Last week’s flurry of activity about 3D floorplans (over five days I had four PRs trying to get me to write something about this innovation) reminded me of past ‘great ideas’ which were the subject of much hype but turned out to contain rather less substance.
Like Betamax and audio cartridges, these six great ideas below have either fallen by the wayside or at least delivered something less than their publicists promised at the outset.
Good on the property industry for trying new things but here’s just a reminder that this year’s heavily-funded ad campaign might just be next year’s embarrassing turkey.
Fly-throughs: these were the 3D floorplans of their day, promising to transform our house-buying process online with CGI footage of how new homes would appear (but which somehow never conveyed the smallness of the rooms);
Tepilo: it’s still going but this sell-by-owner website, which caused waves in 2009 and led to sexist abuse against Sarah Beeny by a few male estate agents, has not caught the public’s imagination. Try scouring for homes in my postcode, EX3 - there aren’t any.
City Centre Living: it’s now a decade ago since the property industry forecast that so many people would want to rent in regenerated city centres that an infinite number of buy-to-let apartments could be built, almost all it seems in Leeds and Manchester.
Gated Estates: after some years of data showing declining crime in most areas of Britain, a few PRs try to sell what’s left of the gated concept. But these schemes are now considered socially divisive - a blow to those who like keeping poor people at bay.
Online Auctions: remember websites where you could see rival bids, allegedly from investors snapping up buy-to-lets without visiting. I wrote five online auction stories over the years - more than the number of homes sold this way, I would imagine.
Iraq: yes, the head of one high-end estate agency’s international department promised in 2003 that within five years there would be Iraqi holiday homes widely sold within five years. He wins the Tony Blair prize for Successful Middle East Forecasting.
If you would like to to comment on this article, click HERE to e-mail Graham.