Details, Details, Details...

It seems that property sales details - rather like property stories in most newspapers and online - are becoming shorter and more picture-based. The problem is, no one seems to have told vendors.

Central London estate agents have, for several years, offered very short details: it was almost as if the more expensive the property, the briefer the descriptions and the more photographs were used. This was especially the case for apartments.

Agents explained to me, almost a decade ago, that buyers would often impose their own taste on a property they purchased by fitting new bathrooms and kitchens in particular. So not only did the seller not fit new ones themselves ahead of a sale, but there was little need for an agent to extensively describe the rooms in question.

That was then. That justification is even more likely today: no one really cares about TV aerials, the kind of carpeting used, how many power points or telephone sockets there are.

This is 2013 - these things are done differently these days. And anyway, Sarah Beeny and popular culture TV gurus always tell us to “look beyond what you can see” when viewing.

The state of the market has accelerated this change.

People who move in the post-recession era are, in the main, older and better off than previous house buyers. Often, they can afford to make substantial changes to a home.

Couple that with advancing technology and the proud kitchen of someone who moved in to their home in 1995 may be, frankly, a bit embarrassing now and it will be gone within a few weeks of the new buyers moving in.

Hence details are shorter in London and in big cities too. But not yet in other locations.

Last week I had conversations with three south west England estate agents: they all said they wanted to shorten their property details because buyers wanted good photographs, reliable and accurate floor plans, and perhaps an external picture or two. Nothing else, at least on paper.

“The rest either doesn’t matter or can be found more accurately on Streetview or Google Earth” explained one agent.

The reason details have not contracted in size in the south west or in many other parts of Britain is down, it appears, to sellers.

They are reluctant to sign-off a description of their property if it looks to be too brief or fails to do justice to the Axminster carpeting fitted in all the downstairs rooms back in 1998.

On this occasion, the vendor may just be wrong and the estate agent (who after all earns a living only be successfully selling) may be dead right. Size may be important, after all.

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