Def: A Poisoned Chalice: Some thing that harms the person it is given to, although it seemed very good when they first got it.
Def: Drinking the Kool-Aid is a common American expression. Roughly translated it means "to blindly follow". It usually has a negative connotation.
Homeowners, bombarded with messages on an almost daily basis by estate agents, might be forgiven for assuming that the seemingly innocuous T.V ads are there to amuse and entertain.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The ads are deliberately aimed at those vendors, so easily duped. They gloss over facts with superficial concern. "Don't pay commission when you sign up with us". Not like those 'nasty' estate agents that charge exorbitant fees to sell your home - is the implication.
Well, the truth is whether you pay a fixed fee through these opportunist agencies, or a % of the selling price achieved via a traditional high street agency, you will end up paying for the service. The point is that you should pay when you receive a great service. Not on the vague promise of service.
The vague promise from some of these 'local property experts:
"We will try to sell your home. If you were reckless enough to agree to an attractive valuation. One that stirs the interests of buyers looking for an absolute bargain. One that makes our life so much easier.
We can do this. Just sign on the dotted line and we'll take care of the whole thing. Once our fee is safe and secure, you're in capable hands. If we get some interest (on your property, not on the fee), the process is pretty straightforward. Nothing much to go wrong. And you have the support of our dedicated head-office team."
This affectation of competence borders on hypocrisy.
Reviews proliferate of this process falling apart once the dedicated head-office gets involved. https://www.allagents.co.uk/purplebricks/ for those of a curious mind.
Alternatively, you may have been seduced on valuation by another estate agency and the 'local property expert' has to work that bit harder to win your instruction. By increasing the valuation above and beyond what others have estimated. Their internal dialogue might then differ somewhat:
"We won't even try to sell your home. Now that you've signed the agreement and we've had our fee, the chance of it selling at this inflated valuation is virtually nil. We suggest, after a respectful period, that you lower the asking price by £5,000 and we're sure that will get the ball rolling. If you're not happy doing that, we're quite prepared to keep it on our web site for as long as it takes. You never know."
The very fact that you aren't paying for results means that the local property expert isn't obligated to deliver a result. They can claim to be anything and everything. As long as you are convinced that this really is a 'good thing', you will sip from the poisoned chalice.
And, at that precise moment, there is no turning back.
If you've made an error of judgment, it's painful. It's expensive.
You've flushed away the best part of £1,000. It can sometimes take months before the effects of the 'poison' are felt. No viewings, no communication from the 'expert'. Back to square one.
Or, you've sold your home for less than a premium price. "Was it really that easy? The buyers made us an offer at the asking price. We saved thousands by not using a high-street agency." Everything seems fine.
Until the neighbours, with identical specifications, got £10,000 more for their home. Just a month later.
If you're going to drink from the poisoned chalice, be prepared. It's not life-threatening, but it doesn't feel so good after the first sip.
The traditional high-street agency is not without fault. They, too, can persuade you to drink from the chalice. Especially when it comes to a deliberately inflated valuation. But, you have to feel some compassion for these agents. Incapable of winning your trust by fair means, they resort to trickery and false hope. Eventually, they hope to persuade you to lower the asking price. But, unlike the 'local property expert', these agents have not been paid regardless of the result. It's more annoying that you got fooled by these agencies and wasted time.
But the option to walk away is still there. A narrow escape. Many drank the Kool-Aid and never recovered.