Kiss me first Mr Estate Agent

Estate Agents used to strut around when selling houses as they couldn’t shift them fast enough. You snooze, you lose was the general feeling. These days in the UK the property sales market is v. v. weak yet the Lettings market is incredibly robust. Rents are high reflecting high demand and limited supply much as you learnt in Economics 101. As the estate Agents are no longer wallowing around in fat sale commissions and are relying on income from their lettings side they have decided that they obviously can’t keep sticking it to the Landlords who have the power to choose who represents them but instead they will screw the person with no options. To whit: the renter.

Estate Agents 2

I am renting a property right now and not only do I pay a deposit – very understandable – but I pay a mixture of other non-refundable fees that are the Estate Agents cost of doing business. They have worked out that they can not only pass these costs on for things like reference checks but hell, why not skim a bit on the side and round it up a little? They farm out reference checks to a third party on-line but it is apparently £60 per check.  £60, give me a break. After all, they want the house, we’re the agents, demand is high, it’ll rent regardless…drop your trousers sir. The “screw you” attitude gets better. I pay a deposit over the phone with my Debit Card and they even want to pass on the 30 pence (50 cents) handling charge on a £320.00 transaction. Talk about being nickeled and dimed to death.

The complete absurdity of the total lack of business acumen (not my job ‘guv, rules are rules) displayed by the chap in the office that obviously isn’t his? When I ask about my receipt the clown offers to post it. At least a £1 operation. I declined and tried to make the point that I wasn’t going to be petty and he could staple it to the inevitable hard copy of the rental agreement. Deaf ears, he just didn’t see.

When I go to the supermarket I don’t stand at the till and pay a further cleaning charge, staff pension supplement, stacking fee etc etc. What you see is what you pay. All those things are the cost of doing business.  estate Agents are always mystified as to why they are considered in such a poor light. I wonder why no-one wants to sit by them at a dinner party? I wonder.

PS: Kiss me first in the title stems from the crude but apt saying; I like to be kissed when I am screwed.

Ahhh, That’s Why

I have just had to fire our estate agent of 5 months. The really sad thing is that they just don’t get it…at all. The 90’s are gone.

There was a time when an agent – didn’t matter who – was instructed. Shortly thereafter a buyer that was able to proceed walked in and would offer the asking price. They would then be followed by another offering yet more money etc etc. To be an estate agent was fairly easy money for relatively little work.

Estate Agents
For Sale

Those days have gone. The UK housing  market is at best uncertain. For any kind of salesperson that means they actually have to work at it. It transpires agent(s) we instructed  are still of the housing boom mindset. Wrong.

The feedback from viewings needed to be chased down every time, my name was constantly spelt incorrectly and then I was called Daniel during the ill-fated, late & bleating “why me” phone call after the firing had happened. Newsflash – we are paying for your services. You aren’t doing me a huge favour by allowing me to have my house on with you. Get over yourselves.

The attitude is so typical of old style British “customer service” it makes my blood boil. I’ll put away my soapbox now.

Estate Agents always look a bit puzzled when they are grouped with crawling things that live in the damp and dark spaces under rocks.

On a positive note have rec’d a recommendation from a friend of an estate agent that actually appreciates the concept of working for their client. Watch this space.