Traditionally it has been considered fair game to complain about estate agents and criticise the service they offer and the fees they charge, but is there any foundation to this and what do people really dislike about estate agents?
A recent study published by technology company Global NoticeBoard attempted to answer this question. They interviewed 2000 adults last month and asked “Which of the following, if any, do you consider to be the most frustrating when dealing with estate agents whilst either buying or renting a property?” The answers make interesting reading. The most common frustration by far was ‘inaccurate representations of the property’ reported by 29% of respondents. In theory this shouldn’t happen as agents are governed by the property mis-descriptions act. So are agents really getting it wrong? Or do vendors demand and expect wonderful descriptions of their properties? Or are buyers just unrealistic in their expectations. None of us want disappointed buyers and in my view the best way to avoid these is to embrace technology and provide information by way of high quality pictures, floorplans and even videos and virtual tours. A picture is worth a 1000 words and they say the camera doesn’t lie? The very best agents increasingly rely on this to market their properties rather than a long (often stereotyped and boring) description.
The second most common complaint was ‘finding a convenient time to view properties’ (20%). This is probably not surprising when one looks into the problem a little deeper. We live in a world of instant access and being able to do things at a date and time of our choosing, but when it comes to viewing properties there is a problem. Firstly most properties are occupied and a time has to be agreed with the vendors. Secondly where an agent is accompanying viewings they have finite resources and, particularly at weekends, tend to get booked up early. Trying to arrange a viewing at short notice is often difficult or impossible so are the expectations of buyers un reasonable? There are many things agents can do to speed up this process and in many cases a good agent will be able to accommodate buyers requirements. The attitude and the approach of the agent can do a lot to enhance the process for buyers and finding a convenient time should not be a problem.
Other frustrations raised include ‘Getting hold of estate agents’ (18%), ‘amount of time it takes to go to property viewings’! (17%) and ‘having to register with several different agents’ (15%). Interestingly in the study 46% reported they didn’t know or had no frustrations – so presumably some agents, at least, are getting it right. We would really love to know your thoughts and experiences on dealing with estate agents. Join in the debate and have your say – we would love to know what you think – have your say on facebook