Has Rightmove become the new Tinder? Are we treating property apps like dating apps?
Swipe. Match. Chat.
Swipe. Match. Buy?
I recently met an applicant who had phoned into the office and booked to see two properties that had caught his eye. Whilst on the viewings, it transpired that these houses wouldn’t suit him at all. The rooms were too small and the garden not big enough. Why had he chosen these? I had the perfect house for him – why weren’t we there? We went on to the rightmove app and pulled up the property in question. He frantically scrolled through the photos and finally said ‘Oh, I know why I didn’t like this one. Lilac bedroom’.
One quick swipe and the decision was made. Swipe. Swipe. Nope.
Can we really discount potential properties at a glance? Shouldn’t we at least be reading the particulars before disregarding them altogether? Would we not give another human the courtesy of reading their bio? Seemingly not.
The pictures on a mobile phone are approximately 6cm x 3cm (depending on the phone) and there are usually upwards of 10 photos plus on each property. How long are prospective viewers spending looking at properties after that initial click? I would most likely gauge about 10 – 15 seconds per property (although some Rightmove stats would suggest less than 4 seconds), before deciding whether or not to ask for further details, or a viewing.
Prof Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic wrote an article about the ‘Tinder effect’ (17 Jan 2014, Guardian Online).
He surmised that “Tindering comprises a series of simple and intuitive steps: you first assess the picture, then you gauge interest and only then you decide to start a (rudimentary) conversation”.
He also cites “Digital eligibility exceeds physical eligibility”. He asks if Tinder profiles are realistic?
Can the same be said for the fisheye lens photos of bathrooms or panoramic shots of postage stamp gardens?
Do online property sites increase average levels of attractiveness compared to the real world? Chamorro-Premuzic on the subject of Tinder states that “people spend a great deal of time curating their profiles – uploading selfies from Instagram and reporting well calculated and sophisticated food, music, and film interest – one is left wondering how on earth Tinder users are single in the first place … but only until you meet them.”
So that beautiful double bay house on a leafy idyllic street – is it really all it cracked up to be? That expansive rear extension might turn out to be a coal shed, just as Susan from Derby might not be a 5’10” leggy blonde. Are we at the mercy of the ‘Rightmove effect’? And is it affecting our judgement and causing us to bypass great properties, or luring us in to beautiful nightmares under false pretences?
How can we overcome finger injuries from over-swiping?
You have seen a property you like……you swipe right with trepidation….. now what?
Call the agent – discuss the property and your needs – does it suit? Is this the right property for you? Or are you the victim of the ‘Rightmove effect’?
Let your estate agent become your property love expert. He or she will have the skills and expertise to recognise when a potential match comes along. You are unlikely to find the love of your life or your dream home if you just scratch the surface so you must dig a little deeper.
Would you marry someone after a first date? Then why should you be expected to offer on a property after a 15 minute viewing? Prime Location states that ‘The average viewing time is only around eight to 10 minutes’ (although our personal experience would say around 15-20 minutes). If you like a person, wouldn’t you stay for a second glass of wine to get to know them a bit better? Potentially arrange a second date……maybe dinner?
Arrange to see the house a second and third time, take your Mum & Dad*, ask questions and if you have more questions after – email your agent.
Don’t be so quick to disregard Bob from Bournemouth because he looks a bit shabby around the edges. Look beyond the initial pictures, delve a bit deeper, swipe right and you might just find your soulmate…..
*don’t take Mum & Dad on dates.
by Mandy Doyle @ Madison Oakley
Member since: 26th September 2011
Carey Gilliland is blogging on behalf of Madison Oakley Estate Agents. Outside his busy job as an estate agent Carey is a keen gardener (he grows specialist chilli pepper varieties) and loves sea fishing.