How the pandemic is affecting local estate agents

Like many property professionals, the Secret Estate Agent is putting in long hours at the moment to

Like many property professionals, the Secret Estate Agent is putting in long hours at the moment to cope with the busy Hertfordshire 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...

What’s the atmosphere like in the office at the moment?

Adrenaline-filled, stress-littered, lots of highs and some inevitable lows. A trainee negotiator has just joined us as we are in a crazy market which I have never experienced and I shudder to think what she must be thinking.

When do you usually start/finish work?

I am quite fortunate that the office is close to my home and a 10-minute commute, if you can call it a commute. My only potential dilemma of the journey is if I get an amber light on Sandpit Lane.

Core hours are 8.45am-6pm but at the moment it is full on and when it is busy you put in the hours.

Is it true that you won’t allow people whose homes aren’t under offer to attend viewings at present?

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We are having to be selective which means scrutinising buyers’ positions as sellers are requesting more quality, less quantity.

We are also struggling to keep up with viewing requests as the majority need to be accompanied. Last Saturday, we had 10 viewings at one property and eight at another, both family homes and new instructions. The buyers were all proceedable.

And this is with seven members of staff all flat out - and booked out - on other viewings.

Is everything taking loads longer due to COVID-19?

The selling process certainly is from under offer to exchange but the actual time to sell the house is most certainly not.

Are you ever truly off-duty?

The way we now communicate has perhaps been the biggest change in the industry, and the craving for instant responses and information.

Clients’ expectations and customer service have risen and the spectacular dependence on the email has been a blessing but also a curse.

As an example, I swapped texts with a client this morning and amended a property price on my laptop. Tomorrow is Monday, traditionally the ‘first day’ of the working week.

What do you do when you’re not working?

Sport is welcome escapism. You name it, I’ll watch it. I even found myself watching snooker recently after being deprived of live sport over lockdown. I cycle a lot and up to last year had coached local youth football for 12 years

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