Antoine Lurot Hits ‘Refresh’

Introducing the Website with a Return to Total Privacy

Dear Reader,

Being of an older generation, much older, I have watched the emergence of computers and growth of the internet with fascination. Indeed, I was an early advocate. Lurot Brand was one of the very first firms in London to equip its staff with those iconic apple macs, even though we could barely afford to do it.

But over the years, admiration has turned to a degree of horror. Processes, but more importantly humans, have become slaves to their computers and anonymised by their screens and keyboards. Physiognomy is altered as larger thumbs and bowed heads reflect the new dependence on mobile phones. Who hasn’t had to slam on their brakes to avoid the totally unaware girl who steps off the pavement deep in their phone and then been met by a furious stare?

So, all hail the great business model from the Silicon Valley puppet masters, but not for its effect on humans. Are we not already seeing some organisations and indeed Governments, either trying to partly return the genie back into the lamp or doing the opposite?

Please don’t misunderstand me – I am no Luddite. Indeed, my purpose for this letter is to introduce you to our new website.

“So what?” You might ask. I know that if you want to buy, sell or let your property that you’d expect your chosen estate agent to have an attractive website to showcase your property.

But do you truly appreciate that so many in our industry are taking the opportunity to monetise your details with pernicious cookies? Some of those irritating, third party unsolicited emails you receive may well come from agents keen to maximise alternative revenues and share your details with organisations that you have no interest in.

Throughout our 50 years I have sought to be transparent, totally frank and always on the side of the clients who are paying me to market their property – they have contractually agreed to give me a small but substantial slice of their house if we succeed… “thank you Sir or Madam, I am on your side!” It’s therefore very important to me that Lurot Brand continues that philosophy with our new website.

Lurot Brand can categorically confirm that we are not selling your data or using your information in any way shape, or form other than to ensure that the only cookies we use solely enable us to recognise you and your interests when you visit our site. When we are instructed by a client, we appreciate the trust that is placed in us and so it is with our website.

In the same vein, I demand clarity and want to debunk the convoluted processes or language employed by so many which serve to confuse and irritate. We want visitors to the website to find what they want within a couple of clicks because if you can’t find what you want quickly then you will abandon the site and not return.

And trust me, we do want you to return as we constantly update with properties and also interesting information, facts and hopefully some entertainment. Please keep telling us if we’ve got it wrong!

As a fan of TrailFinders’ founder, Sir Mike Gooley who set up his firm just months before Lurot Brand, I hope he won’t mind me reproducing some of his published comments which so accurately echo my own. “Mr Internet is curiously unimaginative… he makes you feel empowered while actually denying you the unseen which would have made all the difference” and “the internet just wants you to commit to an electronic contract, incapable of any amendment, personal care and attention.” And, “While it seems to know the price of everything, it knows the value of nothing”… More of his comments are paraphrased later.

Ultimately, we see our website as the principal tool to encourage the one thing that is critical to the success of our business – human interaction.

There is no substitute for talking and face to face communication. To be a good agent you need to really understand the hopes and desires of your clients, purchasers and prospective tenants. Filling in forms on a computer doesn’t work because there are far too many emotions, tastes, subconscious reactions and plain human whimsey to consider. Recognising desires and aims is so much more accurate when discussed. Only then can we match dreams and budgets with the most suitable, available, right brick and mortar. If in doubt, please check out the current share price of Purplebricks on the London Stock Exchange: floated at around 390p, rose to nearly 500, at the time of writing around 17p…

Human interaction comes into its own when a vendor and purchaser are aligned. Nuanced conversations, negotiations and personality management all come in to play as the agent works hard to navigate this process. Too often a firm that relies on emails and ‘interchangeable’ negotiators find that the delicate marriage of owner and buyer is destroyed through a lack of understanding of the individuals and an over reliance on technology. Email is vital but we tend to default to it rather than talking. Tone and intent are often lost when a written message is delivered to your screen. The sender doesn’t even know when it will be read, how it will be received or if it will even be seen at all… This is like a message in a bottle thrown into the sea.

So, I do hope that you will have the opportunity to explore our new site. As a mews dweller I hope that even if you’re not currently in the market, you’ll find the history, breadth of knowledge and information of interest. Finally, of course, you can trust that your information is safe with us, it will not go anywhere else to enhance ‘their’ financial ‘experience’ at your expense, or track you.

And to end this, being three quarters French and a quarter English and spent three quarters of my life by choice in London – I think you will forgive me if I offer a wise old French saying: “pour vivre heureux, vivons cachés” which is at the very heart of my internet privacy philosophy.

The actual translation “of that saying” will be on our new website because it is the signature theme to our beliefs, along with the GDPR and all other legal requirements.

Happy, private clicking…

Antoine Lurot