Posted by: housingdabble | August 4, 2009

Can a National Estate Agent provide a ‘Fine’ service

Independent agency Haart has rebranded its prestige homes using a new ‘lifestyle’ marketing method, in a bid to challenge rivals Fine and Country.

My question is whether a national agency can really tune  in to the top end market with any real success. This market place at the moment is the reserve primarily of three types of agent:-

  • National Groups purely focussed on Top End – Savilles etc
  • Smallish Independent  Agents  that captures a niche
  • Fine and Country Chain – the latest entrants to the Top End and making a fine job of it

So what is the Haart strategy? Well, their press release says they will interview sellers, use enhanced photography including dusk and aerial shots, and bespoke photograph album-style inserts to promote its properties. They will also use a professional copywriter and handbag sized particulars will include details on the wider geographical area of the property, famous owners and historical points of interest.  

The man they have for the job, Dean Heavside was noted as an ‘expert in selling a lifestyle’ by The Times last year, in an article on premium agency brands.  I don’t know Dean personally, but I do know his former partner Roger Lake (Tops property) and they always did an impressive job in marketing.

But what exactly can Haart offer this market that will enable them to be successful? None of the other mainstream nationals have ever made a good fist of top end.

I believe the success in this sector is about good marketing executed in the most finite detail with absolute passion. Each office and individual involved in the process has to be able to consistently carry it off and that is where a big chain struggles to succeed.

This type of service is very difficult to replicate and maintain over a large group of offices and the reason that the Fine and Country brand has scaled so well is the attention to detail at the top that is then carried through locally and normally at Owner/Director level.

I can’t see this being successful, no matter how good the glossy brochures and content – A step too far for an agent of this type.


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