Wednesday, 9 November 2011

In Praise of Estate Agents Honestly!

Not words you normally associate together are they but I can confirm that there are little gems out there if you are very lucky.

deck finished

We recently decided to put our house back on the market; the garden is too big; we have two bedrooms upstairs which are never used and we would like to release some capital so that we can enjoy more holidays.

Mike wanted to wait until the spring when the market picks up but I thought that  as there is less property on the market we would have less competition. If it did not sell it was not a problem.

Next question – who to choose? Having lived in this area most of our lives and having done business with many we quickly crossed off quite a few. Mainly those who under price for a quick sale and those who are not very efficient.

I decided on the agents who are nationwide thinking they would have more exposure

But I made a mistake and rang one of the local agents. Never mind, lets see what they all say when the call.

Agent 1 – Very nice lady, smart and of an age you could trust. She spent a great deal of time walking around making notes and taking measurements. We thought that was a waste of time as initially we were only asking for a valuation.

She gave us the usual preamble about it being a difficult market, and prices had dropped and we waited for the bottom line expecting a low figure. We were pleasantly surprised as it matched what we thought having “sold” the house in 2006 but it fell through.

Agent 2 – another national agent called and was very pleasant. Gave us the same spiel about the market etc but he only had a walk round and did not bother with measurements thank goodness. However, he did hit us with the low figure, 25K less than the previous agent. He spouted on about properties he had sold recently in the area and I’m not surprised his sale figures were good when he devalues properties to that extent. He did offer to reduce his commission rates and I wonder why? Could it be because he would have sold it very easily at that price! Good bye Agent 2!

Agent 3 – the “mistake“ then called. He was polite and straight to the point asking if we only wanted a valuation at this stage. He showed us other properties nearby on his books which were comparable with ours although, as he pointed out, our house has many unique qualities. Eventually he came up with the same figure as the first agent. That was fine with us and we warmed to him. He seemed to be very straight forward and gave us the right answers to our questions. I asked him if he would reduce his commission rate and he said no, that was his rate but if there was a need for negotiation on price etc. at a later date he would consider it. Fair enough. As he said, a sale was to his advantage as well as us.

We decided to engage him. He came back and took measurements and photos and asked if his girls could come and look around so that they could answer any queries from potential buyers. Good move. That was Friday 21st October.

The draft brochure was prepared for approval and it was fine, just one thing needed to be added in my opinion. By Wednesday it was on their website and in the local paper on Thursday.

Friday we received a call making an appointment for Monday. Then another viewing on Tuesday and Wednesday, two viewings. We then received a phone call saying they had received an offer but it was far too low- we agreed. Thursday a lady came back for a second look and the agents kept us informed all the time of what was happening and providing feedback. Not once did we have to phone them.

Late Thursday the agent rang and said this lady wanted to come back again the next day with a friend – no problem. “O, but it might be Mrs Fisher, she can only come at 9.30 and we know you prefer viewings after 11a.m.” she said.

I promised to get myself out of bed and out of the way before they came and was just leaving as they arrived. Tipping down with rain for the third  day running I did say that if she liked it in the rain she will love it in the sunshine.


Later that day whilst we were looking at a property in Teignmouth the mobile rang and Mike was told that there was another offer on the table. Mike said we would want a little more and said a figure. The agent came back asking if we could meet half way and – deal done! This was all in the space of two weeks from asking for a valuation and only one week on the market.

The surveyor came on Monday and everyone is hoping for completion before Christmas.

Who are these fabulously efficient Estate Agents? Caslings of Paignton. All the staff are exceptionally professional and knowledgeable about their business and I cannot find any fault (and I’ve tried!) We have been made to feel valued as clients and nothing has been too much trouble.

Thank you – Simon, Jo and Marcella.

Yesterday – we agreed the purchase of the property in Teignmouth. Our heads are spinning!

Yesterday – Toby went into hospital and had his appendix removed! That was a real shock but I’m glad to report he is doing well. O, and Olli went into hospital 2 weeks ago for an operation on his arm. PHEW!

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