High street rules
Thu 07 May 2015
The advent of online estate agency is upon us. It offers a set price for a set service, no more, no less. Some people like this model and argue that is no different to a normal agency -except that it saves them money. And yes, it does, if it all goes to plan.
However, the problem with this type of arrangement is the lack of contact between the agent and you, the customer. In my experience this is where house purchases can fall apart. A knowledgeable estate agent can help guide you through the process and provide a valuable sounding board if things get a little tricky. It’s all about local knowledge and customer service – something you may not get included in your online package.
Firstly we are experts. When you have your home valued, high street agents are basing it on our knowledge about the larger financial picture, including what’s happening nationally, but most importantly the local market.
Green & Co is an independent business, with more than 23 years of experience selling homes in your local community. As such we offer unique coverage and unrivalled knowledge of the local housing market. We have seven residential sales offices and five other specialist divisional offices across Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth, Great Barr and Castle Bromwich. Through this linked network of offices we’ve built up a strong database of buyers across the region, through which we can market any property in the area. We know who is looking for a particular type of property and where - and this is the sort of local information and detail which means we can get the best price for a property.
However, it’s not the only way in which a high street estate agent can offer more. Think about what your high street agent can do for you - web based agents don’t always offer the same range of services as a high street company. You may have to conduct viewings yourself and you may also have to negotiate with prospective buyers and do all the chasing from offer to completion, something which is included in the fee when you instruct a high street agent.
The other factor to consider is what to do when issues arise, especially after a sale has been agreed. A high street estate agent will support both the seller and buyer throughout this process and ensure that any additional reports, post survey, are obtained efficiently from approved contractors. Liaison between all parties up and down the property chain is also essential, along with agreeing - and in some instances re-agreeing - completion dates. Without this support who will negotiate to protect your agreed sale price if buyers request a reduction associated to repairs highlighted in reports?
At Green & Co we have taken inspiration from leading estate agents in London and across the world to develop a new approach to service, which is changing the way we communicate with current and potential customers.
We believe we are the first estate agent in the area to offer a central Customer Relationship Team, which is dedicated to building relationships, devoting time that branch teams simply wouldn’t have, in order to improve the level of service offered.
It means better ‘matching’ of prospective buyers to potential properties, more individual marketing packages for vendors and a better customer experience for all.
All new vendors will receive a phone call from the new Customer Relationship Team and regular ongoing contact is agreed. This initial phone call is far from a pushy sales call, it is a chance for our customers to ask any questions and to tell us how and when they’d like to be contacted in the future. Some customers prefer regular weekly contact, others may only want a phone call when there is news to report. Our team take the time to ask these questions and build a better relationship.
Everything is designed to provide a helping hand through what can be a difficult process and the early feedback has been fantastic. We are an estate agent who will pick up the phone on day one and say ‘this is how we’re going to make things easier for you.’ It’s simple, really. Without pointing out the obvious, there will always be an office that you can visit to sit down and have a face-to-face chat over a cup of coffee.
So when you are considering how to sell your home, think about what the potential pitfalls are - and consider whether you want to face those problems alone, or with the help of a local expert?
Chris Green, Director