The Launch of Two Estate Agency Firsts

Published on 29 October, 2014

We are delighted to announce the launch of two estate agency industry firsts, as we continue to revolutionise.

The first innovation consists of an automated text messaging service that books in viewing appointments for sellers and buyers. The system recognises requests and auto-generates text messages with virtually no human interaction whatsoever, yet still retaining the privacy of each party.

Hatched co-founder and former managing director, Adam Day, elaborates: “The automated text messaging system for viewings is a first in estate agency in the UK, and perhaps in the world. I’ve certainly never come across anything like it. There are lots of agents who send out text messages to confirm a viewing but that’s easy; we have been doing the same for four years. We’re always looking to push the boundaries however, and this is an obvious next step.”

The clever part of this new feature is that once the viewing is added to our bespoke software system, it generates and sends a text to the client with a list of times that the potential buyer would like to view. The vendor then replies to the text with their preferred time, which then automatically creates a text message to the potential buyer, asking them to confirm with a simple ‘Yes’, or ‘No’. Once the viewing time is confirmed, one last text is generated and sent to all parties to confirm the appointment.

This new system launched on a trial basis earlier this month and is already proving to be hugely efficient for our agents, who are spending much less time chasing potential buyers to confirm viewings, and for clients, who are benefitting from a quick and easy to use system.

Day affirms: “our clients and potential buyers love it. We have reduced the need to chase potential buyers by 50% because they just reply ‘Yes’ and turn up to the property. My concern when it launched was that ‘no-shows’ could have increased, but this hasn’t been the case at all. If anything, ‘no-shows’ have been reduced. The key success for Hatched is that the new system has made the business much more efficient, which in turn, means that we can continue to maintain our low fees and focus on what’s most important; selling properties.”

Importantly, the implementation of this new offering does not compromise service in any way since it continues to address the need to vet the potential buyer or tenant before they have viewed the property. The potential buyer will still call Hatched to request a viewing, so in terms of vetting, our agents carry out all the same procedures that a “traditional” agent would do.

The second launch (and another industry first), is the offer of a bespoke Google Adwords and Facebook pay per click (PPC) campaign for a client’s specific property. This is designed by our in-house marketing team for any clients that purchase the Hatched Social & Digital Marketing Package. A paid-for upfront add-on, charged at only £99.

These campaigns are designed to target buyers searching for specific property features and also target Facebook users based on demographic, location and the stage of their life they’re at.

“We’ve had an incredible uptake of this offering so far, with 21 packages sold in the first week of it launching” said Day. “We can never be accused of just sticking the house on the internet and waiting for the phone to ring. We now go looking for and targeting buyers online based on their search criteria and demographic. A buyer will sometimes search on Google before they go to Rightmove or Zoopla, because they will be searching for a property within a certain school catchment area, for example. We are researching relevant phrases on behalf of our clients, and getting potential buyers to see their homes before they even get to the big property portals. With Facebook PPC, we can target people within a mile of the property for sale, or based on the fact that someone has just had a baby or married, and might therefore be looking to move in the near future.”

Day continues: “I’m amazed no one else has done this yet, but it shows how stuck in the dark ages estate agency is when a ‘little’ online estate agent like Hatched is the one making the biggest leaps in the industry. I have a disdain for any estate agency, especially the newer online agents, that cut corners or put the business interests above those of the clients. We don’t. We’re a truly hybrid estate agency with honourable estate agency values, offering vastly reduced fees.”

“The most frustrating thing about the industry from my perspective is the lack of uptake of technology from the more traditional (or high street) estate agents, as well as the blatant disregard for their clients. At Hatched, we use technology and continually strive to improve the customer experience, whilst simultaneously trying to create efficiencies in our procedures and processes. It actually leads to costs savings for the business, which are then passed onto the consumer through lower fees. I just don’t think traditional estate agents will ever get it. And the longer that continues, the better for us.”

As we are one of the original pioneers of online or ‘21st century’ estate agency, innovation is at the very core of our business model. Adam, describes Hatched as “an agency that uses technology to drive efficiencies in order to deliver the best customer service and the lowest and most transparent fee possible”. It is this, and initiatives such as these two new launches that give the company stand out against its competitors.

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