An estate agency which bills itself as being “a new breed of estate agents set to revolutionise the industry” has opened its second office.
Lodestone Property uses local residents to conduct its viewings on a freelance basis, has no high street presence, and uses bloggers to market its properties.
Lodestone was launched in September 2016 in trendy Bruton, Somerset, by self-styled ‘olderpreneurs’ Cathy Morris-Adams and Sue Macey.
It has now opened in Wells, and from its two bases its eight staff will cover buying, selling and letting property across Somerset.
Macey said: “We wanted to do something different and be ground-breaking in the industry.
“We don’t have a high street presence as shop fronts are a thing of the past in our opinion, despite most of our competitors having them, and we would prefer to invest in a high ratio of staff to ensure that our sales complete.
“We still love to welcome clients to our offices, but very few visitors turn into buyers, so why would we waste money when it doesn’t guarantee us any revenue?
“We also don’t use the traditional marketing channels: we work with a wide demographic-reaching network of bloggers, who have helped us target audiences which fit with our current listings, as well as increasing our profile on social media platforms.”
Lodestone uses people who live close to particular properties to conduct viewings.
A spokesperson said: “Our extensive viewing team is mostly mature women who have brought up families in the area – they love houses and they love Somerset.
“Before our properties go on the market, about three of our viewing team who live nearby will be introduced to the vendor during a familiarisation visit to the property.
“This will enable them to give the viewer an informative experience.
“However, we believe that our buyers are buying into a lifestyle as well as bricks and mortar, so to have someone show them a house who lives in the area and can tell them about local schools, clubs, pubs, restaurants and distances, we believe enhances the experience.
“After a viewing, our staff feed back to the office team who can then follow up immediately.
“Our viewing team are paid on a per viewing basis as they have other interests as well.”
Sellers are also asked to say what they have loved about living in their house: this feeds into a “What I love about my house” feature on the agent’s site, and into social media.