Amongst other things, Gareth advises here to choose your agent wisely.
Its just three more weeks…… yes, I know, England beating the team ranked 112th in the world does not mean that those of a patriotic disposition should be rushing to get “Football’s coming home” tattooed on some part of their anatomy; but whether or not they need the extension on the ticket for the team bus in the short stay car park at Heathrow, the beautiful game will be dominating the media (even more so than usual) for some time. I can empathise and indeed sympathise with Jason Cundy who spoke for many when commenting that it was, ” a tough listen” with a female commentator and that he, “didn’t want to listen to a high pitched voice for 90 minutes”. Jase, I feel your pain, although you are at least getting paid to listen to it whereas here in Ibiza, I am the one forking out for the current Mrs Chesh to question my competency over everything from the positioning of the sunbed to the application of sunscreen.
Ah well, retiring soul that I am I have maintained my customary quiet demeanour and have restricted myself to only twelve phone calls every hour in my usual dulcet tones. It was only after one such call that a gentleman approached me to ask whether I was an estate agent and if so, would I give him some advice? As I had just about had enough of looking at pert bottoms and barely covered bosoms… I suggested that we have a pot of tea.
It transpired that my new friend was thinking about selling his house and could not decide upon an agent. We established that he had had several agents out and the valuations were all about the same. Never mind that I said, what will they do for you and got the standard response of loads of offices, busloads of buyers with cash burning a hole in their pocket etc. I asked the question again, “What will they do for you?” and explained that he needed to ask himself which agent he thought had his best interest as their number one priority. He wanted to know how to establish this so I said let’s ring some of the agents that came out to see your property and ask them some questions.
Three agents were asked the same question: “Mr estate agent, which is your allocated day (s) in your office for ringing around and getting price reductions?” The first two said, “we have never been asked that before”. That’s as maybe, but what is the answer? Cue waffle waffle, fudge fudge. Number three said that they didn’t do that, but would work closely with the vendor to decide together whether the price needed to be reduced. Well done number three.
The second question was, “How long into my contract before you ask me for a price reduction?” Again, this generated a lot of spluttering and twittering from the first two, but number three went further to earning his estate agency scout badge when he said, “Let’s agree a date right at the start and if I can show you that we have done everything that we can by that date, then we will discuss it”. The boy was on fire.
The simplest question came last, “Can you recommend a solicitor for me?” “Yes, of course” was the cry form all three parties (with some amount of relief from numbers one and two that at least this was a question that they could actually answer). What somewhat reduced their ardour was the second part of the question, “You will of course confirm how much, if anything, you will be getting as a kickback?” At this numbers one and two had a sudden recurrence of that nasty spluttering that had afflicted them earlier. When my new sidekick, who was by now thoroughly enjoying himself as Phil Spencer’s natural successor, said that he might ring the solicitors suggested and ask for a quote, numbers one and two went into total meltdown. Number three who was playing a blinder said that he got nothing from the solicitor as his main aim was to get the job done and, this is where he scored the match-winning goal, he suggested unprompted that my friend ring the suggested solicitor directly to get a quote.
After the calls were made my now new best friend commented that he could see what I was getting at. I pointed out that none of the questions that I had given him mentioned fees at all. So putting cost to one side I asked him who was his preferred choice. Number three. So of the price was acceptable for the service being provided would he still choose number three? Yes. My work was done.
As I departed I left him with one final thought. What gives many proper estate agents the hump is the phone call that starts with, “I am thinking of selling my house, what do you charge?”, so Mr Vendor simply wants cheap then.
A prospective vendor should be asking the agent what they can do for them, the property owner, and why they should be instructing him as an agent. A good agent will be motivated to get the instruction and will prove why he (or she) is worth the money.