Online Estate Agents a word of caution(7 Posts)
We are selling our place through Emoov at the moment and I thought I would let you all know our experience.
We have had the usual snoopers and Sunday afternoon characters, along with 'we can't afford it but always wanted a look inside' etc. We missed one viewer because it was at short notice and rather than ring my landline or send me an email, they sent a text to my mobile. I had already told them to try my landline first as I cannot get a mobile signal at home. I happened to be right by my phone working on my PC.
All of this is frustrating but not a cause of great concern, so we have persisted with Emoov.
However, our most recent viewing - all the information we were given was the person's name, and that they were not on the market. I rang Emoov to ask them to get some more information as we are getting a lot of timewaster rather than potential buyers, and was told (via email) they were local to me, even living in the same postal area. I usually Google viewers to check they are genuine people, but could find no trace of these people on 192 etc. When the viewers arrived, 20 minutes late, they told me they got lost as they lived in North London, a good hour's drive away. So either Emoov didn't call the viewer and made up their postcode, or the viewers for some reason lied to Emoov, which I doubt very much as they were an extremely nice couple. I contacted Emoov, but have received no apology merely 'How did the viewing go?'
Because viewings can be booked online, I asked their support team what questions they ask when someone tries to book a viewing. I was told
"their full name, email address, position on the market and financial position and postcode/door number. At the moment however when booking online, they have the option not to leave a postcode/door number."
They do not mention asking for a phone number, merely email address.
In my opinion, this is a potential security concern.
Many of you will remember the case of Suzy Lamplugh, an estate agent who went to a house to meet a client called simply 'Mr Kipper'. Suzy was never seen again.
So if you are a lone woman trying to sell your house through Emoov, they only take the minimum of information from the online viewer, and I would advise you to always have another person present when viewings are done, especially ones at short notice.
I don't know about other online agents 'pre-vetting' their viewers, but would be interested to know your thoughts and experiences as we are genuinely considering going with a local agent post referendum.
Interesting post. Having sold our house last year, going into rented and now buying this year, I have completely revised my opinions re estate agents. Yes, bricks and mortar EA's cost thousands rather than hundreds, but ours came for every viewing, at our request. They held the hand of everyone in the chain and were unstinting in their help and support.
Now we are buying we find the online agents are fairly lax with obtaining details, no pdf's to download, just hard work! We are buying through a local agent and again, their local knowledge and continual contact has been a real eye opener. I think they really earn their money!
My mum just sold her house to the first viewer via EMoov.
They insisted on proof of funds before taking the house the market.
They've been massively professional, taken far more interest than any local agent (who make you do the viewings anyway) and my mum has saved £5K.
We've sold twice with them, each time they were amazing, totally above and beyond. One was a few years ago and we had the main man dealing with our sale for us. So, in total as a family, they've saved us 12K.
I guess everyone's experience is different though and you'd probably get the same with any online agents as well.
Interesting post OP. I hadn't thought of the security angle.
I was adamant that I'd use an online agent when it came to selling, as it looked like money for jam. I also self-managed my BTLs. After a bad experience with a tenant I've now gone with a large local agent to market a property (for rent), and I must say they've been great - it's a fairly average property, they got the keys on Monday, held an open day on Sat at 3pm, by 4pm I had three offers in.
I'm properly impressed. Would now likely use a high street firm to sell, eventually - I expect that what they charge in fees they gain in property price.
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We went with EMoov 3 yrs ago and from our experience, I couldn't fault them. The house sold in 7 days, they gave us good advice throughout and they chased the buyer as needed.
I hadn't thought about the security aspect (which is a good point) but would be surprised if any traditional estate agent were different given the limited info we have given when viewing houses.
We went with emoov earlier this year and thought they were brilliant....literally not a bad word against them. So helpful throughout the whole process.
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