Secrets and lies: What selling houses in the St Albans area is really like
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Let Hertfordshire’s Secret Estate Agent answer your property questions and give an insight into the world of estate agency...
Do many local agents still have staff on furlough?
I believe most are now back. I was a little surprised how long it took some companies as there is a lot of business out there to recoup lost earnings during lockdown.
I am aware some agents are still working from home but the nature of our business is very face-to-face - or now mask-to-mask - and interpersonal.
What would make you a better estate agent?
Being less honest. Honestly.
What is the best new homes development you have been involved in?
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Ellis Fields off Harpenden Road, built by Laing Homes over 15 years ago.
It was built on the former grounds of Old Albanians rugby club, hence the reference to William Webb Ellis who is said to have invented rugby.
At the time they were state-of-the-art with Cat5 cabling, which has something to do with the internet connection. We had buyers queuing on the launch with cheque books out at the ready and who thankfully also shared my ignorance of Cat5 cabling. When asked, I told them to Google it.
We have recently sold two houses at Ellis Fields at around £1m.
Napsbury Park by Crest Homes was the best development in terms of slick marketing.
Has a client ever made you cry?
In desperation only. We’ve just had a sale exchange which was so horrific and stressful that we’ve retired the key tag number for the property.
We only get paid on success so costs and time are incurred and accrued over what can be up to six months, and the deal can collapse at the last minute with feeble reasons, which can be emotionally and financially demoralising for the office and individuals’ finances.
Enough to make you cry.
Have you or anyone you know ever lied when you said you’d passed on an offer to a seller?
Not to my knowledge although I hear it does go on, which is very bad practise. We are legally bound to report all offers to our vendors unless we have written instructions to decline on their behalf under a certain level.
We also have to report all offers up to an exchange of contracts, which does encourage gazumping but is the law. Frequently, sellers take their properties off the market when an acceptable offer is made to discourage this.
Bifolds or sliders?
Aluminium bifolds, they create a lighter, slicker look.