Your house has been on the market for a while and you can’t help but doubt whether your estate agent is doing their job. How can you confirm your suspicions?
I often hear from sellers who say their estate agent is “absolutely useless” and not performing. You should always do your research before hiring an agent – don’t just take someone’s word for it.
Take a look on Rightmove to see how long it takes them to sell a property and check if there are any ‘sold’ or ‘under offer’ banners. Drive around to see what they’re doing.
If you’ve already signed up with an agent and they’re not actively selling your property, that’s not good. You should be getting viewings. If you’re not, it’s either because the agent isn’t making an effort or they’ve priced the property incorrectly. Make sure your property is priced right or you won’t get any interest.
If your agent isn’t performing or keeping you up to date with the situation, then they’re not doing their job.
Don’t sign up for a long-term agreement with any agent – if they’re not performing, you could be stuck with them for a while. Be very careful.
Table of Contents
Why do estate agents not respond?
There are a few possible explanations for why a real estate agent may not answer when you are looking to list a property. It’s likely they are occupied with other customers, away on vacation, or dealing with personal matters.
It’s also plausible that they may not be open to taking on new listings at this time.
How often should I chase my estate agent?
It’s important to agree with your estate agent how often you’ll be in touch. We recommend speaking at least once a week.
Even after an offer has been accepted, it’s a smart idea to stay in regular contact with both your estate agent and your conveyancer. This will ensure the sale goes through without a hitch.
Beware of the agent’s motives
It’s a sad reality that some agents prioritize securing new business over closing deals. This is because they are often paid commissions for new listings, rather than successful sales. As a result, these agents may do anything to get your instruction, but neglect to do the work afterwards.
Online agencies are no better. Although they might offer seemingly cheap upfront fees, the term ‘upfront’ is a red flag. When they take your money before doing any work, they have little incentive to get the job done – not ideal if you’re a seller.
In contrast, Petty’s operates differently. We use a salary structure instead of the industry standard commission-based approach. This approach means our team can focus solely on your move, rather than worrying about their monthly earnings.
Now that we’ve discussed this, let’s get down to why you’re here…
How to tell if your estate agent is not performing?
If you already have your property listed and you’re not satisfied with the outcome, you may be tempted to switch to another agent right away.
However, it’s wise to take a step back and objectively evaluate the situation before making a decision. After all, there may be a valid reason why your house isn’t being sold.
Here are eight considerations that will help you make a more informed choice rather than one based solely on emotion:
Little to no interest in your home
Sellers may start to question their estate agent’s performance when they don’t see the results they expect. It’s important to make your concerns known and ask why this is the case. Don’t be too aggressive, but make sure your voice is heard.
You should also ask if there is something you can do to speed things up. Even if you have already been advised on how to prepare your home for sale, there could still be something you can do to increase the number of viewings. Consider all options.
It is also worth considering that some homes may be less attractive than others. This may be due to the area, or simply the aesthetics of the home.
If you are trying to sell a large, expensive family home in an area with a high demand for one-bedroom apartments, fewer people will likely be interested. It’s possible that selling your property may be a waiting game.
The most important thing is to make sure that your agent is doing all they can to sell your home. If they are, you should keep them. If they are not, it’s time to switch.
Explore your property’s exposure
If you’re not getting much interest in your home, the reason could be that your agent isn’t presenting it to enough people. If potential buyers don’t know about your sale, they won’t be scheduling a viewing.
It’s easy to check. Ask your agent for a full report on how they’re marketing your home. They should have their own website (with traffic figures) and list on at least one of the larger property sites such as Rightmove, Zoopla or OnTheMarket (we use all three).
Find out about their social media presence. Are their accounts active? Are the properties presented well on them? What sort of engagement do they get?
Do they send out regular emails to prospective buyers?
In addition to digital, do they have an offline strategy? Even if newspapers and others are taking a backseat to the internet, all avenues should be explored to get maximum exposure.
Check other things like their window display, and ask if they have any other materials that could get people to see your sale.
Not enough information included in listings
You don’t want your listing to seem overly promotional, but you do want your agent to showcase your property in the best way possible.
To do this, make sure your listing includes things like floor plans, local information, professional photography, and a descriptive account of the home.
If anything is missing from your listing, consider why that may be the case.
Property details aren’t correct or updated regularly
This is a serious warning sign. Online marketing moves fast, so it’s essential that your listing is up-to-date. If the details of your sale don’t match across different portals, you should be concerned.
Your agent should be monitoring any changes to your property’s listing. If they’re not, buyers could be left confused and choose to look elsewhere.
If you spot any errors, tell your agent and see how they respond. If their reaction is unsatisfactory, it may be time to switch to a better agency.
Communication breakdown...or none at all!
Communication between agents and vendors is vital, so you should feel comfortable calling them for any reason.
If you are hesitant to call them, something could be wrong with your working relationship. If calls are not answered or you are being avoided, it is a red flag. You should be the priority for the agent. Anything less is unacceptable.
