Since taking our house off the market recently, I’ve been wondering what exactly it is that estate agents do. Maybe they:
- Arrange a HIP: ignoring the fact that HIPs are a completely pointless waste of time and money, I got mine sent to the agent in the first place.
- Market my house: we had one advert in the paper, and I think describing the leaflets as brochures is pushing it a bit. There is Rightmove, but I prefer alternatives like ononemap myself.
- Find me a buyer: I’m pretty sure I could have found a buyer last year on my own, but now the market is on hold none of the estate agents seem to be having much luck finding them.
- Communicate: it’s a long process and regular updates and clear communications are essential… I’m just not sure they manage it.
When the market has settled/sunk to rock bottom, we’ll be putting the house up for sale again (hopefully before the pointless HIP has expired and they have to make up the same rubbish again). Despite my doubts, I expect we will probably use an estate agent again: it was very useful to have them doing all the viewings, and while I might not think Rightmove is the best site in the world, a lot of people do use it. (If only I could add my own house.)
It will be tricky choosing a new agent though, mainly because most of them seem fairly hopeless. For example, one agent, who we were already registered with, sent a compliment slip asking us to call quoting reference ML1, yet didn’t seem to really know what ML1 meant when I phoned. They’ve been sending the same slip ever since… sometimes twice a day! We’ve got quite a collection now:
Another agent, who originally wildly over estimated the value of our house, phoned randomly to gloat about how many viewings he had for an almost identical house. Viewings don’t always mean sales though and it still hasn’t sold! Frustratingly, one of the best agents, who we found while looking for houses to buy, doesn’t sell houses in our area. Bother.
Still, the way the market’s going we won’t need a new estate agent for a while, and there could be less of them left to choose by then.