Saving money, but losing a fortune?

I meet a lot of people in my day to day duties valuing property in and around Solihull.   The questions I have had to answer over the many years I have done the job have varied.  Some are about the state of the market, opinions on prices being too high or even too low and many opinions on interest rates.  There is currently one question that is driving me mad….


“I bet those internet estate agents are affecting your business a lot aren’t they?”


The long and short of it is that of course they have.  They make my day to day life a misery.  But they haven’t affected our business levels at all – which have remained consistent for the last three or four years. 


They make our life a misery by being involved within chains we have agreed.  The impossibility of getting chain details from any ‘call centre’ and even when you do speak to someone, the information that they retain is as good as useless.  So we spend many man hours chasing up and trying to speak to solicitors and other parties in the chain to make sense of what is going on!


The secret of a good estate agent above anything else is the staff they employ and having enough of them to see the job through to the end.  It isn’t about just selling the house, it is about guiding and progressing through the sale until the day you move.  A traditional estate agent will usually employ a ‘contract chaser’ (which is a bit of an ancient estate agency term) who will do exactly what it says on the tin – chase the contracts!  This means liaising with solicitors and making sure everyone is doing exactly what they are doing.


Other staff that are naturally important to any seller are a good viewing person – it is a fact that agent accompanied viewings result in better levels of sales being agreed.  Viewers in the main feel uneasy when the owner of a property shows them around; they can’t be genuinely honest and tell the owner what they really think.  On an agency viewing – a viewers objections are a good thing as we have a chance to overcome them and discuss more options!


The long and short of it is that there has always been a cheaper alternative when selling a property.  The back street agent or the small company with no real presence; as much as there has always been a client that paying less to an agent is more important to them than getting the best price for their property.