Put a pin in it

Map of South Africa with pins

Have you ever wondered why when you sell your house via an agent the available property portal listings have the following message when you click on the Map icon: “This property has not been mapped”?

If your agent does not know how to put a pin in a map for your house you should consider finding someone else. Not even Sunday show days reveal the physical address. No, the would-be purchaser has to follow a cookie crumb trail from major intersections. It’s an antiquated technique.

Can we all agree that the geographical location of the property on sale is actually important? I mean it provides context, available transit routes, shopping centers, distance to schools, you name it - a pin on a map gives you the whole story. The agent is the person you have entrusted to sell your house for its maximum value, right, so why are they effectively standing in the way of people finding you by not putting it on the map?

The main reason is that the agent just plain doesn’t want to. Why?

  • They want house hunters to contact them because then they have your email address so they can try punt the rest of their stock off on you, often regardless of whether it meets your requirements.
  • They are worried that if they don’t have sole mandate on the house that it provides an easy way for other agents to find them and undercut the commission they are asking.
  • They are worried that a house hunter may try to start a private sale, thereby cutting them out.

None of these are good reasons to withhold the location of the listing and they certainly aren’t in the best interest of the seller, in fact it seems very much in the favour of the agent. If the value an agent provides can be so easily undercut by another then they are probably charging too much or not providing enough value.

The industry needs a shake-up and the rolling wave of online technology is going to do just that. The same has happened in the US and UK where now you can browse away online till your heart's content. It’s only a matter of time before location becomes compulsory across portals and really the sooner the better. I’m hoping Property24's new map search means that they are heading in that direction.

Apart from the big portals, the only other group that can drive change are the sellers. If they insist that the agent puts an accurate pin for their house (and verifies that they actually do it) then they know that they are being represented in the best possible light and they will probably be getting a competitive commission to boot.

There are agencies like the Dogon Group that seem to have gotten over the ridiculous paranoia and seem to be flourishing in a competitive market. They obviously add true value. I would use them.

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