They don’t even have a car with their logo on it.
It used to be, when you sold your house, you could simply get in your car or catch a bus into the town centre and spend the day in the rain walking from office to office, checking out the local estate agents.
It was a simple job being gently patronised or exposed to slick sales patter over awful coffee before you decided which one you’d pay thousands of pounds to for a bit of advice about your asking price, a brochure, an ad in the local paper and a picture of your house in their front window.
These days, though, it’s got a bit more complicated. You’ve no doubt heard about the online estate agents who have joined the market with cheaper packages – but why would you want to use them?
No cash incentive
These know-nothing Jonny-Come-Lately online agents don’t tend to ask for a commission based on the amount your home ends up selling for. They tend to have a couple of payment options which seem suspiciously simplistic. They’ll tell you it means you know how much you’re paying for their services up front but it also means they don’t have an incentive to get the maximum possible commission from the sale of your property. Okay, they probably won’t pluck an unrealistically high asking price out of the air in an effort to squeeze out every last penny – but, you know … Nothing ventured nothing gained.
No office or branded company cars
Can you take any company seriously if they don’t have a physical presence on the ground? Where are they? Are they in a proper office with a drinks dispenser, clerical staff, arty pictures on the wall and lots of lovely logos etched on glass or are they in someone’s spare bedroom. Not many of them have branded cars so you don’t see them out and about. They’ll tell you a lower profile just means they can keep the costs of selling your home down – but surely a big office on the high street is reassuring, right?
It’s all very well for Amazon and Ebay but all this computer jiggery-pokery just makes life more complicated. Why use all those little keys on your cell phone on the train, or your laptop at home or at work when you can just walk into an office and find someone to talk to you. Online agents say you can communicate with them anywhere, anytime but you can’t beat going into town in your free time; you can even combine a trip to see a high street estate agent with your weekly grocery shopping.
No paper chain
There’s something about writing proper letters which is reassuring. You have a record of the transaction in a big file and you can get one of the administrative support people to pull that down off the shelf if you ever need to check anything. It might be a bit slower than all these new apps and databases, portals and so on but at last you can rely on a bit of paper you can hold in your hand.
No one to be there for the viewings
Okay, a lot of the online estate agents are now offering assisted viewings if you want them – but they don’t do them as standard. That means you could have to describe the best selling points of your own home to a possible buyer yourself. But who’s best qualified to do that? You’re probably going to be nervous and could fluff your lines; better to let us use our experience and the sales patter we know works the best. It’s not cliché really; it’s just a type of language which has developed in our industry. We understand it best so surely it’s a good plan to let us lead your buyer around for you. If you’d like to help though, it might be a good idea to put some fresh coffee on or even bake some bread half an hour before we arrive. Buyers love that kind of thing…
So, there you have it; if you want an estate agency service which will make you feel like you’ve ticked the box for one of life’s most sapping, wearying and stressful experiences, you know where to come. After all, you don’t do it often so, to get that sense of achievement, make sure you don’t go online. Keep it real.