Do you have estate agent trust issues?
Starting out as we are, you probably don’t know much of what we’re about. You might even think all estate agents are the same. Honestly though, we’re not…
One thing that isn't lost on me though is that estate agents have an image problem. There is a distinct lack of trust in our profession - and it is something I am determined to change.
Here I want to touch on some of the biggest reasons for this, and to set out what we do differently.
What do the public think of estate agents?
Well, according to an Ipsos Mori’s 2020 poll:
- Estate agents are 26th on a list of 30 professions most/least trusted by the public
- Just 27% of respondents (or one in four people!) trust estate agents to tell the truth.
This truly upsets me… But then again, I'm not really surprised! That's because I have been a customer myself in the past when buying, renting and selling properties, and my own experiences of other estate agents mostly left a lot to be desired.
What are the things that erode trust?
What is it that estate agents do (or don't do) which most undermines trust? Why are they always on lists of disliked or distrusted professionals?
I have a few thoughts on this – these are based on things I have observed at close quarters myself as a customer and while working for other agencies, from friends, clients and numerous soundbites I’ve heard from other people when talking about their experiences.
- Inflated prices / practice of overvaluing to win instructions, only to chip away at the price after signing contracts
- Fabricated interest in your property / unqualified or 'no show' viewings
- Being tied into long term (12+ week) contracts, lack of service/communication/pro-activity to sell their property
- Agents inventing other interest / fabricating or misleading over offers
- Dutch auctions (also known as offers in excess of pricing strategies)
- Being contacted about properties that don't match your requirements, or are vastly over your intended budget
- Sending out junior and/or untrained staff to conduct viewings
- Agents being ill-prepared/dis-organised
- Lack of communication and being contacted at inconvenient times
- Agents that are late, dis-engaged and don't know the property they are showing/talking about
Just in the last couple of months alone, I've heard first hand examples from clients the lengths to which some local estate agents will go to (or is that depths they will plummet to?) in order to win instructions. Some of the most aggressive means include hounding homeowners by repeatedly knocking on their door and confronting them when they have decided not to instruct their agency, refusing to show them around properties unless they sell/let their own property through them and fabricating offers on properties they do show interest on to make them pay more. These appalling ways are indefensible and, if they are being repeated elsewhere, it is little wonder why some people have such negative views on estate agents.
So, why I am telling you all this? Needless to say, I have never (nor would ever) practice any of the above. I am sharing this to acknowledge ‘the elephant in the room’. A fundamental part of the mission I’ve set out with Wellingtons is to positively change perceptions of estate agency, one happy client at a time.
How and why I do things differently
I love to build strong and mutually beneficial relationships with my clients. I recognise that trust must be earned which is why I have always been (and always will be) transparent with everyone that I work with. It's the cornerstone of any good relationship, working or otherwise.
As a business owner and a mum myself, I know all too well how challenging it can be to receive calls (or uninvited door salespeople) at the most inconvenient of times. That’s why I...
- Take time to get to know you and your property properly, so that I can showcase all those important details with your prospective buyers/tenants, so they can really see the value in what they are buying/renting.
- Only call at times that are convenient to you, and never land viewings on you with a moments notice.
- Always give a personal service from start to finish - I don't employ junior staff to do the legwork.
- Don't tie clients into long term contracts and I wont give inflated valuations to win instructions.
- Give locals the opportunity to see our new instructions before they launch on the portals - registered buyers hear about any upcoming properties even earlier!
- Take time to get to know each of my buyers and tenants so I know exactly what is motivating their move - I do this so that I don't waste anyone's time showing the wrong properties to the wrong buyers/tenants.
- Am contactable on my mobile or on WhatsApp 24/7 (well, almost) so you can get quick updates and answers whenever you need them.
So, what’s the result of doing these things? Happier clients, buyers and/or renters because everyone knows where they stand. Less sales/lets falling through and less stress for all parties… WHAT ELSE???
But you don’t just have to take my word for it, see what some clients have said too:
Lucy Egan | Founder | Wellingtons Estate Agents