I was discussing some folk who are currently selling their house today, which occasioned me to recall the perfidy of estate agents. In common with anyone who's ever sold a house, I remain perenially stunned at the amount of money it costs to have someone who a) has a phone, b) has a window, c) has a collection of hooks for keys.
I'd almost like to know more about the innards and workings of an estate agent, because it seems to me (and I'm sure to many others) that it should be possible to hugely undercut the existing agents and still make a handsome profit. Basically, what we all need is: easyEstateAgent. We need to persuade Stelios to get into the field and to set up little orange estate agents all over London, combined with a really efficient internet booking and listings system. Charge a flat fee or maybe just a much lower percentage (say 0.25% rather than 1.75%), and watch as all the other peculatory bastards fell into a big heap.
It's one of those ideas where I just can't see why it hasn't happened already. Of a similar ilk: why doesn't someone in the TV world ditch these endless karaoke talent shows (X Factor, Fame Academy, Pop Idol) and do a 'battle of the bands' show that actually involves people who can play instruments and write songs? And why is there no TV show that reviews computer games competently? The occasional show that does show up is inevitably aimed at eleven year olds and shown on odd channels at odd times of the night; this seems bizarre given that the computer game market is as big as the cinema market and that large chunks of the consumers are adults.
Maybe someone in the relevant businesses could explain to me why it's not possible, but nobody I've ever discussed any of these things with has thought of any obstacles.