Do you have a bad estate agent?

How can you tell that your estate agent is rubbish?

The first clue is that your house still hasn’t sold. If your sale board rots through before your house sells, then the chances are your estate agent isn’t doing a very good job.

Another clue to watch out for is a lack of viewings. If you had a viewing within the first week but suspect that was the estate agent’s elderly mother doing him a favour, and have had nothing since, then he’s a rubbish estate agent.

If your estate agent put up photos of your house that make it look dark and dreary then you won’t inspire anyone to view. Insist they change the photos – and get some more taken on a nice sunny day.

Estate agents that don’t ask for feedback after you have a viewing aren’t doing particularly well either. You need to know why someone didn’t like your house and if they come out with “it didn’t have enough bedrooms”, then you can also blame your estate agent for that too. Why would he send someone to see a two bedroom property if they want to buy a three bedroom one?

Another thing to watch out for is how good they are at answering the phones. In these high tech days we have mobile phones we carry with us everywhere, they do our email too and unless you live in some really remote area you should always have coverage! So why are some estate agents almost impossible to get hold of on the phone?

Do estate agents make a conscious decision to avoid picking up the phone from people selling their house? If you worry this is the case then do a number withheld or ask a friend to ring them. If they don’t answer the phone to anyone that will include prospective viewers too!

Avoiding bad estate agents can be tricky. There are some who would sell their souls to the devil to get you to sign their 12 month binding contract, and it would appear from some of their behaviour that not only did they sell their soul to the devil, but they also timeshared with him their brain!

Test out local estate agents. Do a chart of how well they deal with your enquiries. Ask everyone you know which ones they have used and which ones have been helpful. The list might get smaller the more people you ask.

Research – who is actually selling houses – which estate agent has the most sale signs turn to sold signs? Always check on houseprices.co.uk to make sure the house has actually sold. It’s also good to have a good mooch through the properties for sale. There are one or two who keep properties on their books for years after they have actually sold them to make it look like they are more busy than they are.

Read the contract carefully before signing anything. This should be the case in all aspects of your life. People are often too quick to sign without taking the time and trouble to read through all the details.
You can negotiate on contracts too and a good estate agent will allow you to do this.

Read the section about terminating the contract carefully. Also ask the estate agent how many people they have looking for your sort of house. The ones who say “dozens” might well be lying.
Make sure the estate agent you pick is a member of a nationally recognised organisation. This means they have rules to stick to and someone to complain about them too.


Don’t forget it’s not always the estate agent to blame if your house doesn’t sell. If they have told you that they think the market has dropped in your area and you should reduce the price, and you ignore their advice, then you almost certainly won’t get a sale. It’ll be harder for people to be persuaded to view your house if they know you don’t want to lower the price too – as they’ll be aware of mortgage approvals and the valuations done by mortgage companies. If you are given advice by an estate agent then you should consider it carefully.

Another reason why your house might not be selling is if you’ve got some problem areas you’ve not sorted out such as a very messy house, unfinished DIY work, or a really grotty garden. Again you need to listen to advice from the estate agent about this sort of thing too.

Sometimes the estate agent might be terrible, but sometimes they’re selling terrible houses – it’s up to you to decide which is the case with your property!


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2 Responses to Do you have a bad estate agent?

  1. Adam Sawyer says:
    Hi, From the first week my girlfriend and I moved into our rented home, we already had trouble from the letting agents. Known as Prescott Hall, they have a gardener that comes around to the house to tend to the gardens. I came home from work one day to find the front and back gardens had been mowed. But to get to the back garden, access to the house is needed to unlock the gate at the side of the house from the back garden itself. I complained about this to the Prescott Hall, and they said that the gardener will be informed, and that it will not happen again. Two weeks later, it happpened again. Again I complained, and the letting agents assured me that it will not happen again. Five months later, I recieved a confirmation letter through the post, stating that the gardener has been informed. Amongst other things, as well as when the house was put up for sale, and we had people coming to view the house without our prior knowlwdge - standing there at our front door. Now the house has been sold, and we have moved out, we have the joy of trying to get our deposit back. I am now seeking legal advice due to some constraints put on us to get our deposit back. I have heard similar stories about Prescott Hall, and I implore anyone considering renting from Prescott Hall, to not rent from them. Regards, Adam Sawyer
  2. Joe8907 says:
    If they are not enthusiastic about selling your house when they come to value you it and don't bother really selling themselves, don't use them, they are not for you or your house.

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