Estate Agents Who Know What They’re Talking About: Part 2 Adam Offer, Besley Hill.

Paul Hajek | 3 Nov 2010

This is the second part of an interview with Adam Offer, Managing Director of Besley Hill, one of the largest Estate Agents in Bristol and Gloucestershire.

You can find the first part of Adam Offer interview here.

a Besley Hill Estate Agents For Sale board 1. What is you opinion of DIY Estate Agency sites and their potential impact

I think they have/will have their place for people who believe they can sell their own property and are willing to put the time and effort into achieving a sale. However as any estate agent knows the easy part is finding a buyer – the largely unseen, unappreciated and skilful element is getting the sale through to completion. In many instances and particularly in this market this can be up to 70% of the job. In brief I see conventional estate agency always having the upper hand.

2. Would you like to see more competition for Rightmove and other Estate Agency portals

At the moment there are two major players in property portals.
Rightmove and other portals are the new newspapers as far as property is concerned.

For the most part they do a brilliant job in displaying our properties to a wide audience – an audience that estate agents could not hope to achieve on our own.

As long as the portals represent value for money and continue to innovate, estate agents will advertise. If the estate agency portals change their charging structure and it becomes too expensive, Estate Agents will simply withdraw.

Without “stock” from estate agents the portals shelves would be empty – so they need to be careful and ensure that estate agents continue to get value.

More competition will invariable regulate prices charged by those portals – so competition in this regard has to be good news doesn’t it?

3. Do you see or would you like to see a HIP replacement on the horizon?

I do not see a HIP replacement on the horizon for some while yet. I do think that if the HIP had been administered properly – making the survey and mortgage valuation/valuation element compulsory and making the search element universally acceptable it could have been brilliant for the housing market as it would qualify sellers ability to sell and buyers would just need their mortgage offer to complete the transaction – speeding up the process.

4. What effect will the internet have on traditional Estate Agency?

The internet means customers come to us far better informed about a property and an area – having done much of their research beforehand.

However this has yet to make a difference to the ratio of viewings to sales, which has been at the national average of 1 in 10 for many years now.

I have many thoughts on future internet usage within our industry – speeding up transaction times and so on – but customers will always want to view the property they are thinking of buying – I cannot see this changing ever!

5. How do envisage Estate Agency in 5 years time?

I believe their will be an acute shortage of homes available on the open market. During the recession new building virtually stopped. The last three years has seen huge pent up demand from buyers unable/unwilling to buy – these people have moved into rented accommodation. When mortgage funding at higher LTV’s improves – which it will – we will see a significant shift to a seller’s market – huge demand – short supply. This could have a dramatic effect on prices.

As far as technology is concerned we may well see significant improvements in transaction times, quicker mortgage approvals and so on. The importance of the internet will continue to grow – with increasing amounts of information available to customers on the properties they are viewing.

However I do not see the fundamentals of our business changing – good homes whatever the market will sell – often before they are marketed. This means that people need to have a relationship with their estate agents to see these properties first. Also buyers will always want to view homes for sale – something sellers are traditionally very reluctant to do. Similarly agents are professional negotiators and can often save sellers thousands of pounds through skilful negotiation. They see the transaction through to completion – an art in itself where knowledge of the process, knowing your buyer, their chain and circumstances can make the difference between a move or staying put!

Thank you Adam 

Adam Offer is Managing Director of Besley Hill Estate Agents. Adam has worked in the industry since leaving college starting work for Besley Hill in June 1980 at the Kingswood office. The business has grown to 16 branches 5 different business streams including Residential sales, Lettings & Management, Auction & Survey, Mortgage & Financial Services and Legal Services. Besley Hill are the largest independent agents in Bristol & Gloucester

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