A some what rhetorical question, but one that did rather flabber my gast this week. In recent weeks, I have commented on how I still find myself surprised/amused/bemused/entertained at being spun any number of porky pies as to why a home owner has chosen not to list their property with myself. Following up a valuation done earlier in the week, I was told that Cheshire and Co had received a definite ‘nul points’ and would therefore be receiving a further ‘nul points’ in fees. Asking him as to the reason why, I was told, “Because I didn’t like you”. Well blow me down with a feather. Not like the Chesh? Pray, how can that be? And ladies of the Chesh Fan Club, please calm yourselves, there is no need to call the Samaritans or call on any of the gods to organise for some hideous fate to befall the gentleman in question. This was, I have to say, the first time in thirty odd years that a potential client had said this to my face; so ten out of ten for honesty. It did make me think for a while and reminisce on how all those years ago, the fledging Chesh was given some sage advice by his first boss. When attempting to gain any instruction, never forget these three things that the owner will be considering:
1. How do you value, my house/farm/cow/ewe/wife/daughter? (the unspoken words being that it has to reconcile with what I think that it is worth-even though I am asking you as the professional to value it).
2. What is your fee?
3. Do I like you? (at least more than my wife/daughter)
1. and 2. will always trump 3.
Thinking of this, I went back through my notes on the property that I had recently visited. I lost on all 3 counts:
1. He wanted £30k more than I thought it was worth. He had come to this conclusion because he had read a report from the National Statistics Office report that stated that house prices are now up 9.6%-some 13% higher-than in 2008. I complimented him on his research but asked whether he had also read in the same report that house prices in Wales are only up 0.5%-if that-so no change from 2008.
2. He told me that he already been quoted an all in fee of £500 by another agent.
3. Totally irrelevant. By this stage I was already in the realms of herding cats or bottling fog. And it didn’t help that my professional expertise, including knowledge of the aforementioned NSO report, did not reassure him of my capability or specialist knowledge but contradicted what he-the non-estate agency professional-wanted to hear and selected to use in his case for a higher valuation.
In conclusion, I didn’t value it high enough and in using my professional expertise I inadvertently insulted him. I wouldn’t like to wager what the £500 agent gave as a valuation, but I would hazard that for £500 the agent does not back up their valuation with NSO figures and knowledge of industry reports. And there you have it; we return to the theme that like of the agent (Number 3.) is determined by the answers given to questions 1. and 2.
That said, here at Cheshire and Co we are continually trying to improves the service that we offer to clients. With my next valuation, I am planning to offer a free puppy/kitten/signed Ed Miliband T-shirt/ tip on the 3.30 at Windsor. Any other suggestions, please send on a postcard to the office.