AIBU to be pissed off with my estate agent?(40 Posts)
House has been on the market for a month and we've had several viewings. When we went through the procedure for viewings, the manager told me that he would do viewings whenever possible or it would be someone else from the branch. I asked if I could do them myself but he was adamant that this was not a good idea. He told me that he would leave a brief note on the kitchen table after the viewing then ring the next day with full feedback. Sounds great.
In reality, we had 3 viewings arranged for last week while we were away on holiday, Mon, Weds and Fri. I heard nothing from them at all, so rang on the Weds to be told by a stroppy 20 yr old that if they had anything to say, they'd ring us. Thought this was a bit rude but bit my tongue. Friday's viewers sounded really keen so when I hadn't heard anything by Sat about Weds or Fri viewing I rang the office - phone went to answerphone 3 times despite being office hours. Rang again on Monday and the manager answered the second time. When I told him that I was wondering how the viewings had gone, he said, 'Yes, we thought that might be why you were calling' implying that they'd been screening my calls.
Whilst I do understand that I am rather keen (time is short on the house we want to buy), I don't think I'm unreasonable to a) want feedback and b) expect them to answer the bloody phone to me when I will hopefully be shelling out thousands in commission.
I would appreciate the advice of anyone with more experience in this than me - is this normal? Would I be better doing my own viewings when possible? Should I be considering a new estate agent?
Yes. Consider a new agent. We were on the market nearly a year with one agent. Went with another, sold it within a month.
Thanks, that's helpful. Went with this one as a friend used to work there and she sorted me a deal for 1% commission but they really don't seem to care. The thought of having the photos re-done etc is a headache though.
What about using Purplebricks or something (low cost, do your own viewing etc)?
Bloke two doors down started with one, ended up with two, neither of whom managed to shift his very nice house. He then employed a third-Imagone, who seem quite
fierce keen and the place sold within days. I know it's a pain to change agents, but don't hesitate.
If you can, do your own viewings. You get a good sense of the potential buyers and can actually tell them something about living in the house.
This is not normal. At my agency we tell vendors that they will be given feedback within 48 hours of the viewing but, in reality, it is usually within 24 hours. If I haven't managed to speak to the potential purchaser within the promised timeframe (and some do just vanish off the face of the earth) I would still call you to tell you that.
On the other hand I also don't like to give feedback on the same day as the viewing as it is rarely meaningful. Most potential purchasers will tell you they love the house when they are asked on the day as they feel put on the spot and don't want to seem rude. You will generally only get honest feedback once they have had time to think things over, discuss matters and sleep on it. If I gave you feedback on the day I would frequently be getting your hopes up for them to come to nothing!
And they should not be screening your calls. That is just bad business practice and anyone in my office caught letting calls go to answerphone during office hours when they were actually in a position to take the call would find themselves having a "meeting" with a manager pretty quickly!
The question of you doing your own viewings is always a difficult one. Some vendors are very good at it and others are appalling and could put off even the keenest of buyers. The problem is that as your agent I can't always judge which catergory you will fall into until it's too late. Generally I prefer to conduct viewings myself as I do find that people will be more honest with me if the vendor is not present which gives me a better chance at overcoming objections and securing a sale. But if you wanted to conduct your own viewings and were insistent I wouldn't stop you. It would make a refreshing change from most vendors who would like me to be available 24/7 to show people around at everyone's convenience apart from my own and also seem to think that their's is my only property and will shout at me if I ask them to conduct a viewing our office can't cover rather than lose the appointment altogether.
Sorry, I've waffled a lot. Overall I think your agent sounds a bit shit and I would ask the manager for a face-to-face "review meeting" where you can voice your concerns and agree a way forward. If you still have no joy then look to get out of the agency agreement if you can and go elsewhere. The only exception to this being if they are also selling the house you want to buy, in which case it may be in your interests to stay with them but be very pushy until you start to feel they are taking your best interests into account.
It'soutthere - out of interest, did you reduce your price when you marketed your home with the second agent?
Thank you. I suspected as much. Think I'll give them until Christmas and then switch. Does anyone else think that they're totally out of order in screening my calls?
We have never done our own viewings and don't know anyone who has, but their behaviour sounds off so I would happily change when contractually possible, and tell them why.
Do look for another agent, some branches have a poor attitude and we've had experiences with an agent who wasn't interested and didn't seem to know how to pitch our property.
We couldn't really face all the photography and paperwork again but the new agent send us more suitable prospective buyers, kept us posted, and we sold fairly quickly.
hotelredface - cross-posted, sorry. That's really useful context, thank you very much.
