As stock levels remain extremely low across Bath and some estate agent head office beancounters feel the pinch of low figures as a result, the last fortnight has seen letterboxes in the city jammed open again with yet another freshly printed batch of glossy agents leaflets. Generic leaflets through your door are a fact of life – we all know that. Aggravating if you get a sudden draught in the hallway or if post piles up in an empty home but something to be endured. Whether its pizza delivery menus, political newspapers, religious paraphernalia or estate agents mailers, it pretty much goes straight in the recycling box along with the rest of the junk mail and you go on with life as normal.
However, this is sometimes just the tip of the iceberg in touting terms and it’s some more insidious techniques that have prompted plenty of calls and questions from owners this week in our regular Bath property Q&A sessions. The objections seem to fall into two broad categories;
Following up valuations
So you’ve carefully chosen several local agents to value your home and they’ve all delivered a price, suggested a marketing strategy and written to you to formally confirm their proposal. All well and good but what do they do next? Will you be left alone to make your choice? – after all, picking someone you trust to assist in the sale of your biggest asset is not a decision to be taken lightly.
Unfortunately what often happens is a cascade of chase calls – one owner reported this happened thrice a week for a month. I’ve spoken with other clients who had been called within an hour of the agent leaving at the end of the valuation and then every day for a week. There are plenty of good reasons why owners don’t immediately appoint an agent – maybe they have to consult with family members, do research into finances or simply decide where to move next – so chasing repeatedly can often feel like bordering on harassment.
On this subject, I think one of my owners best summed up what should be done in a recent testimonial on Allagents.co.uk
“One of the things I particularly liked about you is that, way back in the beginning, you didn’t hound me. Told it like it was and trusted that I had sufficient functioning brain cells to decide what I wanted and where to find your phone number.” (Mrs F – Crescent Gardens)
Unsolicited touting of owners already on the market
Options spotted on doormats again recently have varied from business cards with “Call me” scribbled on the back in fake handwriting to rambling letters along the lines of “We’ve noticed your house is still for sale and wondered if we could help…”. If you’re got a board outside, you may even get an unsolicited visit which can be very unnerving for some clients.
Leaving aside the carefully worded spin in most touting communications – usually around whether the agent in question may or may not actually have a buyer for your house – from experience, the better agents don’t need to get business in this manner as word of mouth and recommendation still goes a long way.
“Who is this person that speaks to me as though I needed his advice?”
(Edward I Longshanks in Braveheart)