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Why the perceived best advice on how to choose an estate agent is all wrong!

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As an industry a lot of the advice given to consumer’s by “experts” doesn’t actually make much sense. No wonder many clients are unhappy with their selling experience.

Consumers are urged to choose an agent with the biggest board presence- why? I understand that an agency with a lot of listings looks busy, but is it also possible that the agent has a large stock because they aren’t actually selling them? When homes are selling quickly as we are finding it is very difficult to maintain a large portfolio of available listings.

Another comment I hear is “ We are going with XYZ agency because they are a bigger firm with more offices” There seems to still be this misplaced perception that big is best. I am yet to be presented with any evidence that these agents do a better or quicker job than smaller, more adaptable firms or achieve higher prices. They might handle greater volumes of business, which is nice for them, but I am not sure how it benefits individual home sellers. A good small agency, embracing the latest technology, employing the best staff, working with fewer clients and therefore able to devote more man hours to each individual client’s property surely has as good if not greater chance of finding a buyer?

Working around the clock 24/7 for clients – who else does this?

Big firms may sell greater numbers of houses than us, but we sell them better and add value to whole selling experience – for instance live chat on our website ensures we are working round the clock for our clients and not missing any opportunities or enquiries. How many of our competitors can offer this?

Big offices often mean individual sales are allocated to a particular person or department, so no one else in the office knows what is going on or can answer questions if that staff member is unavailable. In smaller offices everybody mucks in and knows what is going on. Buyers are not interested in who is the biggest brand or who’s logo is on Rightmove when they find the right home. Big brands have big marketing budgets and are excellent at promoting? – Yes! you guessed it – their brand! Not necessarily client’s homes.

The cheapest fee or highest price doesn’t always represent the best value!

Sadly thanks mainly to the media and latterly “low cost” online agents, many consumers believe the best agent in the one who offers the lowest fee or highest price! The reality is that the best price does not always equate to the highest valuation, nor is the cheapest always the best value. Agents who compromise on their fees are often equally quick to encourage clients to drop their asking price.

Perhaps a more accurate measure of agencies are online client review websites. www.referenceline.com  is our preferred partner, due to its endorsement by the Property Ombudsman and is a monitored site, which is not open to the systematic abuse other online review sites seem to get. Openness and transparency are high on the list of adjectives used to describe Maurice Kilbride.

Check out an estate agents social media offering to see if they are current

Another good way to check out if an estate agency is current and relevant in today’s fast changing world is to check out their social media offerings. Social media is a very public forum and those agencies not embracing it are usually those with a poor reputation who do not want to risk having it exposed publicly or simply aren’t with it and living in the dark ages!

Estate agents who are honest about their services and want to demonstrate personality, approachability, knowledge and a willingness to engage with their local community embrace social media and with over 2 million monthly social impressions at Maurice Kilbride it is a massive opportunity to increase the exposure of client’s properties.

Choose an agent selling listings not accumulating them!

I and other small estate agency agencies around the UK are the best agent for many home sellers- they just don’t even know it because they don’t know what to look for in an agent and are therefore asking the wrong questions!  I see it as my job to educate potential clients to what they are missing out on, so their homes don’t languish on the market because some estate agency is simply in the business of accumulating listings instead of selling them!

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