The Secret Estate Agent: Your property questions answered
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Let Hertfordshire’s Secret Estate Agent answer your property questions and give an insight into the world of estate agency.
I want to put my house on the market - am I mad?
Barking, although it would be a great pointless answer if the question was asked by Alexander Armstrong - ‘things to do in the current lockdown’.
The market is in a state of paralysis and we are not allowed as agents to carry out market appraisals or viewings.
The majority of the new notifications on Rightmove are just regurgitated new homes. I know some agents are introducing video tours and virtual valuations but this is just window dressing and showcasing.
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If you are thinking of moving your time would be better spent preparing the property and improving its presentation.
In my experience the majority of local homeowners are savvy and know the approximate valuation of their home - but these are extraordinary times.
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No one will know the impact on prices until we as agents gain an insight into buyer behaviour/demand when the government relax the return to work - and the housing market is a key trigger for the economy.
Do you think estate agents get a bad press?
Sometimes we are our worst enemies and it is deserved. I do respect the majority of my peers but there are rotten apples in the industry and it really needs to be strictly regulated as anyone can set up as an agent. Agents are stereotyped but that also goes for other professions.
When things go wrong we normally feel the wrath and are quickly held as scapegoats. Moving house is very stressful and it brings out the best and worst traits in people. On exchange of contracts, the anxiety is immediately lifted.
I do get feedback from clients that they could never do my job as it’s so stressful. I always advise that they must be prepared to lose control as they are just one link in a chain and there are many imponderables and uncertainties which are uncontrollable. You think buying a house is difficult, try selling one.
Do you cringe when you’re asked what you do for a living?
I used to try and avoid at all costs including the words ‘estate agent’ in my answer, deflecting with “I’m in property” or “I’m in sales”.
However, on one occasion I was at a restaurant being introduced to a new set of people via my current wife and decided to change tack and front up. Luckily, I was in the company of some spectacularly dull occupations - immediate conversation stoppers.
I find I always get a mixed but same reaction; women tend to be intrigued, whilst men are immediately distrustful and on their guard.