As an estate agency currently tracking at 4.9 out of 5 stars with our Feefo reviews you might think that we think we’ve got this selling and renting lark down to a tee. But do we? No.
OK, so that might be a bit overly-humble – we do know what we’re doing of course – but the point is this: do we, as estate agents, truly understand what our customers want from us?
Just in case you missed it, we thought it might be worth republishing this recent article from Andrew Ellson of The Times.
Of course, at Proper Local we couldn’t agree with Andrew more: the charging structure of most ‘traditional’ estate agents is indeed ridiculous.
Whilst Andrew doesn’t explicitly say it, the structure to which he is referring is a percentage-based fee structure. What very few agents will ever admit to you is that it’s the same amount of work whether you’re selling (or letting) a one bedroom flat as it is a four bedroom house. So quite why an agent would charge a fee which is two, three, four or even five times as much for doing the same job leaves us at a loss too. That’s why we charge a fixed fee.
It’s the question asked by many, many tenants – Why do I have pay so much money to the letting agent to secure a property?
It’s a fair question, and here’s a straightforward answer – other agents charge high tenant fees purely and simply because they can (at the moment).
Whereas other agents have looked at tenant and tenancy administration fees as a source of income, we’ve never believed that it should be like that. We believe that fees charged to tenants should be fair and commensurate with the work, or indeed underlying costs, actually involved.
Yesterday the Government published The Tenants’ Fees Bill, the long-awaited paper resultant from the consultation period on what, if any, tenant fees are acceptable to charge.
It’s still very much early days as the Bill will now be debated in parliament and its proposals could change. If you’re not scared of long, wordy documents you can read it in full here.
There’s very little ‘fact’ in the document, and its perhaps best looked at as a legal framework into which the final rules and regulations will sit.
I think its fair to say that people do have a mistrust of estate agents in general, so is Proper Local in any way different?
Well, obviously, we’d like to think so, but we also have a way of proving that.
From the outset at Proper Local we’ve been using the review site Feefo to gain feedback from our landlords, tenants, buyers and sellers and our rolling 12 month average review score is 4.9 out of 5. Not bad.