essential. A lot of the work I do is for people setting up on their own, mostly experienced estate agents who have got to the point, for whatever reason, where they want to be their own boss. Mostly it’s people who have been […]

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Is Brexit dampening your spirits?

Is Brexit dampening your spirits?

I’m getting differing reports from estate agents on the fallout from Brexit. Some of my clients – estate agents and property developers – have had serious problems with large numbers of sales falling through, a massive drop in new applicants registering and extremely low offers being received from opportunistic buyers. They’re finding it hard to […]

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Add some spark to your estate agent’s blog – now!

Add some spark to your estate agent's blog - now!

It’s all very well putting new property on your website, but what Google really wants is regularly updated and useful content that goes above and beyond the regular day-to-day estate agency stuff. The fastest and easiest way to do this is with your own thoughts and experiences. Your thoughts on how people can present their […]

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What does Brexit mean for estate agents?

What does Brexit mean for estate agents?

Let’s not get bogged down in whether Brexit is a good or bad thing. Let’s talk about what is best for your business in the aftermath. There is undoubtedly going to be a lot of uncertainty for the property market. For buyers, sellers, estate agents and property developers, the future is now a very uncertain […]

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Does your website play to the right crowd?

Does your website play to the right crowd?

How much have you thought about this? Most estate agent’s websites feature an almost identical set of pages: property search, about us, buying, selling, renting, contact. The more advanced might have something about their neighbourhood. So, does every estate agent make a strong analysis of what people look at their website for and then come […]

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The high cost of being cheap

The high cost of being cheap

Everyone loves a bargain, but the cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best value. As an example, imagine if you said to your clients: we use the cheapest photographer, have a shop at the cheapest end of the high street, employ the cheapest staff and advertise on the cheapest portal. You might even cap it off […]

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Estate agent marketing ideas for 2016

Estate agent marketing ideas for 2016

Christmas is almost upon us, so it’s about now you might be looking to come up with some ideas for your business for next year. Perhaps you want to improve your social media presence, increase the quality of your instructions, or raise your profile in your local property market or community. Let’s have a quick […]

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It’s not about you

It's not about you

When selling yourself online, whether through your blog, social media, or whatever medium you’re using to promote your estate agency, I really can’t stress hard enough that you make your posts of use to your clients. Telling everyone you’re great doesn’t fit that description. This might go against the grain in the minds of sales […]

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Why grammar doesn’t really matter

Why grammar doesn't really matter

“I really don’t like jargon, but I keep using it, and I hate it when I do”. That’s what an estate agent said to me yesterday, and I suspect he is not alone. The trouble is, when trying to banish an industry word or phrase from your vocabulary without having a suitable replacement, it leaves […]

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Are you having trouble inspiring your team?

Are you having trouble inspiring your team?

I had a very revelatory conversation the other day with the owner of an estate agent. He told me it was impossible to get his team interested in either the marketing the company was doing or in anything outside “their job” of getting some sales or lets agreed. He said they were delighted to work […]

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Do your property descriptions need upgrading?

Do your property descriptions need  upgrading?

I got the idea for this post from an estate agency that shouts quite a lot on its website about the “professional copywriting” on their property descriptions. The company in question shall remain nameless, and they are to be applauded for at least noticing that property descriptions represent some of the worst writing known to […]

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Do your property descriptions need restyling?

Do your property descriptions need restyling?

I hate editing. Being presented with someone else’s work that’s written in their style and then being asked to edit it – but not rewrite it – is something I really don’t enjoy. Personally, I think if something needs enough editing to call in a copywriter, it needs rewriting. I get that there’s a skill […]

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Is it wrong to steal ideas?

Is it wrong to steal ideas?

How do you feel about that? The thing is, when you look at the business of selling and letting property, there’s not so much difference in what people do or how they operate. And even between the extremes of niche and corporate estate agent (or niche and corporate property developer) the procedure is ultimately the […]

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How to add value to your estate agent blog

How to add value to your estate agent blog

Estate agents struggle with what to write about their business, but let’s you’re one who’s got past the first and initial stage of actually starting a blog. You’ve been going for a while, you’ve written about general market subjects, given tips on the best way to sell or present a property, a few landlords dos […]

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Lost for words to write on your blog?

Lost for words to write on your blog?

If you’re managing a blog on your estate agency’s website, or you’ve got a company facebook page, or you’re simply wondering what on earth to write on the next flyer you mail to properties in your area, you may find it hard to find something new to say each time. Something that will grab your […]

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’tis the season to be planning for next year

'tis the season to be planning for next year

So, it’s October and there’s plenty of Christmas already in the air – at least in the shops at any rate. People get more irritated every year as the festive period appears to start earlier and earlier and gets right up everyone’s red nose. Forgetting the season of goodwill and joy to all men, why […]

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Is paying for SEO a waste of cash?

