“What does your local knowledge add to anything? Tangibly”

“What does your local knowledge add to anything? Tangibly”  

House prices in West Cornwall

Does local knowledge help increase the sale price?

This challenge was laid down by Russell Quirk, CEO of eMoov during a ‘spirited’ debate on Twitter, following some press coverage of online agents in the national press and some hard data I had published in a previous blog*.

So, does local knowledge trump data and achieve tangibly better prices for consumers? (95% or so of that data being provided by traditional estate agents sales, it should be pointed out)

You can help

What I need help with is for agents across the UK (online and high street) to provide a statistically significant sample of genuine, like for like** sales figures of sold properties using HM Land registry and Zoopla/ Rightmove data.

“Local knowledge as a value added is totally unquantifiable and unprovable. Smoke and mirrors” 

The methodology I used was to

  • Use the pro.zoopla search for all agents in my postcode areas for January 1st 2014 to 31st October 2014 inclusive
  • Search for all ‘SOLD’ properties during that period and switch to ‘company’ and ‘data’ view.
  • Eliminate all agents bar online agents from the search and identify all property sales that may offer a ‘like for like’ comparison using HM Land Registry data
  • Identify all the properties for comparison and, using a site such as Nethouseprices.com or Mouseprice.com cross check the sale price achieved by the online agents versus comparable sales within a 0.25 mile radius of near identical properties – condition, size, location, style, number of bedrooms etc. Please do not cherry pick, this needs to be an honest, accurate and fair assessment.
  • Email me the following information: Postcode areas assessed (very important to avoid duplication of data), the number of sold properties during the period by online agents, the sale price achieved (HM Land Registry figures) of those properties and, comparable sale prices achieved for similar stock by traditional agents in the same period – please supply full address including postcode for transparency and checking of data (all of which is publicly available so no data protection issues to worry about)
  • Whilst not essential, it would also be of great help for a future blog about the advantages/ disadvantages of this business model to agents and customers, if you could also provide the following data for online agents at the same time: Total number of new instructions during the period, total number sold, total current live stock levels.
  • Please provide the above information by Friday the 28th of November – Any data received after this will be included in updates to the blog

Once I have this data, I will publish my findings ‘warts and all’.

If online truly offers customers amazing sale and fall-through rates for a greatly lower fee, with no significant difference in selling price achieved, this data will be a wake-up call for all traditional agents to review their business models.

However, I suspect, from the sample I took in West Cornwall (which Mr Quirk is very quick to emphasise was a small sample compared to National figures) the results may shine a cold light on some of the claims made by online agents.


*In the data I checked using the only two completed sales in the area for the entire year by one online agent, one of the properties sold for £25,000 less than an almost identical property two doors away.

**By like for like, what I mean is examples of almost identical properties such as 2, 3 and 4 bedroom terraced, semi and detached ‘estate’ style homes rather than large ‘individual’ properties where prices can vary dramatically due to many factors.


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I welcome feedback so please feel free to leave constructive criticisms or ask questions below. If you could also take a second to rate my blog and pass it on to others who you think may find it interesting that would be great. Thanks.

20140124-071202.jpgAbout Chris Wood: Chris is an estate agent with over 25 years of property experience. His business, PDQ Estates Ltd is based in Penzance and Helston, West Cornwall. He has worked with all sizes and types of businesses from single office independents to the management team and board of RBS and Tesco. A former President Elect of the NAEA and board member of NFoPP until he resigned in 2009, Chris has always championed the highest professional standards forestate agents in the UK. No stranger to the media, he has appeared on various programs including BBC, News 24, ITV, independent and BBC radio and is a regular contributor to trade journals, local and national Newspapers. Chris is on KloutLinkedIn Ecademy Facebook and Twitter Married to Amanda, they live in Penzance with their children who are slowly flying the nest, along with their three spaniels. In his spare time; Chris likes to keep fit and is a long-standing member of the Territorial Army. In 2010 he mobilised for a tour of duty in Afghanistan with 1 Rifles as part of 3 Commando Brigade.


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