Latest TV show idea illustrates need to choose your Estate Agent wisely


Reporting in TV personality Phil Spencer is joining Channel 4's daytime line-up in a new programme, ‘Phil Spencer: Secret Agent', in which he comes to the aid of home owners trapped in properties that refuse to sell.

However, it does not of course take a television programme to suggest ideas on how to regenerate interest in a property, as every good estate agent will tell you, there are always practical steps any homeowner can take to maximise one's chances of securing a sale. Unfortunately, many a house owner fails to follow the advice, and many think they know better.

According to Channel 4's blurb "In Phil Spencer: Secret Agent he will attempt to sell houses stuck on the market. But before he meets the struggling home owners he will don his surveyor's hat to assess the property, looking at it through the eyes of a buyer, as well as researching the local area and housing market.

"Armed with all the information he needs to make a realistic judgement on why the house isn't selling, he'll surprise the owners as their new agent and outline his opinions - all the good and the bad - before recommending what needs to be done to get their home sold."

It is assumed that Mr Spencer will seek out potential buyers, create improved Particulars of Sale and arrange open house viewings.

Whilst this TV premise offers nothing new, it does make the wider point that not all Estate Agent's are the same and some will stand you in a better position to make a sale than others.

Seeking out a recommendation is usually the first port of call, though who better to recommend than your local solicitor who works with them all and knows the good from the bad. Friends and family can tender a recommendation too, though were they just lucky last time when it was a sellers market?

Contacting all the local Estate Agents in the vicinity of your property and getting a first impression is also key, as those impressions will be the same as a possible buyer receives. If first impressions are bad, the potential buyer will walk on by.

Then there is cost. Many people make the mistake of going cheap. One has to wonder what is missing from the service when price is cut. Internet Agent companies are a temptation, but for many ‘here today, tomorrow' is too risky, at a time where we all want our pennies to work even harder than in the past. Where value for money is almost a pre-requisite to securing any business. But so many fail that first hurdle.

As a result, local based Agents, who have local connections entrenched in the community, well established marketing lists, and mature experienced agents making up the office should be your first port of call.

Do you then choose a national high volume chain Agent, or an independent Agent where there can be no doubt that their one or at most a handful of offices trade specifically on their local reputation fundamental to their brand's survival - where your success is surely at the heart of everything they do - and who refuse to push the red herring of national office advertising that fails to actually happen, and who make no hard sell of poor conveyancing and biased mortgages as more profitable add on services than actually the sale of your house which is really all you wanted to start with.

Once you settle on an Agent, listen to their advice. Are you unrealistic in your expectations on price and are you unwise to ignore advice to spend a few hundred pounds to improve the ‘curb appeal' of your property?

Choosing an Estate Agent is not easy, but careful and methodical planning will help steer you well.