Property survey reveals power of the press

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Homeowners looking to sell up have decided which local estate agent they’ll instruct long before they’re ready to put their properties on the market, new research has revealed.

A survey commissioned by Johnston Press and conducted by SPA Future Thinking has found that most vendors shape their views about estate agents over significant periods of time – even when they’re not even looking to sell.

And when it comes to moving and selling their home, vendors on average talk to only two estate agents before making a final decision on which one gets the job.

The research demonstrated that adverts in local newspapers can directly affect a vendor’s appointment of an estate agent – with 79 per cent of those asked believing it is important for the estate agent they instruct to advertise in their local paper.

“Where and how an estate agent promotes their business plays a crucial part in a homeowner’s decision when it comes to putting their property on the market,” said SPA Future Thinking’s Chris Bland.

“People form opinions about local estate agents long before they think about selling. For many that could have been through years of looking at the property sections of their local press and shaping their perceptions over time.”

The research, based on responses from almost 600 homeowners – those with property on the market, prospective vendors and those not yet looking to sell – revealed: 30 per cent of vendors invite only one estate agent to give them a valuation before appointing an agent to manage their property sale, with only 10 per cent of those selling talking to four or more estate agents before appointing one

35 per cent of vendors who don’t read local newspapers already had a view on which agent to use before they entered the property market. The equivalent figure for those who do read local newspapers is 56 per cent.

40 per cent of people not yet looking to sell already have a view on which estate agent they will use.

The survey also demonstrated that advertising in the local newspaper drives interest in properties and therefore traffic to digital sources, with 82 per cent of buyers surveyed claiming to have further investigated properties – by visiting in person, visiting a website, or talking about it with family or friends – having seen a local press advert.

Johnston Press is one of the biggest media companies in this UK, publishing newspaper titles across the country as well as local news websites like this one, which in August 2013 were used by 13 million unique users who generated 100 million page views.