My husband and I (oooh I sound like the Queen!) are currently looking to purchase a property in our local area which we intend to rent out.
We’ve been keeping a keen eye on what’s coming to market, and I must say, it’s fantastic that there are so many potential properties around at the moment. Pretty much every estate agent I have spoken to recently tells me they are flat out, and I am genuinely delighted for the industry after what has been a pretty hairy few months!
Please do make that hay while the sun shines. But don’t forget to sow the seeds for future harvests too! I’ve said this many times over, and it should be your mantra… but look, that’s not something I want to talk about today.
I want to tell you a little story. A true story, relating to our current search for a buy to let property and the shocking mistake a local estate agent made just last week.
I want to tell you this story because I don’t want you or any member of your team to make this same shocking mistake.
So, what happened?
Well, we spotted a new for sale board go up outside a property in the exact location where we are interested in purchasing a rental property. After a quick u-turn and a very slow drive-by (as you do), we headed home to check out the images and view a floorplan online before deciding whether to view the property.
So, our first stop was to head to the estate agents website to find the listing.
I couldn’t find it.
Ok, off to Rightmove then to see if we can see it there.
No, not there either.
Perhaps Zoopla or On the Market has the listing?
Ok, we’ll just call up the agent then. And we did.
Now, considering there was a board up and the property was quite obviously on the market, we assumed it would be a pretty straight-forward conversation with the negotiator who answered the phone.
Apparently not! Having expressed our interest, we were told:
“We are waiting for the vendor to sign off the property particulars. As soon as they have done that you’ll be able to see it on our website. Or you can keep checking Rightmove.”
I have absolutely no problem checking online for property details, but this was an opportunity for motivated and interested, proceedable buyers (us) to view the property, so why on earth were we dismissed so quickly?
So, you’ll understand why I have questions:
- Why did the negotiator not suggest that he would call the vendor to chase the sign off of the particulars to speed up the process and then update us accordingly?
- Why did the negotiator not suggest that he could call the vendor to see if they would be open to a viewing before the details were signed off?
- Why did the negotiator not ask us any questions about our situation?
- Why didn’t the negotiator ask for our contact details until prompted (by us) at the end of the conversation?
- Why has the negotiator not called us – even with an update?
This negotiator was neither reactive to the opportunity placed squarely in front of him, nor pro-active afterwards.
I am genuinely shocked. And, if I was the vendor, I would be livid at this missed prime opportunity.
So, my estate agent friends, tell me – am I missing something?
If I were the owner of the agency in question and I discovered a member of my team had let an opportunity slip through their fingers like this, I would be extremely disappointed in their attitude and behaviour.
I would be taking a good look at myself too, to try and understand if there is anything I had or hadn’t done during training that contributed to the general ‘can’t be bothered-ness’ and I imagine, clock-watching attitude of this sales negotiator.
Five days on, there’s been no contact from the agent, the board is still up, and there’s no sign of the property online.
I’m biting my tongue because I want to view the property, but I’m not remotely interested in dealing with (or recommending) a business who can’t be bothered to engage nor show any interest in their customers.
Reputation counts in the world of estate agency, so being helpful, knowledgable and likeable in person, on the telephone and through the impression you give online – your website, the content on your blog and social media – should be top of your list when dealing with people.
Estate Agents: I’m interested to know how your negotiators would have handled my call.
What would you have done?