Do house sellers get the estate agents they deserve?

It’s often said, although from whom the original quotation came from is debated, that people get the government they deserve. This is usually taken to mean that an electorate that is disengaged, disenchanted or apathetic will, allow a government to be elected that will not look after the electorates interests and, often, quite the opposite. So when the public feel they are being badly governed, is that the fault of the electorate or the political parties for not engaging with or selling their political beliefs?

I believe that a lack of engagement, thought, care and passion causing dissatisfaction somewhere along the line is true of most situations in life and love but where I mainly deal with it on a daily basis, is in estate agency.

The average house price in the UK is over £200,000. Most sellers will have worked very hard to be able to buy their first property and around two thirds of all property that agents are asked to sell, still has some form of mortgage on it. It takes hard work to be able to achieve that dream, so why do so many homeowners suddenly seem to lose the power of thought when they come to sell and end up employing an agent that doesn’t care about them or their property?

Is it because they believe that all agents are bad and, therefore, there is no point in trying to find a good one? Or, that the agent who promised the highest sale price was, naturally, the best at valuing property? Perhaps, it was because the very shiny shoes and pushy sales patter distracted them from reading the contract that ties them to the agent for the next six months? It may, of course, have been these or any other number of other reasons but the end result is usually the same; the seller receives a poor service.

Does that seller deserve bad service? I don’t think so but, by the same token, they shouldn’t be surprised.

In life, we tend to get out what we put in and a bit of time and effort spent doing your homework about the local agents and the market in general will pay dividends when you come to sell. Whilst a good board presence is an excellent indicator that an agent has lots of property on their books, it doesn’t always mean they are good at selling it. Do they only sell one in every twenty they have for sale for example or, like my company, do they focus on a smaller register of property and achieve a higher property to sales ratio? How long do is take them to sell a property on average (www.home.co.uk can offer some useful figures for your area that may help you with your research)? It seems obvious but, if you need to sell quickly, this is a key fact you need to know at the earliest stage possible.

And what about the agents actual service? All agents can (and generally do) promise a great service but you won’t know whether their promises have any value until its too late (by which point you may be tied into a six month contract if you’ve been very unwise). All agents are not the same and will have some form of good or bad local reputation. So don’t be afraid to ask around at the school gate, in the pub or your work colleagues for who they would use and why and, as important, who not to use and why. Who has a good reputation for keeping you in touch with what is happening? Which agent has a good record of negotiating a good price and which agents just tell buyers the lowest price the owner will take for a quick sale? And with around a third of all property sales in the UK falling apart before exchange; don’t forget to find out which agents are skilled at keeping sales together after the offer has been agreed. Every agent will tell you that they do all of those things but if you don’t do your research… you may not receive the service you desire.

Good luck!

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