Hot off the press is the news that the government is once again cracking down on estate agents and their trading standards. Just last month the government launched an inquiry into the estate agency market with the communities secretary Sajid David stating “Selling and buying needs to be cheaper, faster and less stressful!” He then went on to summarise some frankly appalling statistics from the latest research. Customer surveys found that:
- Of those that experienced delays, 69% of sellers and 62% of buyers reported stress and worry as a result of the delay.
- 46% of sellers had concerns about a buyer changing their mind after making an offer.
- 24% of sellers would use a different estate agent if they were to go through the process again.
Here at Norgrove Sales and Lettings we completely agree! Navigating the property market can be difficult enough as it is without the added complications of an unhelpful and stress inducing agent! So what exactly is going on with the biggest agencies?
SO WHY ARE THE BIG AGENTS DISAPPOINTING SO MANY PEOPLE?
Well firstly, you never get what it says on the tin!
If you are selling your property one of the main things you expect your agent to do is sell the property! Not only in terms of an end goal but to market it so well that you are inundated with offers for your beautiful asset! Now a days you cannot just hand over your property and expect the agents to market it, you have to buy in to a marketing package and contract. This means that the agent will offer you a number of packages including different marketing plans for a set price, this can range anywhere from £400 to £2000+.
On the most basic of packages agents will include it in their window but will expect you to conduct your own viewings and liaise with the prospective tenant yourself. It will not include any legal help with solicitors or mortgage advice. So essentially you are paying £400+ to have them print off a photo and blu tack it to their window! Here in Kidderminster there are a number of properties we pass from other agents that have been on the market for months with no luck! So make sure you check exactly how your agent will market your property and that you are happy with that service! Don’t pay a lot of money for very little!
Who are you again?
One of the most common complaints about the big agencies is that you can never speak to the same person! This is the hardest part about dealing with a big office and large amount of staff- the same person never usually answers the phone! When you are selling/buying a property you NEED to be kept in the know about everything that is going on! Because big agencies have such a high number of properties and a high staff turnover any messages can sometimes get lost in translation or the member of staff will not know anything about you!
We recommend you visit TrustPilot there you can look at the reviews for all the agencies up and down the country and read the best and very worst of the previous customer reviews! Pay close attention to the customer service they received and if they had a problem with a certain member of staff or how they dealt with a problem. With research on all these things you can make sure that you receive the best customer care possible!
But I thought I had already paid for that!
When selling your property you need a whole host of things that are legal requirements! The most common ones are a Gas Cert and an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). It’s a good idea to check what services are included for what you are paying, if they do’t include these things then you will have to pay extra for these as you can’t sell a property without!
Other agencies also ask for extra money for things such as a mandatory pre-tenancy clean which can set you back about £80, as well as extra money if you want to move a tenant in on a Saturday! All these extras can add up to some seriously big bills! Finally, another thing to look out for is whether you have already paid to use their services such as mortgage advisers. Certain big names will have it written in their contract that you have to use their advisers in order to obtain a mortgage such as a buy to let! They often have a hefty joining fee whereas other mortgage advisers are free to use, so make sure you are in the know on what you are paying for and what you’re not!
SO IF THE BIG GUNS ARE SO DISAPPOINTING, WHY ARE PEOPLE NOT SELLING IT THEMSELVES?
Well here at Norgrove’s we turned from expert estate agents to expert researchers in a bid to find out exactly why people aren’t selling their homes themselves.
One of the biggest reasons why people aren’t selling their property themselves is because they simply don’t have the time! One lady stated that the prospect really doesn’t appeal to her. We know that being employed can sometimes take over our lives no matter our career, so to be selling a house on the side is simply too much work. If you were to sell the property yourself then you would need to manage a whole host of things.
For example when it comes to marketing the property, without being an agent you won’t have access to the big property portals such as Rightmove or Zoopla. Without these the pool of potential buyers can be slim pickings. Marketing however is just the beginning, there are other things to think about such as negotiating the asking price and finding the time to conduct viewings and instruct a solicitor. The workload can seriously begin to pile up.
Therefore many people feel like they need the help and guidance of an agency to help them along when it comes to selling their home.
Another key reason why people weren’t selling their property themselves was that they simply prefer a friendly face who KNOWS what they are doing! One person we spoke to said the reason they wouldn’t sell their property themselves is that they simply don’t know how to go about it! Like we said earlier, there can be so much admin work and communication that needs to happen that it can be such a struggle for those who feel like they are out of their depth.
This person said that they were more than happy to hand everything over to an agent who knew exactly what they wanted and exactly what needed to be done. They communicated it over effectively and she was always able to see the same face everyday!
TO SUMMARISE: ALL THE EVIDENCE POINTS TOWARDS THE MIDDLE GROUND- AN INDEPENDENT AGENT.
It makes sense, if you don’t have time to do all the leg work when it comes to selling a property or you just really don’t know about it then there needs to be a middle ground. Using an independent agency is that middle ground. They have the knowledge and client support to offer those who are looking for it.
BENEFITS OF USING AN INDEPENDENT AGENCY
Independent agencies will always have a data base of prospective buyers or tenants who are actively looking and are ready to sign. They are usually always pre-screened so an agent can match up these individuals perfectly to the property, whereas bigger firms simply do not have the time to do so.
Local agents will often work very closely with the smaller team around them in order to progress a customers needs faster. They are experts in their area so they know what the clientele in the area is and what the asking prices in the region are. They also often have great links with solicitors and mortgage advisers in the area therefore they are able to provide you with a more rounded service.
Lots of the big firms (as discussed earlier) will demand a huge amount of extra money for services which should be included. For example when it comes to marketing the property, a big agency may only include the very basics of marketing and will require you to pay extra for professional photos etc. However at Independent agencies like our selves these services are included in our marketing fee’s and every little expense is revealed from day 1.
Finally the biggest benefit we found when speaking to our clients is that you feel like you are being cared for. Every time you come into the office or need to call up you speak to that same friendly face every time you need something answering. Even if they are not in the office the message is passed on straight away and doesn’t get lost in a sea of co-workers or answering machines.
So there you have it, here at Norgroves we highly recommend that you make the most out of all the services that are on offer. Make sure you are getting everything you want out of your agent and that you aren’t paying the price for poor service!
If you want anymore information or need to chat about what services we offer call us free on 01562 822004 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org