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Frustrated with your Estate Agent?

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Wed 07 Jun 2017

Frustrated with your Estate Agent?

Are you frustrated with the service you're getting from your Estate Agent?

Are you receiving the service you expected?

I've been asked by many friends and acquaintances numerous questions about selling their homes and property over the years ..

Here are a few of the Frequently Asked Property Questions and my answers:

1. My agent doesn't give me feedback after viewings!

It is required under The Property Ombudsman's Code of Practice for Residential Estate Agents to record any viewings that have been arranged, feedback, and pass to the Home Seller within an agreed timescale.  So not only is it a requirement by the TPO, but it's polite and should form part of customer service to give feedback to you.

I'm sure you wish to know what potential buyers think about your property - ie will you get an early offer!

I have noted that sometimes potential buyers don't wish to give feedback, because they may not want to offend you, but quite simply, your property may just not feel right - and that may be difficult to put into words.  Occasionally people viewing give out lots of 'OOhs and AAhs' making it appear that they love the property - only for this to come to nothing.  The beauty of having your Agent accompany viewings, is that he/she can dig deeper and try and get beyond the sounds of appreciation. 

Be prepared to hear things you don't want to hear - ie the property's 'too small/expensive/costly/etc' - and remember it's a monetary transaction - keep emotion out! 

 So yes, you absolutely should get feedback from your Agent - but agree when and how often you would like it, and by what means, email, text or phone call.

2. My estate agent is always late for viewings or turns up unannounced, and even cancels without calling me…

Seriously, this is unacceptable!  You need to have a word with your Agent, and if things do not improve, speak to his Branch Manager, and then see if there is an improvement.  If not, look carefully at your contract with the Agent, and consider changing for a reliable, courteous, and professional Estate Agent instead.

3.  I got 1 valuation and now my friends are telling me I should've got 3!

I always advise getting at least 3 Agents to value your home or property. You'll generally find that Agents quote reasonably similar values and if you are quoted say £450,000, £465,000 and £470,000 - you'll have a pretty good idea that your home will fetch around the £460,000 mark (depending on market conditions, and supply and demand).  Do your own homework too: check on property portals what properties are being marketed at and you'll probably not be too wide of the mark.

Or you can try Callaways Estate Agents Instant Online Valuation.

4.  The agent I liked the best has quoted the highest fee! How can I get him to drop his commission?

You can always ask, and I'd opt for the agent you clicked with when you met, providing all the other boxes are ticked - see my Questions you should ask your Estate Agent.

Tell your preferred Agent what you've been offered by his competitors, but you may have to accept his fees, certainly if he includes more services within the fee and offers a tip-top service, getting your property SOLD very quickly (it's a small price to pay). 

5. My Agent is organising an Open House event on a day inconvenient to me!

i) How 'inconvenient' is it for you if you do not sell your home?  A great deal of effort goes into organising Open House events - agreeing appointments with potential buyers, putting Agency staff on site and the follow up afterwards, eliciting feedback, extracting offers etc.  

ii) Strike while the iron's hot, and allow your Agent to use all the tools he has at his disposal to sell your property.  Plan on being 'out' for the day, organise a social occasion with friends and family, and let your Agent get on with the job.  Having said that, your Agent shouldn't just spring an Open House event on to you without some advance warning of at least a couple of weeks, which you'll, of course, agree to.  

iii) Did you discuss Open House Events with your Agent in your Marketing Plan?  Your Agent must take your Instructions regarding viewings, so if you say 'NO', mean 'NO'

6. My Agent has sent my property's Sales Particulars to sign off and I don't like the way my home's been described!

Your Agent must by law comply with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (or the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008, where applicable).

That said, your Agent must disclose any information he is aware of in relation to your property in a 'clear, intelligible and timely fashion'.  He must also ensure that all statements relating to your property (photos, oral, or in writing) are accurate and not misleading.

So if your Sales Particulars state that your kitchen requires updating (and you know full well you installed it some 40 years ago), then so be it.  You're desired outcome is to sell the house to a buyer who will proceed to Offer, Exchange and Completion.  Agreed, it came be an emotional process selling your home, but put your feelings to one side - form a strong team with your Agent to get the job done!

7. I'm sure I've had offers on my property - I don't think my Agent is passing them on!

By law, your Agent must tell you about all offers received at any time until contracts have been exchanged, unless the offer is an amount or type which you, as Home Seller, have specifically instructed your Agent, in writing, not to pass on.

You should respond to all offers as soon as you can, so your Agent can keep records.