The realities of estate agency are very different to the preconceptions that a lot of people have. Hopefully this will give you an idea of some of the things you should be able to expect, that wouldn’t necessarily spring to mind, when buying, selling or renting.
Nowadays the internet is the primary source of leads. Sellers will check out agents before calling in for valuations and buyers will effectively shop online for properties that they want to view. All of this means that agents need to have a strong online presence and utilise the resources that are available to them. Interpreting data that is produced by online portals to maximise the online profile of each property is essential and should be an on-going strategy when selling homes. The current market is a complex one and without the interpretation of online activity and general interest levels, how could an agent possibly be able to claim to be giving the best advice to their selling clients?
Modern estate agency = intelligent estate agency. Interpreting data is one area that is essential but so is a clear and educated understanding of all aspects of selling and renting. With so much legislation affecting the industry now, an agent that doesn’t know the ins and outs of the legal side of things will struggle to provide the best advice. Time and time again we hear clients say that another agent has told them things that are completely inaccurate – this is worrying! As mentioned in the first paragraph, having the gift of the gab is certainly not all that is needed to be a great estate agency – knowledge is the key!
As many of you may know, conveyancing can take a lifetime if the right calls are not made and the right people pushed for results. That’s where your agent comes in. Relaying information between legal parties and putting in the calls when needed is a vital and undervalued area of agency. Similarly, who is going to work hard to ensure all parties involved in a transaction are happy? Who is going to diffuse a situation if things get heated? Who is going to explain the findings of a survey to resolve a dispute and get a sale moving? Solicitors are not expert negotiators, estate agents are. Without a proactive agent who is fully present throughout the entire process, some things would simply never get resolved.
The quality of the communication and the approachability of your agent can directly affect the overall experience of the process and believe it or not can have an impact on the financial benefit of the transaction. A transparent agent that is able to communicate effectively is vital to ensure all parties involved in any transaction have confidence in the process, have someone they can turn to when they are unsure and have someone they can rely on to solve problems! Problem solving is a huge part of the industry and an agent who will endeavour to assist instead of simply referring their clients to third parties will make all the difference to the success of each transaction.
This is something that a lot of people struggle with. There is a natural distrust of estate agents based on archaic presumptions and Chinese whispers telling stories of horrible agents and traumatic experiences. In reality you will find that there are many good agents who will take the time to listen to your needs and work hard to help you. Building a rapport with clients is the basis of a successful working relationship. First impressions count so trust your instincts.
Being a member of a professional body means that an agent is voluntarily agreeing to adhere to a strict code of conduct and works hard to provide the best level of customer service. Additionally, in order to become a member of a body such as NAEA (the National Association of Estate Agents) or ARLA (the Association of Residential Letting Agents) agents must undergo assessment to ensure that they have the required level of expertise in order to become accredited. This should give each and every client the confidence that they are using an agent who strives to meet the highest standards of service.
Hopefully this has been helpful to guide you as to what you should be able to expect from a modern estate agent. If you’re unsure of something, call us and ask the question. We are here to help and inform as much as we are here to get you moved!