When you call an estate agency, it really is ‘luck of the draw’ as to who picks up the phone or answers your emails.
In an ideal world you want someone experienced who can offer advice and answer your questions, rather than ‘I’ll get back to you’. In today’s competitive market. Time can ‘cost’ you the property. By the time they get back to you, there may well be an offer. If you have not personally seen or had a representative see it on your behalf, there may well be an offer from another party and you are at a disadvantage.
We had one landlord recently interview our client in the US, even though I had visited the property. Renting and buying has become more like an ‘interview’ with all the checks, in particular affordability.
I have been an estate agent, worked with numerous estate agencies as a property search agent and now with Pets Lets, as a relocation agent for clients renting with pets.
We have seen it all. We have had estate agents do viewings for a few hours and then ask for best and final offers that evening. A complete lottery which is rushed. Especially if your clients live overseas with a time difference.
We have been there, done it, know the tricks of the estate agency trade.
People too reliant on emails/ messaging
If you think about it, a property portal, just like our own Pets Lets, lists the properties. It is difficult to enforce estate agents and landlords to respond.
In a busy market, the estate agents get lots of enquires. They already have prospective tenants ‘lined up’ to get through the ‘front door’. So why the need to respond to all these enquiries. Experienced agents will do, as they understand the value of leads. For others it is just about getting the ‘deal done’.
The same can be said for direct contact with landlords on Open Rent. There gets a point where landlords say no to more enquiries as they have enough interest.
Waiting for someone to respond to your email, it not going to put you ‘top of the list’. That is the current UK rental market.
Pick up the phone
I know it I seen as ‘old school’ with modern technology, yet it is still the best way to communicate with estate agents. If there is no option to call, then that is fine.
By picking up the phone, even if that property is gone, it gives you the chance to talk to an agent, saying what you are looking for, budget, timing, have a pet etc. From that, a good agent will then say, ‘actually we have something coming on the market’ and from that another ‘door opens’ and you get in there quickly.
Don’t just focus on what is on a portal. Ask what is coming on.
Don’t be afraid to chase up
Just because you have not heard back. Do not be afraid to chase up. Pick up the phone and find out what is happening. Estate agents deal with so many people. You can easily be forgotten. Remind them and show them how keen you are to secure a rental property or to buy a property.
Sales is a bit different; if you are a ‘strong buyer’, especially with cash or ‘mortgage agreed in principle’, you will be on their ‘A list’. Still chase up though.
Sealed bids also known as best and finals
Best and finals means just that. You put your best offer forward and that is not just about the price. Timing, special requests, affordability and tenant profile are also important factors.
As an agent years back and even today, you hear people lose out on a property. Their response is ’oh, I could have offered more’. Well, you had your chance. Take it seriously and that you can’t just counter-offer afterwards.
Estate agents ‘lingo’
The ‘lingo’ is fascinating. Coming from that background, you understand it. This ‘tongue in cheek’ article from Ideal Home, clearly explains what the different comments mean.
A low maintenance garden, does mean a concrete patio. The word ‘character’ is interesting. Be wary when an estate agent uses that word. There could be a variety of meanings.
This is a very cynical view. That comes from years of being in property. You are ‘flavour’ of the month up to point you have signed the tenancy agreement or exchanged on the sales property.
With some agents, the ‘after care’ is awesome. Others, it is a case of ‘job done’ and now you are ‘legally bound’.
Just make sure everything makes sense before putting pen to paper or digitally signing.
This article was written by Russell Hunt, Founder of Pets Lets. With over 25 years as a London estate agent and London property search agent covering London and the home counties, as well as a dog owner with a basset/ beagle, setting up the Pets Lets Relocation Service made complete sense. We work with clients from all over the world. Pets are our four-legged children, aka ‘fur-babies’.