Is paying for SEO a waste of cash?

Yes, I think so. But let me clarify.   What does your website do? If it’s pretty static and the only things that change are the property listings, then perhaps you could shell out for for some SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) copy. You’re probably doing it because someone said you should, and because you want […]

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Can you afford a copywriter?

Can you afford a copywriter?

As an estate agent or property developer, your time costs a lot more than mine. The chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re not much of a writer. You’ve sat down with a sheet of paper in front of you and some text to knock out, and you’ve struggled and stared and cursed and […]

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Experience vs chemistry

Experience vs chemistry

For most of my career as an agent – well, certainly from becoming a manager – I chose people with little or no agency experience to come and work in my team. The main reason was my hatred of having to retrain the experienced agents who almost always came with more bad habits than good […]

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Welcome to 2014. Scared?

Welcome to 2014. Scared?

I dunno about you but I had a very fine festive break and, to be frank, I don’t really want to start work today. So I might do something else. Something that will excite me about getting back into it again. I find the best way of getting inspired about something is to look at […]

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Is Christmas rubbish for estate agents?

Is Christmas rubbish for estate agents?

December is traditionally a quieter time for estate agents, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a downer. In fact, having a a bit of mind space to think about the future is something of a blessing. What are you going to do in 2014? The end of the year is a great opportunity […]

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6 quick tips on facebook for estate agents

6 quick tips on facebook for estate agents

Here we go. No messing, no garnish, no pre-amble and no nonsense. 6 quick tips to help your estate agent’s facebook page swing its pants like no other. 1) Have a fancy-looking background and cover photo. Get your background properly designed and use the space to mention some unique selling points about your company. Your […]

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How to jazz up your estate agent’s facebook page

How to jazz up your estate agent's facebook page

Estate agents shouldn’t outsource their facebook page. Or, at least, not entirely. Your time is valuable, right? You’re busy, there’s lots going on, plenty of incoming enquiries to deal with and a bunch of vendors, landlords and staff to manage. So, in purely financial terms, digging around the internet for national property news stories and […]

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Is Twitter for estate agents a waste of time?

Is Twitter for estate agents a waste of time?

I don’t have that much to say on this, but from what I see being posted, hardly anyone has anything interesting to say every day. It’s mostly retweeting posts from large media organisations in order to get noticed. Well, anyone can do that and it certainly wouldn’t make me choose that agent over anyone else. […]

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Why is Facebook such a drag for estate agents?

Why is Facebook such a drag for estate agents?

Social Media, for estate agents at least, seems to be a bit of a burden. After the initial excitement and invitation of your loyal friends to get the page going, the obligation of updating casts a dark shadow over everything, leaving a feeling of guilt and shame hanging above whoever is responsible (and a nice […]

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Why estate agents should actively discriminate

Why estate agents should actively discriminate

Let’s be honest, you’re never going to appeal to everyone. You’re never going to have 100% of the property in your area, never going to convert 100% of market appraisals into instructions, never going to have a 100% viewings to sales rate. Never. So it’s best to get over it. But what you CAN do, […]

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The world (wide web) is not enough.

The world (wide web) is not enough.

You can tweet, post, pin and blog as much as you like – and with truly great rewards – but if you want to get to vendors and landlords first – and before – they even think about selling or letting their home, you can’t beat sticking something through their letterbox. Something arresting, rather than […]

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Get more from your estate agent’s facebook page

Get more from your estate agent's facebook page

I’ve been learning how to become sticky, and how to make my clients all sticky too. With the internet. One of the great things about facebook pages for estate agents is the way you can expand your page into other areas using tabs. This means instead of just having ‘the page’ with a feed of […]

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How to get your properties in the press

How to get your properties in the press

Do you ever get jealous about other estate agents or property developers getting more publicity than you? Well, you can have as much as they get, and you don’t have to marry Rupert Murdoch. But you do need to jump in bed with the press. It’s pretty easy really. The press has space to fill […]

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How to knock a corporate estate agent out of your town

How to knock a corporate estate agent out of your town

I thought this might be fun to talk about. I’m not an estate agent anymore, but as a fan of independent companies – and finding large international chains rather boring – I couldn’t help but wonder about how one of the little guys could knock a big guy out of the high street.   The […]

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How to get more instructions when it’s quiet

How to get more instructions when it's quiet

It seems every agent’s biggest problem at the moment is lack of stock. Plenty of tenants and plenty of buyers around, but landlords and vendors are in very short supply. I had a message the other week that an agent in SW London was down to his last 2 properties, which is about as near […]

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How to write better property descriptions

How to write better property descriptions

It can be hard getting your property descriptions to stand out, but there is a simple and sure-fire way of making them unique; use your own voice. It sounds totally simple, right? Yet it’s one of the hardest things for people to do. Estate agents and property developers are fantastic at talking about property – […]

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Does copywriting matter for estate agents?

