Seven estate agent traits to look out for when choosing who to sell your house
The internet is full of horror stories about estate agents. But although most of us might think we are clueless about how to pick an estate agent, provided you go online and ask around, you stand a good chance of steering well clear of the worst estate agents. We’ve covered eight bad traits to stay clear of when looking for an estate agent.
1. They don’t know the local area
According to the estate agent comparison website getagent.co.uk, local knowledge and local contacts are what counts when you are trying to work out which estate agents to use.
So it stands to reason that you need to watch out for the agent who pretends to know the area but who in fact is based 30 miles or so away.
This is why you shouldn’t be afraid to put an agent on the spot and ask them questions such as:
- Do you live around here?
- What do you make of the local schools?
- Have you sold any similar properties to mine in this area lately?
If they really do know the local area, they should have no problem giving your convincing answers.
2. Bad communication
Despite the fact that selling a house is all about communication, it is surprising how many estate agents get this basic skill wrong.
In fact, one survey found that a staggering 23% of deals fell through because of poor communication between estate agents, lenders and solicitors.
What makes this finding particularly grim is that good communication is the basis for building trust between an agent and their client and is a priority when deciding which estate agent to use.
After all, they have got to feel confident that they can give you advice that you might not want to hear, and you want to know that their advice is in your best interests.
It is almost certainly a trait that marks out only the worst estate agents when you find yourself repeatedly talking to their voicemail rather than to the agent.
Of course, it might be that there is a lack of interest in your property and the agent is reluctant to break the bad news or they have lost interest in marketing your property.
3. They don’t even try
You know you’ve stumbled on one of the worst estate agents around if they leave you wondering whether they are actually in the business of selling properties at all.
These are the agents who will fire off a random mailshot to everyone on their contact database and consider their job done.
If they do manage to match up a buyer with a seller, it is more down to chance than any effort on their part.
This is why it is always a good idea when you first meet an agent to quiz them on precisely how they plan to promote your property to potential buyers or help you to find a new home.
4. He’s no photographer
Dodgy photographs are a real giveaway and should serve as a warning that you have found a truly clueless agent, which is why it is a good idea to check out their website to see how they go about presenting other people’s homes.
After all, just about everyone has access to a smartphone with a decent built-in camera, so there really is no excuse for fuzzy photos or pictures of homes looking less than their best.
They will only put buyers off and make a home harder to sell.
On the other hand, what can help to sell a property is a slick video tour posted on a social media site like Instagram.
5. Poor time keeping
The same goes for any agent with poor punctuality.
Being on time matters because any agent worth their salt will want to turn up ahead of any viewing to greet the potential buyer and put them at ease.
An estate agent who is getting basics like that wrong could be just the sort of agent who forgets your completion date or who fails to return a call to your solicitor or mortgage broker.
6. Cold calling
Award-winning independent estate agent John Horton also has a warning for homeowners who are cold-called by estate agents looking to sign them up.
John says this smacks of desperation because an agent with a thriving business should be busy looking after their existing clients, negotiating deals with buyers and keeping up to date on the business side of things.
7. High-pressure tactics
But the one trait that really does define the worst of the worst estate agents is the pushiness.
Especially if an agent is trying to pressurise you into using their preferred conveyancing solicitor or mortgage broker.
Buying or selling a home is a huge commitment and not one that no-one should enter into lightly – and definitely not under pressure.
So let’s slay a few myths:
Using an estate agent’s in-house mortgage broker will not:
- Get you a cheaper mortgage deal
- Speed up the buying process
- Make it more likely that your offer will be accepted, or
- Lower the asking price.