Yes, even we loath (the majority) of estate agents! Now to be clear, we’re putting letting agents and estate agents under the same banner. We all know the image - a slick, cocky, blue-suited, over-smiley and most certainly over-slimy agent who has more excuses than solutions up their sleeves.
At this point it is prudent to call out the obvious - Prime Living is a lettings business with expert letting agents as the core team. However, we have unfortunately inherited a stereotype which, let's be honest, is sadly still alive and kicking even to this day.
We are certainly disheartened to hear of landlords who have been neglected or even taken advantage of by rogue agents. More than sadness, is a feeling of anger towards such individuals and organisations. A client is someone who is under the protection or care of another - something which a large portion of this industry has seemed to forgotten, predominantly replaced with greed or simply negligence.
We are immensely proud of the service and care we provide our clients. It therefore makes us cringe to hear negative sweeping statements about the industry at whole. We understand it’s usually based on one or more negative experiences - so it is something we take in our stride and aim to make the client ‘a believer’ again.
So how can you avoid the wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing estate agent? Here are some thoughts:
Feel free to ask the agent to talk with 2-3 of their clients. If there is an element of random selection possible - that is even better.
Search for any tenant and landlord reviews online - you can gather a good impression from what others say, especially the landlords.
Do they have all the correct qualifications/certifications? Some ones to check
Property Ombudsman registered
Client Money Protection registered
Information Commissioner's Office registered
Part of a larger professional body. E.g. Arla PropertyMark
Part of any larger business body. E.g. London Chamber of Commerce
Ask them difficult, technical questions to get a gauge of their competence to handle your property.
Most importantly, talk to them over a sustained period and trust your gut - you can usually tell if an agent is looking at you as a genuine client or simply as their next commission cheque.
There are agents out there like ourselves who love to do right by their clients and to truly make their lives easier - so our apologies to any of our fellow real agents for this post.
The team at Prime Living have already changed the perception of many clients that we are proud to say are ‘our fans’. And we hope we can do our fair share to change the overall perception of this industry at large.