What Just Happened, Guys?

What Just Happened, Guys?

“What Just Happened, Guys?”

Lewis Hamilton

What just happened was that Lewis Hamilton lost the opening Formula 1 race in Australia.  Turning probable victory into a disappointing second place.

The blame, so often the fault of driver or mechanic, this time lay at the door of the software.



“Their battery of computers, fuelled by every figure the boffins have ever crunched, told them that Hamilton would be in front, once Vettel had stopped. If their man’s deficit was no more than 15 seconds.

Not so, clearly.

Hamilton later criticised the reliance on machinery over human instinct. “You are relying on computers, on data and technology to come out with the right strategy.  I wish it were more in my hands because I felt  like I drove as well as ever today.” – Sunday Times

This reliance on technology is fast becoming a disease.  Stopping people, from all walks of like, thinking for themselves.

From the simple act of allowing children to use calculators in exams.

To hospital patients, suffering from asthma. Less likely to die if the algorithm is taken at face value.  More likely to die if doctors act on that conclusion.

Estate agency is not immune to this disease.

In fact, it’s not far off from leading the way. Persuading homeowners that an instant online valuation is in their best interests.

When it’s clear, that’s not the case.

From the Homeowners Alliance website, an organisation that purports to be “on your side”.  When it comes to choosing an estate agency:

“How does estateagent4me work?”

Seems that they rank estate agents on how LIKELY they are to sell your home. How QUICKLY they will sell it.  How MUCH they will sell it for.  And How MUCH they will charge.

All competence factors, as regular readers will appreciate.  Nothing, whatsoever, about the character of any agency.  In theory, the slimiest of estate agents may top the list.

HOA explain how this ‘tool’ calculates results.

“How likely an agency is to sell your home is determined by the percentage of all properties found advertised by this agency.  On web sites during the last 180 days. That were subsequently advertised as sold subject to contract.

How quickly an agent will sell your home is determined by calculating each agents average time to reach Sold STC for all properties advertised by this agent on web sites during the past 180 days.”

And so it goes on.

To explain the four criteria they use to rank the agencies.

The Illusion created by Online Estate Agencies

Suffice it to say that it is easy to manipulate each of these four key performance indicators.  Rendering the facts close to useless.

This interesting question, though, appears on the page.

“Why do I have to tell you about my home when I start a search?”

The reply is that “Once you’ve entered your details, we can show you the best agents in your area.”

File under Avoiding the Question.

The next two questions hit the nail.  On the head.

“Will you pass my data on to estate agents?”

“Will you pass my data on to anyone else?”

Yes.  To both.

And that, in a nutshell, is what this ‘tool’ is for. Collecting data, then sold to estate agents and third parties.  Not for finding the homeowner the best agency.  Not for impartial advice. But to entrap the homeowner in a cycle of unsolicited phone calls,  email and begging letters.

Mercedes invest millions to perfect their software.  It should be foolproof. But the race technicians, on the day, weren’t capable of making an informed decision.

There is a trend among estate agencies to advertise their competence.  At the outset, Agency Negotiation thought that this data mattered.  Whether the average days on the market was 65, or whether the % of asking price was 99%.

We were wrong.

What matters is that the agency can show examples of competence.   But, more important, can inspire trust.  Where the undertaking is relational rather than transactional.

Over-reliance on software can damage your wealth and sanity.  The computer says this is the best estate agency.

We have a different point of view.

Lewis Hamilton wishes it were “more in my hands”.  Choosing the very best estate agency, so too,  requires that hands-on approach.  By all means use software to inform.

But initiative is something they can’t build into any transparent or black-box algorithm.

It is, of course, much slower than the software.  And not infallible.  But at least we can explain What Just happened.

Sadly, It seems it’s becoming a lost art.


Unequivocal advice, principled decisions.  And a series of questions that strip away the hype. We’re happy to help you find the best estate agency.

Any questions, drop us an email to: [email protected]

Thanks, as always, for reading:)