I want to move to Lancashire and contribute to the economy, but the estate agents aren’t helping me 

Based some 100 miles away in Staffordshire, a professional couple keen to move to the North West say they are struggling to find a new home because local estate agents are being less than forthcoming.
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Adrian McCarthy, 66, and his wife Pam are used to moving around a bit. “We’ve moved around more than is sensible over the years,” said Adrian. “I think this would be our 23rd move, which is stretching the bounds of common sense to be honest with you! We’ve moved for work - I do research and my wife works at business schools. 

“We’ve been fortunate to work all round not only the UK but also abroad,” added Adrian. “Because moving to a different area is time consuming and a big challenge, we’ve found that you can learn a lot on the internet and get to the stage where - if everything looks good on Google Maps, the police crime map, and things like Tripadvisor - we ring up people living on the road and then just make the move.

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“One of the challenges we’re found with the Blackpool area is that, compared to other parts of the country, more estate agents are unwilling to do virtual viewings,” he said. “It’s been a real shock that even some of the bigger estate agents are coming back to us with just a straight ‘no’ and some have actually said they don’t have company smartphones [for virtual viewings].”

Still in the market for that forever home yourself? Check out these local homes for sale...

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Having made a couple of trips up to the Fylde Coast already to look at a few homes they were particularly keen on, Adrian wishes more estate agents were willing to go that extra mile to help save him a four-hour round trip for the sake of a 20-minute viewing. 

“It beggars belief,” he said. “As a rule, this experience is pretty unique to Blackpool and nationally in general, estate agents are willing to help because it helps save time. We’ve even found that there’s less digital provision in terms of video walkthroughs on the listings as well. When you do a WhatsApp walkthrough, you can spot things, talk to someone, and ask them to give you a closer look. 

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“Even with things like when you see a home is on a bus route - I’ve been on a WhatsApp walkthrough where the bus has gone by and I found out that it’s a full-sized bus rather than a smaller one, which makes a big difference,” Adrian added. “That’s why virtual viewings are great from an auditory and visual perspective, plus you can ask someone to check something for you.”

Because of the issues they’ve had, Adrian says he and Pam are becoming slightly disillusioned with the idea of moving to Lancashire.

“It’s been a serious obstacle to us moving to the North West,” he said. “The affluence of towns is associated with their ability to attract and retain professional staff. The realisation of significant aspirations for an investment that’s going into Blackpool is dependent on its ability to attract and retain professionals, and this is a significant stumbling block for me.

“What it communicates is that ‘we’re not forward-looking’ in terms of technology,” Adrian added. “In effect, the estate agents are acting as gatekeepers because they’re making it extremely difficult to relocate to the area. It’s an immodest thing to say, but really we had the anticipation of being able to contribute to the aspirations of Blackpool and it’s a sad thing that people from a professional background are being prevented from doing so.”

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