Is it true that estate agents get backhanders from solicitors?

The Secret Estate Agent spills the beans on the local property market. Picture: Getty Images/iStockp

The Secret Estate Agent spills the beans on the local property market. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Let Hertfordshire’s Secret Estate Agent answer your property questions and give an insight into the world of estate agency...

I have changed agents in the past due to their non-performance. Is this a common occurrence?

It is not too common in this marketplace as properties are selling relatively quickly. If there is non-performance in a busy market and the property is being fully exposed then a serious and productive conversation needs to take place between the agent and the client. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes on the marketing can help, but generally it is down to price strategy.

Is it true that agents get backhanders from solicitors when they recommend them to clients?

I’ve been doing this column for quite a few months now and there seems to be a perception that agents see more backhanders than a fortnight at Wimbledon. We do recommend local solicitors for clients in the belief they use their local expertise and knowledge to help get the deal through as smoothly as possible. Some corporate agents have their conveyancing referrals, which I understand generate an additional source of income, but we prefer to keep it local within the business community.

Do you have any funny stories to share of estate agents having to climb in or out of bathroom windows on viewings?

The bathroom window was a preferred exit in my youth but the years have not been kind on the waistline and the window size is now a deterrent for fear of getting something caught.

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I’ve fallen into a house recently in front of a viewer. A colleague had told me the front door was stiff and needed a full shoulder barge but the owner forgot to tell us he had recently changed the door and I went flying.

All estate agents are rolling in money: true or false?

False. Fewer transactions, cheaper fees, more competition.

What is the ultimate estate agents’ car?

My ex-boss, who I thought was rolling in it, had a red Porsche with a private number plate which was instantly recognisable in the local town. I’m not sure it was the smartest move in the public eye and the common adjective to accompany a sighting was “flash” and I won’t repeat the common noun.

Do you go on team-building days? Where do you go if so?

We had a team building night recently. The challenge was to organise a socially distant evening for 10 colleagues in the local bars and we somehow managed to pull it off. I would like to extend my personal thanks to the staff at The Peahen, The Beech House and The Mermaid for accommodating us, and hope they recognise the free plug.

I’ve done paintballing, ten pin bowling, overlong quizzes, etc. A day at Bletchley Park breaking codes was a particular favourite. That and Alton Towers. The memories.

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