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
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
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