Secret Shopper – Estate Agents

Tonight on Channel 4 at 9pm there’s an episode of Mary Portas’s secret shopper. This week it’s focusing on estate agents so it’ll be fascinating for anyone with any interest in the UK’s housing market.

A must watch program!

“Mary is granted access to the sales team of a north London agency where she tries to improve relations with customers, but soon she is clashing with the boss, who seems to have a very different opinion on what good service is”

You can watch the previous episodes of Secret Shopper here on 4onD – they’ll put this episode up sometime after it’s shown.

Well I watched this and was intrigued to hear some of the comments. I still don’t know what prestigious turning means. Do estate agents work for the seller or the buyer? They work for the seller but they can only do that by finding a buyer. No mention of pricing was included in this program at all which I thought was interesting.
It did seem to focus on the need for good details and information.
I tried to add up how many times I’d been shown round a property by an estate agent compared to a seller. It’s about even – and once I was shown round by a relative of the seller as they were abroad. I found the estate agents often don’t know the information about the property, or can’t answer every question you might have. However in the case of some properties I’ve viewed it’s been because it’s a probate or repossession property so they just won’t know.
The idea of adding the positives and the negatives to the property detail is one I approve of. One property I viewed once had a major damp problem and needed a damp proof course. The owner new this and wanted the estate agent to tell viewers before they arrived. They weren’t though, and viewer after viewer pitched up and found the most amazing mess of a damp problem on display. A little honesty – requested by the seller – had been ignored. Why? I don’t know – those serious about buying a property that needed work wouldn’t be that put off, and the ones that would be put off would just be having a wasted trip anyway.
I agree with Mary that honesty and openness is needed – but how many sellers would want to advertise the fact their house lacked a feature, or even be upfront about having been burgled.
Worth a watch if only for some of the silly estate agent speak they use, and the amazing hair of “gel-boy”.

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