Where we will take issue with Andrew is on his point regarding estate agents being professionals. Whilst it’s absolutely fair to say that there are no educational barriers to becoming an estate agent, we do feel that the majority of agents treat their roles with the utmost seriousness, dedication and professionalism. Sure, there’s some cowboys and cowgirls out there, but you only have to ask around or the spend a few minutes on the internet to sort the wheat from the chaff these days.
We also believe you can have your cake and eat it.
Instruct Proper Local and not only will you be embracing a fixed fee which you only pay once we’ve done our job (unlike online estate agents), you’ll get years of experience… for free!
Here’s Andrew’s article in full:
No one in their right mind would consider paying anyone thousands of pounds to sell their car yet in the property market, this remains a reasonable suggestion.
In the past month, I’ve been asked by family members to help sell two properties and it’s shocking how much traditional estate agents still ask for in commission despite the advance of online competition.
One London agent wanted £16,500 to sell a home it valued at £550,000. The agent said the property would sell easily, perhaps forgetting that this meant he would be doing very little to justify his gargantuan fee.
The truth is the property won’t sell easily, particularly at that valuation, because the market is stagnating. An identical flat just yards away priced at £50,000 less hasn’t sold in months.
The agent might have known this if he’d bothered to check Rightmove first. However, that basic level of professionalism was too much for a man who appears to spend more time buckling up his Burberry jacket than researching the market.
It’s no surprise, really. Estate agents are not professionals — they don’t have to do a day of training or pass a single exam before setting up shop. They have fewer qualifications than bricklayers. Sadly that doesn’t stop them from charging fees that would make a senior barrister blush.
The problem is not confined to property hotspots like London and the southeast. In Cornwall, I was trying to help sell a property valued at £400,000.
The first agent, who wanted a £7,600 commission, failed in a fortnight to show up to take photos. The only other credible agent wanted £10,000 and there was no negotiating. When I pointed out I could employ a highly trained local solicitor for almost a month for the same money he said he had expensive “marketing overheads”. Yet these are the same overheads faced by online estate agents who charge a flat fee of £700.
In vain did I point out that the last time I sold a property myself, I used an online estate agent who charged just £495 and that within weeks I got a buyer offering more than any traditional agents’ valuation.
Quite why old-fashioned agents think they can stick to their ludicrous charging structure in the face of online competition is a mystery. In the absence of legislation, it’s down to all of us to shun them until they follow the rest of the high street into the 21st century.