Money for old rope?

“Money for old rope” is a comment I saw on a social media platform this week. Added to a stream of recommendations for estate agents. 

It made my blood boil! Let it be known that my husband felt the wrath of that frustration the poor man!

I have to tell you, having worked in this industry for nearly 20 years, customers have become friends (some life long) and some customers… well, maybe they just didn’t like estate agents. 

However, I think I speak for most agents when I say that we work blooming hard! 

So, let me explain just exactly what you should be getting from a high street agent that (on average) could be charging you anything from 1% to 2%. 

Advertising. Rightmove charge the best part of £1000 a month to advertise on their site. Zoopla slightly less. Then there’s Boomin, Onthemarket.com, social media… it all adds up. A high street agent needs at least 3 completions a month just to cover those costs. 

Staff. Without a doubt the most crucial part of the process. Staff there to do your viewings for you, to negotiate an offer, to deal with incoming calls and emails about your property, to progress a sale through to completion liaising with solicitors, buyers, mortgage brokers, surveyors and more. To keep on top of latest news, legislation and marketing techniques- again, for your benefit. Consider their salaries or their hourly rate, then their fuel to get to and from the viewings. Qualifying your offers to ensure your buyer can afford it and provide all the relevant documents required. 

Internal systems. To ensure we can document all your activity from email enquiries to viewings and feedback and offers. This costs… monthly.

Photography and floorplans. Again, usually via monthly subscription to ensure your property is presented in its best possible light and with as much detail as possible. 

Office overheads. The office space, the gas and/ or electric, rates, water, cleaners. 

Equipment. Stationary, pens, pads, tape measures (usually laser nowadays), cameras, computers for the systems and staff.

For sale boards. Granted, an average of £50 per board may not seem a lot but when you are trying to run a business every penny counts. In addition, you never know, it could be the board that sold it because the neighbour saw it and told someone on the school run and that’s how the viewing was generated. 

Insurance. If someone falls over in your property during a viewing, who do you think will be held accountable? Car insurance for when the negotiators come to do viewings. 

While we are not (yet) regulated all good agents are registered with governing bodies such as The Ombudsman or The Property Redress Scheme. Part of the NAEA and or RICS all of which are there to ensure customers are treated fairly and we (the agent) are up to date on legislation and law which in turn serves for the customers’ benefit. 

So, after my (informative) rant, if you feel that your agent only offered “money for old rope” then you chose the wrong agent.

What I can tell you is that usually, you pay for what you get. With that in mind, if you choose an agent based on a cheap fee then you probably will be paying money for old rope.