A landlord’s experience choosing an agent …and it’s not at all all good
Running Acaboom I speak to agents daily plus I was an agent for some 20 years previously, so I’m familiar with how things should work and the services delivered. However, I’m sure that few would consider the experience I had last week, when booking market appraisals for a buy to let I have, to be typical …but if it can happen to me it’s surely happening to others.
My tenant gave notice a little over a week ago, so I needed to remarket the property. I picked three local agents to come out.
Agent 1 was an Acaboom client (I did not disclose the connection at the point of making contact). Agent 2 I chose for no other reason other than they were a successful local Agent. And the third was the agent that had rented the property originally (Agent 3).
‘Even for a man with my experience, what happened next took me by surprise.’
Events over the following few days went down like this:
- 9.05 am. I called Agent 1 – no answer.
- 9.07 am. I called Agent 2 – answerphone. I chose not to leave a message.
- 9.08 am. I called Agent 3 – no answer, although I did hear it click through to their centralised call centre and after a few more rings, I opted to hang up. The call had lasted 44 seconds up to that point.
- 9.15 am. I repeated the above sequence of calls …with the same results.
- 9.30 am. On the third attempts, I got through to all three. In each case, I explained what I wanted and left contact details for the tenant and I so they could conduct a market appraisal and get back to me.
- Agent 1 calls to confirm they had spoken with the tenant and arranged to visit at 4.15 pm the next day. I then received an email with an introduction to the valuer, a photograph and bio so I knew whom I was dealing with, along with what to expect on the day, and some useful tips/guidance to marketing the property.
- 5.30 pm. Agent 1 calls and offers an overview of the best market price we should aim for, the property’s condition (which was considered very good), and the market conditions.
- 6.00 pm. I receive a personalised marketing strategy from Agent 1 in the form of a presentation. OK so I’m very familiar with the Acaboom product, but I found myself very much wearing a prospective client’s hat here and was thinking this information is clear, easy to understand and delivered in a very impressive format. With an Acaboom hat on, I also knew of course that each time I viewed my presentation, Agent 1 was getting a notification; so unlike most prospective clients, I wasn’t going to be surprised by the subsequent timely follow-ups!
- 11 am. I receive an email from Agent 2. What jumped out immediately was the text “Our fees are taken for the term, from the rent received” underlined and in bold. It surprised me that this agent thought this was the most essential point to make clear at this stage.
The first paragraph said they had visited the property the day before, the tenant had looked after the property well, but I ideally need a new kitchen and complete redecoration throughout. Maybe I do, but I was quickly left feeling down and negative. I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps a phone call would be more appropriate for this kind of news.
The following four paragraphs in that email were a breakdown of their fees with examples. Attached was a company brochure (PDF), a document about carbon monoxide and a ‘personalised marketing strategy’ pdf, although the only thing personalised was my name added to the front page.
Suffice it to say; I decide to eliminate Agent 2 from my ‘I might instruct you list’ within 30 seconds of receiving the email.
- 1.01 pm. I receive a call from Agent 1 asking if I’d had the other valuations and was I in a position to make a decision. I replied not yet, but it did prompt me to go back and again review Agent 1’s offering by looking through the presentation sent.
It’s lunchtime, and I review the situation. It took nine calls to try and book three agents to value my property.
- Agent 1: I’d received 3x phone calls and 2x emails with useful presentation/information.
- Agent 2: Eliminated due to a bad email and no follow up calls/contact.
- Agent 3: Did not hear from them (!), but it turns out they did visit a few days earlier …but had omitted to come back to me for some reason.
Needless to say, I instructed Agent 1. If you had asked me which agent I was most likely to instruct before engaging, I would have said agent 3. They were the agent that rented the property initially. Holding them in high regard, I believed in their ability to get a good price quickly. But the best agent really did win the day.
We tend to find that it’s the very best agents who are embracing Acaboom. It helps them stand out from the crowd, brings uniformity to the key selling messages across all valuers, and gets those reason across effectivity time and time again. My experience here rather confirms that.
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