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What to ask an Estate Agent?

February 2020

How do you get the best out of an estate agent? How do you stay front of mind with them?

What to ask an Estate Agent?

Full transcript below:

Alex: A couple of things to sort of ask your agent when you are with them, as I’ve slightly eluded to, mystery shop, before you potentially go and see an agent go round to their offices as a perspective purchaser. Walk into their offices, see how you’re treated, how knowledgeable are the front of house team, and just get a eye round the office and see how well run the operation is. Another one just to check is how many hot buyers, how many people are really ready to go, they’re cash in hand, how many people can that estate agent genuinely call. If they are spinning you numbers up into the 50 or 100 they’re probably spinning you a yarn. If you’re actually whittled down into a concentrated number you’re probably looking half a dozen, sometimes maybe up to 15/20 and that as a generalisation is more along the right lines. Another thing is just to check who is actually handling your sale at the end of the day because yes as we’ve said, and we’ve talked through, a very nice chap Fred, he’s sat in your kitchen but as we said, he’s a valuer, he’s going to be on the road quite a lot of the time, who back at the office is going to be handling your sale? You need to know that, you need to build your rapport with them so if there is ever a problem or something needs sorting, you’ve got direct access straight away to the right individual. Viewings is the interesting one, it’s something I always get asked actually, as your agent who would actually accompany. It may be that they’ve got an old sergeant major from the army who’s now retired that does it, it may be one of his other viewing team, it may someone from the office. But again, check who it’s going to be, meet with them, show them around the house so they are knowledgeable and can sell your property. Personally, I always like the fact than an estate agent does the first viewing. This is so that they can sell your property. So, if a buyer is flagging up an issue, they’ve got the skills to get round it and say well yes, we appreciate that it’s a avocado bathroom but actually they’re worth quite a lot of money, plus these are the firms you can speak with to sort it out and they’re trying to sort of get around the issue. When it comes to second viewings, maybe even third viewings that potentially is when you the homeowner, the vendor wants to potentially sort of loiter round in the background, because the end of the day the purchaser is investing yes of course in the property, they’re also investing in you as an individual. Don’t be put off when I say they want to see the whites of your eyes, but they want to get to meet you and get a good feel for you and there are a few hoops to jump through up to the point of exchange, the want to know that you’re going to be on a similar wavelength. So again, going back to this whole sort of personal rapport, it is quite important. The obvious one again, a lot of people will feel rattled by this but do check your terms of business with the estate agent, any penalty clauses, any withdrawal notices. A lot of the time some agents will just turn up on the day to take brochure details, quickly put the terms of business in front of you and say I can’t start until you sign it, you quickly rush sign it and give it back to them, all of a sudden, you’re committed. So, all I would say is please just take your time and say give them the afternoon and you’ll return it. For the most part I have to say a lot of agents in terms of business are fairly straight forward, its just again the odd minority, the old rogue out there who does it slightly differently. So, how to get the best out of your agent. As I’ve mentioned it’s getting to know the other staff members. Go into the office regularly, stay in touch with your estate agent and the person in the front of house team. But, do keep each conversation or dialogue with them short and brief. At the end of the day estate agents are sales people, they don’t want to be bogged down with house owner ringing them for 20 minutes, half an hour, they’d much rather lots of little short, bitesize conversations or emails they can quickly get to grips with. And as I’ve said, exclamation mark, albeit, it’d be nice at the end of the day it’s a people business so again if the agents got a great affinity for you and it’s all going very friendly if something goes wrong he’s more likely to do something about it and it doesn’t matter with your estate agent or a car salesman or selling bricks, it doesn’t matter the principal is exactly the same, you always help someone that you get to get along with. And, go into the office, keep in the front of the staffs minds and this is whereby they always need to be thinking about you, they are handling a large number of properties and they are always sort of plugging your property. One of the best trick I think to do this is actually buy them some cake. Genuinely, I know that you’re laughing but t does actually work, because again, we go back to the personal rapport, if you bring in a selection from Lancaster’s Bakery, six cakes call it, they’re sat out back where everyone’s having tea and coffee in the afternoon, will say thanks for bringing these cakes in, well I didn’t, it was Alex this client of ours, what a nice chap, must look after him, that reminds me we’ve got that viewing I must chase that up, all of a sudden you’re front of their minds. Small point but it does work I promise you, been there and done it.

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