For those that watch the channel four show parodying Estate Agency, or those that have seen the fly on the wall expose type shows or just for those who wonder what we do in a standard day here’s a taster of a live day in the life of an estate agent.
Regularly it is necessary to be at the desk well before opening times, as often the phone is so busy throughout the day that preparation and planning takes second place to response for customer needs.
I usually take this time to prepare for the market appraisal and valuations occurring throughout the day. These can take the guise of many things,
- We have the amicable divorce valuation. Is there ever such a thing? Difficult to please either party here as often one wants high and one wants low for obvious reasons. You can often find yourself offering almost a social worker type stance. The key aim is always remain detached and most definitely don’t take sides. It amazes me how a divorcing couple will suddenly side together against a common foe.
- The probate valuation, usually at a time of great sadness having lost a relative for the parties requesting it, they are an opportunity to assist with the process that needs to be adopted, timescales to be met and ultimately remove as much stress as possible at a difficult time for the potential vendors.
- The ‘Ego’ Valuation. ‘We bought it a year ago and have done so much to it’ Why isn’t worth another £50k. Always so difficult to judge. Honesty has to be the key and boy do you need to be a politician. The new kitchen may be lovely but not sure why you picked red door fronts. Worse still is the convincing that the £20k conservatory that has removed the whole garden doesn’t really add a lot to the ultimate value.
- The secret reason for valuation. Some customers will conjure all sorts of excuses for requesting the appointment. Often it will change from the initial call, through the appointment and vary again when you follow it up. I promise that we are not there to pry or judge but actually understanding the customer requirements goes a long way in giving an accurate valuation taking account of the current or future market place. It depends on what you require and speed that you require it.
- The standard for sale valuation. Bread and butter for the estate agent. Usually in competition with several others. It is our platform for the business. My view is offer genuine advice, don’t over promise and under deliver, price it at a level that will sell. The perception of Estate Agents is understandably not the best. We have the chance at these appointments to show the good side, the professional side. My advice would be to the customer, look beyond the sales pitch and select the agent not for the highest price but the confidence you feel that they will deliver for you.
Well, we arrive at 0845 and the morning meeting takes place. This is the opportunity to set targets, review the previous day, focus on the priorities and look at providing the best service to the customers in how we will use the day ahead.
Most times the phone will start close to or just before 9am: Applicant Registrations – these will come from numerous sources. Internet advertising will generate enquiries to call back, some will call direct to register prior to going on the market to search what property is available, the newspaper, the walk in customer, all get registered for new properties. We will assist with their financial services enquires and needs. After all, few people have the finance to buy without a mortgage.
Invariably there will be measure ups to be done. The property is instructed for sale and this is the time to record all the detail, take the photos and prepare it for marketing. Having done so, advertising is prepared, brochures printed, photo cards prepared and ultimately the details are marketed to all people registered as interested in that specific type of property.
At any time there will be over 20 current sales being progressed to completion. It is necessary to maintain control of where each one is in the sales process. Assist solicitors with enquiries, update vendors on the situation, respond to survey requests and the subsequent post survey issues. Additional specialist contractors may have to explore damp issues, check timber for wood worm or just explain in plain simple English what is being reported in the survey. We will deal with additional property negotiations for carpets and curtains and such like. Primarily in the sales process it is about communication of the facts and managing expectations, ensuring that move dates are co-ordinated and often just being on hand to remove the stress of the buying and selling process.
In an average day we will conduct up to 10 viewings each. Some days are quieter and particularly weekends are busier. When quiet the time is taken to use the system information to match buyers to property and generate further viewings. This matching process is continuous and either manually conducted with telephone enquires out to the buyers or automated where brochures and e-mails are sent.
Like any job there will always be the dreaded administration to be managed. A small but essential part of the day. Newspaper advertising, contact letters, post valuation correspondence to list a few.
All in all, it is rare that the clock gets watched. Often the day will run through the normal home time. For me the servicing of customer needs is the focus. This may be buying, selling, mortgages, renting, investing. It is fair to say that dull days are few and far between and the general frenetic level of activity is what makes a day in this life so rewarding.