22 May Could Have Been Worse – Could Have Been….
Could have been worse…
Could have been A look at how to BE an agent, instead of how to choose one.
That egocentric lightweight estate agent, masquerading as a media luminary, instead seems blissfully unaware of the crashing irony of a recent Facebook Live post:
“A Look at How to Choose an Agent and Probably, Rather How Not to. And a Market Update too as Estate Agents Stretch and Scratch and Start to Get back to Work”.
Twenty eight minutes that I will never get back. Better that, though, than the money some poor vendors and investors will never get back, having misplaced their faith in his last estate agency venture.
Aside from a lack of punctuation, as with most P.R, it’s a misleading, somewhat provocative headline.
“And a market update too” might suggest an ancillary topic.
The primary topic being the much more interesting question of How to Choose an Estate Agent.
And that’s what he mentions, as the main point of doing this FB Live post.
That’s what vendors want to know because, as our ‘media tart’ admits, 60% of sellers choose the wrong agent first time, before finally selling with another agent. They do need help. Just not from that source.
Much more interesting, how to choose an estate agent, than “a market update too as agents stretch and scratch and get back to work”.
Yet, I had to wait a full 19, of the allotted 28 minutes, before our ‘sage’ got to the main point.
Up to then, it was his usual ‘positive spin’ on market conditions coming out of Covid.
Strong market ‘fundamentals’ such as cheap mortgages and our undiminished passion for property.
Selective data apparently confirming unemployment will be positive, although with a brief disclaimer that in 2-3 months people may well lose jobs.
Are you listening Rishi Sunak? We are not, by any stretch of the imagination, entering one of the worst recessions in our history. Shame on you, Chancellor, for spreading this misinformation. The “property market is coming out of Covid extremely strong”, says our learned agent.
Anyhow, back to the title.
“A look at how to choose an estate agent and, probably, how not to”.
One might expect that an experienced agent who had encountered the sector’s rich tapestry of success and failure would have learnt a fair bit.
Might he suggest vendors focus on asking agents what their average number of days on the market is for their portfolio?
Not that this is any true indicator of a good agency, given that some agencies will deliberately withdraw a property that remains unsold and soon after re-list the same property as a ‘new instruction.’
Might he suggest asking an agency the ratio of asking price/sold price they manage to achieve? Again, not really a true indicator when some agencies deliberately over-value to win the instruction.
Or, how about asking the percentage of agreed offers/completion ratio? How many agreed offers fall through and why?
It’s rare for any agencies to share this information with a vendor, but I would query why any agency would be loathe to provide it, if asked.
Of course, many agents will point a vendor in the direction of TrustPilot and other review sites. If a vendor is hoping to uncover some good agents, better be quick before the C.M.A (Competition & Markets Authority) announces it is to launch an investigation into fake and misleading reviews online.
What took them so long? Some of these review sites are becoming an embarrassment to themselves.
So, to the $64,000 question.
How does our ‘esteemed’ contributor finally suggest we choose an agent?
Here’s a few of his quick tips.
Please take note, the highest valuation doesn’t make the best agent. And, if the agent can’t provide ‘evidence’ by way of comparables, they are probably trying to flatter with an excessive valuation. Don’t sign up for a 12, or 16 week sole agency agreement.
Well, that should weed out a few agents. But then again…
Down to the nitty gritty, now.
“Check out the ‘Sold’ boards.” is his advice to vendors.
“If an agency has a high number of ‘SOLD’ boards, they are probably a good agency”.
Wow, that simple?
Or,they may be just good at interrupting homeowners to the extent that they become a social pest and have manipulated the transaction to their own advantage. Regardless of achieving the best offers.
Next up – use an agency recommended by a friend or relative. You’re in this for probably a six month stretch,he says, so you need to have a ‘relationship’ with any agent.
The thought of spending six months negotiating the sale of my home with this self-appointed ‘expert’ would be enough to make me think of never selling, ever again.
And finally, what we’ve all been waiting for – choose an agency with great accessibility.
Said differently, 24/7 availability, speed of response.
It’s apparently the “new big thing” in estate agency.
No matter, the serf-like status that this endows on any estate agency.
In the words of Keller Williams:
agents should T-O-A-S-T your inner circle, or you will be toast.
Talk to them
Send them something
So they never forget you. Overkill, over time.”
If you consider such an agency, there will be no problems with “accessibility.” Privacy will be the problem.
All in all, an opportunity to get a few media inches by that most basic of P.R stunts – positive spin that has little foundation in reality. Advice that if followed, won’t get you the best estate agency. But since that’s not the point of this little charade, it won’t matter.
How to choose an agent?
The blind leading the blind, in that instance.
Here’s my advice, in FOUR WORDS, for choosing the best agency.
Choose character over competence.
If you’re an agent, demonstrate character over competence.
If you need some impartial advice on choosing a great agency, drop me a line.
Or, if you’re an agent that chooses to stand out, rather than one that desires to fit in, there’s hope for you yet:)
Happy to help.
mob: 07875 141436