Is Harpenden better than St Albans? The Secret Estate Agent shares his view

Our Secret Estate Agent knows all there is to know about the property market in St Albans and Harpenden. Picture: Getty...

Our Secret Estate Agent knows all there is to know about the property market in St Albans and Harpenden. 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’ve been hearing stories of back-to-back viewings of around 20 interested parties in St Albans. Is this true? What types of property are receiving such high levels of interest if so?

It is becoming more prevalent with certain family homes near popular schools receiving numerous viewings requests; we are returning to the open day scenarios. They are however not always popular with buyers as some agents squeeze in appointments and don’t allow for a reasonable time to make an informed decision. A million-pound house with a 10 minute viewing? I spend more time looking at a menu for dinner.

I know plenty of people who’ve moved to Harpenden from St Albans, but no one who’s gone the other way. Why is that? Is Harpenden better?

Not better but different. Seems to be more of a migration I agree, perhaps because there is a wider selection of larger homes and more of a rural feel. Harpenden wins the best fish and chip shop accolade, but not sure that’s a good enough reason.

Do you ring a bell in the office when a sale completes?

When I first started in agency there was a bell in the office but then sales dipped during a recession and we had to sell the bell.

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Do you see a point at which all estate agents will be offering online-only services?

I thought 10 years ago that the traditional high street model was in danger of extinction but it has survived in the main - though agents have had to adapt and modify their business.

There is also the growth of the hybrid-style of agency which has done quite well. I am only aware of one high street agent closing recently and many agents have now made up for the lost ground at lockdown as volumes of business have been so high. There had been redundancies in the sector - though we have just taken on more staff to cope with the extra demand.

Virtual viewings are good because they give estate agents more time to play golf. True or false?

Oh dear, back to the golf-playing estate agent stereotype. True.

What’s the most satisfying thing about your job?

Aside from being the Secret Estate Agent, it is completing the journey from winning the initial instruction to a successful exchange. The whole process is a long and sometimes fraught journey and there is always a sense of achievement - and commission!

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