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Estate agent: any way to handle poor service? (update post 27)

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OH and I are thinking of moving house for various reasons but we don't need to move urgently. We organised a valuation visit from one firm of estate agents (is Realtor the correct US term?) and the branch manager came and visited the house, gave an estimate of the market price and said that houses like ours are sought after so it would likely sell quite fast when we put it on the market. We then started looking for houses in the price bracket that we're looking to buy.

The estate agent firm, let's call them "Sherlocks" are the same firm I bought the house through and they gave good service throughout. The branch manager, the mortgage adviser and one of the other members of the firm all provided good service this time around too. Unfortunately we seem to have been assigned to a junior member of the firm as our contact person because he took the phonecall I made to set up the valuation. The junior member of the firm we'll call "John".

John has not impressed me. In the first week after contact he suggested two properties to visit. Neither really matched our requirements so we explained these some more and asked to view more properties in a different price bracket from the first two.
In the second week John called my mobile phone 7 times in one day each time leaving a a message saying "this is John from Sherlocks please return my call on this number". When I got back to him at 17.00 he gave me the details of an unsuitable property and I declined to view it.
The next weekend he called 5 times while I was in a mobile phone dead zone visiting my aunt again leaving exactly the same message and when I returned the call said that he had got a message I wanted to see a particular property and gave the details. This property was even more unsuitable and I had left no such message so I think he had got confused between me and another customer.

Then for 3 months there was no contact. Eventually John phoned again and this time I picked up the call at once. He said he had details to email me of another property and confirmed my email address. The email never arrived. A week later I phoned him back to say the email had never arrived and he said he hadn't sent it yet because there had been some delay with the details and he would send it that day. The email never arrived.

John appears to be very young (actually he looked about 12 but he must be about 21). In person he is well dressed and up on the latest jargon but not very communicative. So he shows houses by saying "this is a good sized room, this is another good sized room, this is an attic conversion". He doesn't seem very experienced or genuinely professional.

Another month of no contact passed. During this time I looked at some property details online and found one listed by another agent: "Gregorys". I called them to ask about the property and spoke to a member of staff there "Eric". He explained that the property I was interested in was no longer available, suggested a similar alternative, asked some questions pleasantly and then called back to say that the second property was also not available but I was first on his list for something similar and requested a few more specific details about my needs.

The interaction with Eric at Gregory's made me think how poorly John's service had been- and not at all what I expected from Sherlocks. I decided that I would contact the branch manager at Sherlocks and ask if I could be assigned someone different from John as my contact. I knew this would be a delicate conversation so contacted Sherlock's by email to ask for his contact details. I received an email from John saying that the branch manager had left the firm and there was now a new branch manager. The John phoned me and suggested another unsuitable property and tried to encourage me to put my home on the market now.

Sorry this is so long! I've already decided to call other agents. I don't have a signed agreement with Sherlocks to let them sell my property, so there's no legal issue. Instead etiquette questions as follows...
a) Should I contact the new branch manager at Sherlocks and explain that I'm not very happy with the service from John?
b) SHould I send John a detailed list of requirements and see if he does any better with those?
c) Should I just forget John and Sherlocks and start trying to form a better relationship with Eric from Gregorys?
d) Shall I forget trying to get recommendations from agents and just continue internet searches myself?

My OH thinks that John isn't great at his job but isn't bothered enough by it to complain. I don't exactly want to complain but I kind of think Sherlocks should know that this was disappointing service.


I would think definately C & D, and A only if you feel like it. But if you do A, then let them know you aren't interested in using them because of "reason's you listed below". Can you just call Sherlocks and ask for the branch managers email and send one.

Its a hard call as the new branch manager @ Sherlocks may or maynot be interested in what you have to say.


I would do A and C.

How is Sherlock's going to know to either train John better or find someone better if people don't let them know.

But since you don't have anything tying you to Sherlocks, and you liked your interaction with Gregory's, I'd try with them.


--- Quote from: wheeitsme on January 15, 2013, 01:29:59 PM ---I would do A and C.

How is Sherlock's going to know to either train John better or find someone better if people don't let them know.

But since you don't have anything tying you to Sherlocks, and you liked your interaction with Gregory's, I'd try with them.

--- End quote ---

This. Definitely.

DH and I went through something similar when we listed our property years and years ago, but we had already signed a listing agreement with the agency. So we had no choice but to go with option A and they took it very seriously and assigned a new and MUCH better agent that treated us better and did a fine job selling the house.

In your situation, if you feel like giving them another chance, or even as a courtesy, I would try to contact the new branch manager and relate what you did in your op. But I also think you're fine if you are in a hurry and just want to move along and work with an agent and agency you feel more comfortable with.

In either case, though, I definitely think a detailed list of what you're looking for is a great idea. I did something similar, and included a list of "must haves" (i.e. house MUST have formal dining room; otherwise, don't show it to us) and "dealbreakers" (i.e. house must have six foot privacy fence around back yard or must be allowed by HOA CC&R's or we won't buy it. Period.)

The agent STILL tried to show us properties that violated the list, though; but after twice declining to see such properties she finally got the hint...and we found something we really liked!

I hope this helps and wish you great success & happiness with your home sale and purchase!  ;D

I would definetly do C & D.  There is no way I'd do B.  As far as A, if you are feeling charitable to Sherlock's you can spend your energy informing them why they lost the business but I do not feel you are obligated to in any way. 


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