It’s become everybody’s favourite pastime in recent years, dragging Estate Agents through the mud, criticising the service they provide and (in some cases) questioning their professionalism. The tabloid press have had a field day and in many surveys, Estate Agents now figure as one of the most hated professions in the country.
In some cases of course, the criticism has been justified but in many cases it has been a case of journalists and armchair commentators simply jumping on the bandwagon. Estate Agents are an easy target of course, a high proportion of the population are home-owners and the house buying process is a very slow, stressful process. With Estate Agents being right in the firing line during what often takes several months from sale to completion, somebody was always going to get the blame.
The latest trend is to dismiss estate agents as being surplus to requirements and encourage vendors to sell their property privately. “Save thousands” are the headlines. I recently read a review of an Estate Agent: the vendor explained how they had been forced to shell out thousands of pounds for the agent to simply “upload the pictures to the web”. It was all very hysterical.
My Estate Agency recently completed a house sale for which we received a fee of £1500. The work involved in earning that fee included the following:
1. Two hours research before travelling to the house to carry out the valuation which took up a further 2 hours including travel time.
2. Letters and contracts sent to the vendor before going on sale. Then another 2.5 hour visit to the property to take photos, draw floorplans and collect data for the Energy Survey. A full days work ensued to process all of the photos, create brochures submit the Energy Survey and upload all of the details to our own website and the other web portals.
3. Sending the brochures to a professional printers and paying the cost of.
5. Advertising the property in the local press with a half page splash (£380 per page)
4. Dozens of phone calls to arrange the 15 viewing appointments it took to sell the property. We accompanied all of the appointments ourselves at approximately 1.5 man hours per appointment.
5. Negotiating on the 3 offers that were received and achieving a SOLD price that the vendor was happy with.
6. Sending out letters and Memorandums of Sale to solicitors and other parties.
7. Returning to the property 3 further times to let in a Mortgage Valuer, a Surveyor and the buyer again so that they could “show their Mum”.
8. Many further phone calls chasing up solicitors and Mortgage advisors when things seemed to be grinding to a halt.
9. Renegotiating on price when the Mortgage Valuer undervalued the property due to the current state of the market.
10. Releasing keys on the day of completion and finally sending our invoice.
This story had a happy ending with a sale being achieved for the vendor and us receiving our fee. Many houses in the current climate do not end up selling and we receive no fee whatsoever despite carrying out most of the work described above. We have office rent to pay, wages for staff, car and petrol costs, telephone expenses, business rates, £1000 per month fee to Rightmove, £300 per month to PrimeLocation, newspaper advertising, web development costs, purchase of For Sale boards, fees to erect For Sale boards, the list is endless.
If you want to sell your house there is a lot that an Estate Agent can do for you and the costs involved are fairly modest (usually 1-1.5% of the sale figure) By comparison in the USA the figure is more like 5-6% of the sale figure of the property (where strangely Estate Agents have a much better reputation). The service that you receive if you choose the right Estate Agent will be good and help to sell your house at full market value in the minimum amount of time possible.
Don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers………………….