Let them know the best way to contact you, be it by email or phone. Give them a second chance to show they can communicate with you, but don’t accept poor communication twice. It is that important.
Lack of expertise and professionalism
Are you the one driving the process forward? Has the information from your agent been unhelpful? If so, you might need to consider switching agents soon.
It’s important to remember that you’re paying for a service, so if the agent you’re dealing with isn’t as knowledgeable as you’d expect, why are you paying them?
Estate agents should demonstrate knowledge and expertise without being overbearing and should do the tasks they’re paid to complete without needing to be reminded.
If each time you call your agent you feel more frustrated than informed, then it could be time to move on.
There’s no one person to turn to
Every sale should have a designated member of staff assigned to it. Being passed from one person to the next is both irritating and disheartening.
Different stages of the sale may involve different personnel or, at the very least, should if your agent has a sales progressor. But you should still have one particular agent you can rely on for advice or information when you need it.
Having one person concentrating on your sale will give you a sense of security, and also make the agent more accountable. Additionally, the whole team should be updated on the status of your property, so you can get quick answers to urgent inquiries if your agent is not available.
If your experience does not reflect this, you may want to look for another option.
Same agency, different faces
If you notice that your chosen estate agent is frequently changing staff, it is wise to be wary. While some shifts in personnel are to be expected, any more than the norm should raise suspicion.
If the agency cannot retain their staff, it is likely that their clients will feel unvalued. Additionally, a high turnover of personnel will likely have a negative impact on efficiency. Constant training of new staff and the loss of local knowledge that comes with each change may prove detrimental for clients.
A reliable estate agency should have a core team of dedicated members who know the company values, live in the local area, and are committed to providing the best service for their clients.
Questions to ask your agent
The most important thing is to get answers that will put your mind at rest. Speak to the most experienced person in the office and ask them: ‘In your honest opinion, why is my house not selling? Please don’t hold back. I will not be offended. I need to know exactly what it will take to sell my house.‘
If you are confident that you are with the right agent and they are doing everything you think they should be, 90% of the time, the asking price is too high.
If this is the case and you are getting viewers but no offers, it is likely the viewers are finding your home does not offer the best value for money when compared to other houses that are available or they have seen.
Potential buyers will always view houses at the very top of their budget. They want to spend all of their budget and will look at all the properties in their price range. Then they will make an offer on the house which meets their requirements the most and gives the best value for money.
In a nutshell, you are getting viewers but they are not satisfied with the space and location the property provides in comparison to others. Offers will start to come in when the property is correctly priced.
So, a good question to ask would be: ‘What price does my property need to be on the market to start receiving offers?’
If you’ve decided to switch estate agents, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, will it incur a cancellation fee? Some agents include a clause in their contract which entitles them to a fee if you switch.
If this is the case, it may be more prudent to try and resolve any issues you have with your current agent.
It is also advisable to check if there is an exclusivity clause in the contract. This is usually set for a certain period from the moment of instruction, so make sure the timeframe has passed. Additionally, ask the agent how they view dual fees.
Gather all the facts and figures before making any decision, as knowledge is power. Ideally, you would have chosen the best estate agent from the beginning, but sometimes this isn’t the case. We hope this article has been useful if you find yourself in this situation.
Can I sue my estate agent for negligence?
You may be able to sue your estate agent for negligence, though this must usually be done within six years of the negligent act causing you financial loss. It may be extended in some cases if the loss only becomes apparent later.
Are estate agents untrustworthy?
Estate agents are often perceived as dishonest and untrustworthy due to reports of exaggerating the value of properties or hiding defects.
What can I do if my estate agent is bad?
If your estate agent has acted illegally, you can raise a complaint. You may consider taking legal action, though this is usually costly.
If you have already attempted to settle the complaint without resorting to the courts, a judge is more likely to look favourably on your case.
When should you complain about an estate agent?
If your estate agent fails to respond to your written complaint within eight weeks or fails to solve your problem, you can complain to their independent complaints body, also known as a ‘redress scheme’.
Are you looking to sell your home?
Here’s why people love us:
Property Saviour Price Promise
- The price we’ll offer is the price that you will receive with no hidden deductions.
- Be careful with ‘cash buyers’ who require a valuation needed for a mortgage or bridging loan.
- These valuations or surveys result in delays and price reductions later on.
- We are cash buyers. There are no surveys.
- We always provide proof of funds with every formal offer issued.
We'll Pay £1,500 Towards Your Legal Fees
- No long exclusivity agreement to sign because we are the buyers.
- You are welcome to use your own solicitor.
- If you don’t have one, we can ask our solicitors for recommendations.
- We share our solicitor’s details and issue a Memorandum of Sale.
Sell With Certainty & Speed
- Our approach is transparent and ethical, which is why sellers trust us.
- 100% Discretion guaranteed.
- If you have another buyer, you can put us in a contracts race to see who completes first.
- Complete in 10 days or at a timescale that works for you. You are in control.