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buying, selling and renting a home

Channel4 Programme

Some of you may have noticed that Channel 4 have been airing a ''selling your home'' programme on a Monday night at 8.30pm. The concept was to showcase the method of selling through an online estate agent. 

From the development stage of the programme House Network were involved and we had two vendors who were featured, both of which sold very quickly actually. Anyway, the reason for my post is not to brag, it is to clarify the mistakes the programme has made.

Firstly, awareness of our sector is fantastic, so it was a real delight for a reputable media source to recognise the market share and growth of our business model. However, what the programme has done is group every single ''online estate agent'' together and by not naming each one, it has made us all look the same.  

Let me make it very clear that the service levels differ greatly from one online agent and another and the series could have really defined the different options available to the consumer. I am not saying this because it would enhance our own business, it is purely to educate the different service levels on offer.

There will be homeowners that would rather do everything themselves and pay a reduced fee. Whereas our model is very much inline with a traditional service, more expensive than the lower end online agents but have the core values of an experienced total solution. Some online agents use third parties to visit homes to collate adverts, others use call centres to handle viewing arrangements, some even simply offer online accounts and no calling or vetting of a viewer is even offered. It is such a shame that these fundamental key topics were not discussed.

Our entire service is delivered and managed by our own employees. We do not see how you can be responsible for a service if you sub-contract out to third parties. We agree completely with the values of the traditional agency, we just believe and have proven that it can be done without the huge fees.

So in one way the programme has raised awareness of an ''online estate agent'', but has it confused the market place for consumers. Unfortunately I believe it has.