Guest blog by Matt Barrell – Purplebricks Local Property Expert in Reading.
Author bio: Hi I’m Matt, Purplebricks Local Property Expert covering RG2, RG6 & RG30, in Reading. I joined Purplebricks at the start of 2021 after being a Branch Manager on the high street. I enjoy helping our clients move home and assisting them with their property goals.
Here's a glimpse into what I get up to in a day, working as a Local Property Expert for Purplebricks, in my hometown:
7 am: Wake up. Coffee. Emails.
Before properly starting my day, I'll read my emails over a morning coffee whilst finalising my to-do list for the day ahead. Being on top of my emails is really important for my customers as well as everybody else involved in my sales (buyers, other sellers in the chain, mortgage brokers, other agents etc). I will then follow up and respond to all emails once the coffee has had a chance to kick in!
9 am: Valuation (3 bedroom semi-detached property in Lower Earley RG6)
All of my preparation will have been done the day before a valuation appointment and loaded onto my iPad. Being on time is so important as it is respectful of other people's time and if timings aren’t kept to, it can disrupt the whole day. I allocate an hour for a valuation so I have enough time to thoroughly view the house and gather further information from the customer about their property and its features. It’s important to spend time gathering as much information as possible in order to create a well-written property advert that provides all of the information and background potential buyers may need before deciding to book a property viewing.
When valuing the property, I look at data for similar homes that have sold recently and similar homes currently on the market. I like to attend each valuation with an informed approximate value number in mind, which often can vary 10%+/- once I have seen the property in person. When looking at value I consider three things; what similar properties in the area have historically sold for, what similar properties on the market are currently selling for, and what the buyer demand is like in the current market.
Top-tip: Price to entice. Remember the 'listing price' can vary from the 'sale price' so have a thorough discussion with your estate agent about a listing price that will serve to maximise your sale price!
10:30 am: Make phone calls. More coffee.
Following each valuation, I will send over the details immediately afterwards to provide the best service for a potential customer. I will usually find time in the morning to make calls relating to current customers which could be confirming funds for an offer, speaking with a mortgage broker about funding for a customer, or answering questions and queries from customers about their sales. If I can't reach people on the phone, I'll always follow up with an email, WhatsApp or message via the Purplebricks app - I tend to find this is an effective communication method as my customers can access our conversations and respond on the go.
Top-Tip: Start with the end in mind. Remember sales can take 3-4 months on average once agreed to get through to completion so it's important that we are all proactive and responsive with our communication in order to react quickly if queries arise.
12pm: Valuation (2 bed 2 bath flat in Shinfield RG2)
Again my preparation would have been done the day before and loaded onto my iPad ready for my valuation appointment. I like to go into the living room armed with as much information as possible when speaking with new customers so I have a variety of data and information to discuss with them. Each customer is different and will engage differently so it's important for me not to be too rigid or prescriptive with how we discuss something as complex and unique as a property sale/move.
1pm: Speaking with sellers. Negotiating offers. Calling new potential customers.
Usually, there will be progress or movement with an offer that will require me to call customers to discuss. Purplebricks enables buyers and sellers to communicate with one another via our app but I make it clear to my customers that I’m here to help and guide them every step of the way. This includes discussing our strategy for negotiating an offer, verifying offer details from buyers, discussing moving logistics and addressing any questions or concerns they may have about their move.
Often new market appraisals will have come in from the morning. I will take a moment to review these new properties and make an initial call to the owner to find out some more information. I'll then spend some time looking at localised property data and preparing ahead for that appointment.
I conducted a viewing for a 2 bedroom property I have listed for sale in Whitley Wood (RG2). Buyers can access our website and app around the clock to book a viewing slot - there’s no need to wait until the morning.
Today I showed a lovely couple around this two-bedroom house who were chain-free and already had a mortgage agreement in principle - I love it when potential buyers are super organised! I’d always recommend doing this before viewing a property as it puts you in a more proceedable position and increases your appeal to sellers looking to progress quickly. The couple later submitted an offer via the Purplebricks app which was accepted by the owners later that day. Sometimes after a showing I just "know" if someone will be the buyer!
I conducted another viewing at the house in Whitley Wood. Wherever possible, I try to schedule viewings at the same property consecutively. Not only does this make sense for me logistically, but also for the owners - they only have to tidy the house once!
Top-tip: Showing vs selling. Purplebricks customers have the option of conducting viewings themselves. After all, nobody knows a property better than the people who have lived in it. I always say the first viewings are for showing and the second viewings are for selling. Emotions are high on first viewings and it's important to make a buyer feel "at home". If they come back for a second viewing they will be looking closer at the property features, and viewing with their head and not their heart. This is the time to reiterate the many great things about the property.
3pm Virtual 3D Tour:
I visited a property in West Reading to create a Virtual 3D Tour for new customers coming on to the market. Virtual 3D Tours are now included in the package price when you sell your home with Purplebricks, and I think these make our properties really stand out. They are great for sellers by improving their property listing and great for buyers by giving them a chance to navigate around the property virtually before they have a look in person. Depending on the house size these can take 30 minutes to an hour to record and perfect.
Top-tip: You only get one chance to make a first impression. So make sure your property is de-cluttered and looking its best before photos and Virtual 3D Tours are taken. Properties get the most interest in the first few days of hitting the market.
4pm Follow up
A selection of the homeowners I speak to are not in a position to sell their homes immediately so I allocate time specifically to follow up with a phone conversation. I like to catch up with them on how their plans are progressing and how I can assist, either now or in the future. It’s also important I provide homeowners with an update on the current state of the property market, both nationally and locally, along with any other useful insights they may find informative.
5pm Social media posting / content creation / video editing
I run my social media accounts under the name @thereadingagent where buyers and sellers can find the latest information about the current market, new listings in the area, and any top tips and tricks for stress-free home moves. Towards the end of each day, I put aside some time to respond to social media messages, share the latest property details, post interesting property related content and engage with the online community. This time will also be used to edit any Virtual 3D Tours I’ve recorded that day, and prepare new listing details for properties coming on to the market.
6pm Plan for the next day and log off
Around 6pm I will clear my inbox and look ahead at my diary for the next day, ensuring all my preparation is done. I'll then unwind from my day by going to the gym or heading out to spend time in my local area of Reading!
8pm Customer service
Naturally, most people are at work during the day, so over the course of the evening I will receive and respond to emails and WhatsApp messages. I tell my clients when they sign up that I am available for them whenever they need me!
Thinking of selling?
If you're thinking of selling your home in Reading and would like further advice from our Local Property Experts, simply download the Purplebricks app and book a valuation. Our Local Property Experts in Reading will be able to offer you practical advice on the market, what buyers in your area are looking for and an honest market valuation.