Does copywriting matter for estate agents?

You might think I’m biased on this – and you’re absolutely right – but when someone gets a badly written leaflet through their door, or reads the words “property” or “building” or “leasehold” spelt wrongly on an estate agent’s or property developer’s website, it does leave a bad taste in their mouth. And it’s not […]

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Should you cut back on marketing when times are tough?

Should you cut back on marketing when times are tough?

Sounds like a no-brainer really, doesn’t it? There’s not so much business to be done, less instructions to be had, and estate agents are dropping their fees to win what little property there is. A smaller slice of a smaller cake is hardly a great foundation for increasing one’s property marketing budget. Well, maybe. If […]

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6 great tips to taking better property photos

6 great tips to taking better property photos

Property marketing starts at home. Not the owner’s, but yours. The photos in your office window, website and advertising are your customer’s first impression of your company, so let’s make them count.   When you look at estate agents’ websites, it’s fairly easy to see who uses professional photography and who’s taking their own photos. […]

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Are corporate estate agents more professional than indies?

Are corporate estate agents more professional than indies?

I don’t believe corporate estate agents ARE inherently more professional, but I do think they do a better job of getting their message across. Which of course, is most of the battle won. I’ve worked in corporate estate agency, one-man-band affairs, and a few somewhere in between; as a negotiator, manager, associate director and, eventually, […]

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Does fee-cutting make your estate agent more competitive?

Does fee-cutting make your estate agent more competitive?

Here’s an age-old dilemma. You want more instructions, there aren’t enough around, vendors know they’re in a position of power and they start to play the agents off against each other. “So-and-so down the road will do it for 1.5%; will you beat that?” or “You are my favourite agent but I know my property […]

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Are high street estate agents worth more than internet ones?

Are high street estate agents worth more than internet ones?

This question has been an active topic of discussion for a little while now, so does that make the answer Yes, or No?   I might be a property copywriter now, but I have a 25 year history of estate agency behind me – high street and internet – so I’d like to think I […]

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5 ways to outshine the other estate agents for free

5 ways to outshine the other estate agents for free

Sometimes, it’s hard to be an agent. Despite the ongoing economic situation, not that many estate agents have closed down, so everyone’s fighting for their share of a smaller cake. No-one wants to give up (what else are they going to do?), but when the market was better, there was more money around to spend […]

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Choosing the right property copywriter

Choosing the right property copywriter

Here’s a simple post on selecting the right person to write for you. There are writers, there are copywriters, and there are property copywriters. Profound, huh?   As with all things, someone with experience – as it were – in the field, should have a better understanding of your industry and where your company sits […]

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Getting a foot in the door

Getting a foot in the door

This post is not about being a good estate agent. Or about winning more instructions. I’ll write some of those later. This is purely about getting your foot in the door. How can you get called in to more property?   No matter how good a salesman you are, if you don’t have enough property […]

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Is printed media read, or dead?

Is printed media read, or dead?

Will the internet kill all printed media? Is it worth advertising in local papers or glossy magazines? Or should you divert your entire marketing budget to the internet and spend spend spend on portals?   Well, from my experience in estate agency, the internet was where you spent your money to get buyers. How many […]

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Property jargon rant: episode two

Property jargon rant: episode two

Not so much a jargon rant this time as a serious bit of disappointment in the written skills of some agents. I’ve just let my apartment and it’s been interesting to see the different agents descriptions. One of the best things about my place is the amount of outside space. There are two roof terraces […]

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Are property and social media compatible?

Are property and social media compatible?

I think it’s the same story for many businesses in the property world. Either the company – estate agent, developer, mortgage broker, solicitor – thinks they have nothing of interest to say, OR they just can’t seem to find the time and routine needed to make social media work for them. So they often end […]

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Property jargon rant: episode one

Property jargon rant: episode one

When talking about reaching the first port of call with a house-hunter, The Telegraph describes their destination as “a penthouse flat on Addison Road”. If you’ve already spotted the criminally inappropriate use of the word “flat” after “penthouse” then I salute you as a fellow guardian of copywriting excellence. Just how many penthouses are not […]

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SOCIAL? ME TOO!