I now that if I promise don't to phone someone at work with an update I'd be expected to do it, even if it was to say that there's no news at present so I was really surprised at their total lack of contact.
In the current climate, do you think there's any benefit to being in the property section of local papers. We aren't, even though I know it's widely read locally. Other arts charging roughly the same gave weekly adverts.
I agree, switch agents. In the meantime, block your number when calling them!
I cross-posted with everyone Chickoletta! You had no responses when I started typing.
To be honest I don't remember the last time I took an enquiry from someone who had seen a property in the newspaper. All the agents I know agree that local press advertising is pretty pointless these days and is only really still used as a tool to gain new instructions as potential vendor's like to flick through before they choose an agent and like the look of the more prominent agents. As a sales tool it is entirely useless and I know plenty of large and small companies who would like to pull their press advertising all together and spend the money on their online marketing campaigns. However everyone is too scared to be the first agency to actually do it
I wonder if it’s the reduced commission, but they are shit. When ever I’ve sold a house I’ve always had proactive feedback and never had to chase. Screening your calls is appallingly rude.
They are going through the motions, find another agent.
"Think I'll give them until Christmas and then switch."
That's a good plan, little will happen before Christmas. I would still schedule a review asap and be very clear about what you want from them. Some random thoughts:
1. If you want to do your viewing, do them. I generally think this is a better plan if possible. Few EAs are as knowledgeable and invested as the owner of the house.
2. Being on Zoopla and Rightmove is what matters for marketing. I certainly wouldn't pay extra for local papers.
3. Photos and blub need to be good. Does it give room sizes? Does it keep EA speak to a minimum? Does it highlight the key points and not do lots of stating the obvious?
4. Get a couple of friends to mystery shop the EA. For example: ask about houses just outside the bracket you are in, and see if they push yours.
5. With your next EA negotiate a tiered commision. Give them 1.5% if they get top whack. 1%, 0.75% down to 0.5% if you have to drop a long way.
"I wonder if it’s the reduced commission, but they are shit."
1% is a perfectly good amount of commission these days. I don't think it makes any difference- some of the worst EAs I've contacted have charged stupidly high commission. The little local one we used last time got 0.75% from us and we were under offer in 2 months at a good price, when the market was pretty stagnant.
We did all house viewings. My EA rang the viewers within 2 hours and fed back to us the same day. Also chased prospective buyers for an update on their position.
Your EA would piss me right off!
Oh and we agreed a commission rate that was 25% of their standard rate. They still knew me by name when I rang and even recognised my number!
Check the contract you have with them and sack them as soon as you are able, because there will be a time delay after you serve notice on them.
An agent who does the viewings should be someone with whom you have had meetings and has knowledge of your house and the points to emphasise. Large chain agents generally have, in each branch, someone answering phones, someone making appointments, someone else doing photos etc, etc. The trouble is that they don't communicate with one another and you seem to be on the receiving end of poor service. Small, local agents, with a few branches are more invested in selling your property in my experience.
"because there will be a time delay after you serve notice on them"
Do not sign another contract with a tie in period. Except perhaps a 3 month minimum when you first join- that is fair.
When you get a contract with terms you don't like, make sure you cross them out and initial the change on the copies that you sign (obviously having agreed with the EA).
If change agent.
At 1% commission they don't give a monkeys about selling your house. Id also worry that as well as being rude to me they're rude to potential purchases.
They sound terrible. By comparison ours marketed our house before coming on the market. They called 24-48 hours after every viewing. Almost every viewing was on an open day to make it easier for us (2 small kids making a big mess all the time so we wanted to minimise times that viewings took place!).
We had 2 weeks to sell and they did it. They pre-vetted viewers so we didn't get time wasters. They came to take photos when I wanted them to, went live on Rightmove the same day. One of 2 agents did the viewings, both had seen the house in advance.
We priced what we thought was competitive, they got us asking price.
They were the most expensive agent (they reduced from 1.5 to 1.25 but I couldn't get them any lower) but I have no doubt we made the right decision - we gave them a tough brief and they delivered.
Also they had no tie in period, so we could have walked off to another agent at any time.
I think part of your problem is likely to be the commission agreed as others have said - there's nothing in it for them to give your sale equal priority with others and they probably also resent you chasing (which I am not criticising you for - of course you want to know what's happening) because they see themselves as doing you a favour and therefore you should not be hassling them. It's a crappy attitude.
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