Peter Harden, our Edenbridge Sales Manager – says like most things in life, and most professions, we need to get behind the headlines and the hype
The words ‘Trust’ and ‘Confidence’ are being banded around liberally currently, as the BBC holds its management’s feet to the flames, and some MPs continue to amaze with improper expense claims and trips to the Australian outback.
Research suggests that confidence in the BBC has fallen from 81% to 44%, in senior police officers from 72% to 49%, and for up-market newspapers from 65% to just 38%. This trend has been tracked for over 20 years, including similar data for the USA.
Estate agents are commonly held up as a profession of concern for the public, who associate moving home with high levels of stress, often struggle to understand how to choose between different agents on the high street; and at a more fundamental level, may be unsure exactly what an agent does for its commission.
Peter Harden of Foxwood Maclean Estate Agents, said: “Over 90 per cent of private residential transactions involve using estate agents, so the general public clearly accept that they provide a useful service – but that does not necessarily make them popular (although more so than journalists, bankers and politicians according to the latest Which? Survey).
“Put succinctly, estate agents provide expert professional advice and guidance, normally on a ‘no sale no fee basis’, including investing hundreds of pounds of their own money in marketing properties. No one else can provide this level of assistance for comparable fees.”
Research also shows us that ‘trust and confidence’ is the number one criteria for choosing an estate agent (not the amount of the fee, or the size of the office, or its location, or its newspaper and portal advertising). This factor on its own accounts for over 50% of all decisions made – or put another way, is more important than all other influences combined.
Peter added, “In addition, the best agents are highly trained and ‘embedded’ in their communities. For example, all Members of The Guild of Professional Estate Agents sign up to a strict Code of Conduct, are enrolled in the Ombudsman scheme (which offers an independent redress system for the public in the case of any disputes or complaints), carry professional indemnity insurance, and provide all their staff regular training in relevant legal matters, the fundamentals of excellent service. They are also local ambassadors for the Estate Agency Foundation, a charity dedicated to alleviating homelessness in the UK.”
So before you engage on one of the most significant financial decisions of your life, we suggest that you take a little time to get under the skin of your prospective estate agent – if he/she is a Guild member, then you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find!