bad estate agents


Typical problems for sellers:
I always chase my agent for feedback after viewings.
You shouldn't have to. This is one of the biggest complaints against estate agents. If your agent is chasing the viewer on your behalf, they should be letting you know this.

My property has been on the market for weeks and no one's bought it.
How many viewings have happened? Is your property advertised on the major portals (Rightmove, Zoopla and Findaproperty)? Has your agent drawn up a decent brochure with professional photographs, floor plans and a description?

If you'd have around 10 viewings and the estate agency is marketing your property as outlined, then try asking your agent why they think your home hasn't sold.

I am not happy with my estate agent but am tied into a contract with them for 12 weeks, what can I do?
Yes, this ensures your agent has a good chance of selling off the back of online advertising whether they are proactive offline or not. Most leads come from property portals, but a good agent will be phoning registered applicants from their database and mentioning your property to walk-in enquiries and encouraging them to see it, as well as advertising it in the press. If an agent asks you to sign a contract that ties you to them for a long time, we would advice you to negotiate. This is one transaction where you, the client, can truly negotiate all of YOUR terms to your representative. We don't believe in tie-ins, but if your agent does, there's a pretty good chance you can talk them into a shorter term. It should encourage them to work hard for you.

I asked 3 agents to value my home. The one I liked most has quoted the highest fee. Will they drop their commission?
Probably. It's certainly best to go with the agent you clicked with when you met. If their fees are much higher than the other agents you saw, tell your preferred agent what you were quoted by other agents. Be honest and you will find yourself getting a better deal.

My estate agent is always late for viewings/ turns up unannounced/ cancels without calling me…
Terrible, sack them.

Some advice for buyers:
Why does my estate agent keep emailing me new-build properties when I expressly said 'Georgian…'
You would be amazed at how many people begin their property search with a certain type of home in mind, yet end up buying something entirely different.. The most effective way to market homes, we find, is to send property details according to budget, or a little over. People will be prepared to find more cash if they fall in love. Buyers often change an area or property-type preference during their search. If you are definitely sticking to your guns, just politely explain.

The estate agent points out the obvious/ constantly talks on their mobile/ keeps bleating on about a squalid studio like it's the best opportunity in the world…
What an idiot. Concentrate on the properties you're shown instead of the agent. The squalid studio might be a good opportunity for some, but no one is fooled by smarmy sales chat trying to sell them things they don't want. People make up their minds very quickly upon entering a property, usually within 3 minutes.

Are you a landlord?:
My tenants are awful. How on earth did they pass referencing?
Oh dear. This is usually the biggest complaint against letting agents. We say, check the company the agent uses to reference tenants for yourself and see how thorough the referencing is. It should include:

  • A thorough identity check, including past addresses
  • A credit check and affordability check via payslips or bank statements
  • Evidence of employment
  • 6 months' bank statements for the self-employed/contracts for freelancers
  • A character reference from a past landlord and an employer

The above list is about as much as any agent can do to move a decent tenant into your property. As lettings agents are entirely unregulated, we would strongly recommend you check out their referencing system before you hand over your keys. If you do have problem tenants a good agent can advise on getting them out of your property as quickly and painlessly as possible.

The last tenants have damaged my property… Your agent can arrange an inventory check-in and check-out with photographic evidence of any damage/ scuffing/ stains etc to provide indisputable evidence of damage between occupancies. Some damage is lawfully described as wear-and-tear.

There are over 100 pieces of legislation regarding renting out properties. Only an experienced or qualified agent will be familiar with them.

Lastly, but importantly, our tips for tenants:
Unfortunately, for many agents, you fall at the bottom of the pecking order. Generally, rented properties come onto the market and go again very quickly. You have to act fast to hook the property you want. Unfortunately, again, lettings agents are unregulated and this means that rogue agents are possibly operating in an office near you. Ultimately, you can be hit hard by outrageous fees. Here are our fees as a guideline:

  • 1 month's rent
  • 6 weeks' deposit
  • £50 referencing fee per person
  • 1 week's rent to cover the admin per property

If you have any questions, we’re happy to help. Email us at post @roybrooks.co.uk