Keeping buyers and sellers happy and juggling time
Many think the life of an estate agent is pretty cushy; in and out of interesting houses and sat in the office sipping lattes, answering the odd phone call and dishing out property to visitors.
The truth is a little different as Kevin Smith, a property negotiator with leading Essex estate agents Keystones Property Estate Agents, illustrates during another busy day.
8.30 – 9.00am
The day starts with our daily staff meeting to touch base.
Overall a good day yesterday with some long running sales concluded including a four-bed semi in Collier Row that was in danger of falling through due to a survey undervaluing it.
9.00 – 10.00am
I make some calls chasing some solicitors involved in sales we’re handling during a busy spell of walk ins with assorted requests.
10.00 – 1.00pm
Coffee time! I nip into the kitchenette and boil the kettle while reading the notes for a valuation in Romford I’m off to shortly.
Soon after, I grab my coat and leave the office; the valuation is for a four-bed link detached in Romford owned by a couple looking to downsize now the children have flown the nest.
As I enter Romford my mobile rings and I take it on the handsfree – it’s the office asking if I can do an accompanied viewing in Collier Row at 1.30pm.
I’ll have to go back to the office after the valuation and collect a key.
I arrive at the four bed, and a pleasant couple ask me in out of the drizzle. I know we’re up against a couple of other agents, so the focus is on being professional and showing we’re there to help – not simply value at a silly price just to get the instruction.
Measuring up done, the gentleman asks me if there are ways to make the house more saleable without spending too much; I explain that enhancing kerb appeal – the first impression people get when approaching the property – makes a huge difference.
I give them my valuation; he looks slightly disappointed and his wife says, “that’s less than the others”.
I explain how I’ve arrived at my valuation and ask tactfully if the other agents explained how they arrived at theirs. It’s an old agent’s trick to provide an inflated valuation to get a property on their books and knock the price down after.
The couple won’t commit now but I feel confident they’ll instruct us; it feels like we’ve built a rapport.
1.30 – 2.20pm
In any case, I need to get to the viewing in Collier Row. I arrive just as a silver Audi A4 pulls up outside; I greet the mid-40s couple.
You get a feel when people are interested, and this couple are; I think an offer may well come in…we’ll see.
I grab a quick lunch consisting of a Sainsbury’s sandwich and eat it back at base in the kitchenette scrolling through some sports and news sites on my phone.
Back at my desk I make a string of phone calls to some vendors; the ‘magic window’ for selling a property is three weeks while it’s fresh on the market so we work fast.
One vendor with a property that’s been on the market a fortnight agrees to a sale board being put up – he’d been reluctant initially.
In between phone calls, a first-time buyer couple call in. They’ve seen a couple of properties on Rightmove we’re handling, but when I qualify them it emerges, they haven’t got a confirmed mortgage offer so can’t move forward meaningfully.
I take a call from an applicant (Mr. A) I showed round a three bed in Romford three days earlier; he makes an offer below the asking price, so the vendor now has two offers on the property of which this latest one is the lowest.
I phone the vendor at work; he digests the situation and asks me what he should do.
The other applicant with the higher offer has a longer chain with most of the people requiring financing while Mr. A has only three in his, with two mortgage free. If the vendor can live with it, I’d choose Mr. A with the lower offer and less complicated chain, but it’s really up to him; I can only advise.
“Can you push him up?” he asks. I can try.
I call Mr. A back; he says he’ll think over raising his offer and promises to call back before I leave the office (whatever time that’ll be!)
More phone calls made and received including one from the couple in Romford whose house I valued earlier; they instruct us!
Just after six Mr. A phones: he’ll up his bid which halves the gap between his original offer and that of the other bidder. I inform our vendor who says he’ll call back “shortly”.
I call some applicants and arrange two viewings for the following day.
The vendor calls back and accepts the revised offer, so I immediately call Mr. A and tell him the good news; he seems pleased enough and that’s a good way to end another busy day.
I pick up my phone, case and coat and head for the door.
A day in the life of a property estate agent covering a varied mix of activities including valuations, viewings and handling office phone calls and visits.