Author Topic: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service? (update post 27)  (Read 6223 times)

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secretrebel

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Estate agent: any way to handle poor service? (update post 27)
« on: January 15, 2013, 02:20:48 PM »
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.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 12:14:22 PM by secretrebel »

Only me

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 02:27:03 PM »
Hi

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.

Onlyme

wheeitsme

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2013, 02:29:59 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.

mrkitty

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 02:44:51 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.


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
Learn from past. Live in the present. Hope for the future.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2013, 02:54:51 PM »
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. 

bopper

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2013, 03:18:40 PM »
If you want to stay with Sherlock;s, then ask for A branch manager and ask if you can be assigned someone else or you will be taking your business to Gregory's. 
John's service is not timely and he is steering you to the wrong listings.

Amara

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2013, 03:26:39 PM »
At this point I would just send John a message, thanking him for his efforts but letting him know that you are going with another agent. Then I would begin working exclusively with Eric.

veryfluffy

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2013, 03:40:19 PM »
Are you in the UK?
Because my understanding of the system here is that you don't really wait around for a particular estate agent  to find you a property (unless you have signed up with a search firm).

It does sound like he is inexperienced and not very professional, but since he isn't actually working for you (it's only the seller that pays his fees), it's a bit hard to complain about the service you are getting.
   

Shoo

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2013, 04:28:35 PM »
I think you should just do C.  And D, of course.  You should always be doing D, even if you have an agent working for you.

crella

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2013, 05:59:14 PM »
C and D , I think.  When we looked for our house in the US, online listings enabled us to see a couple hundred properties to get an overview of the market, from which we could narrow down and find something that suited us. We had a list of 15 properties in hand when we went to the real estate agent's office, and things went really well.

LEMon

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2013, 08:03:22 PM »
I'm wondering if the type of property you want is a very hot commodity.  The second agent having two properties that he couldn't show you and putting you on a list makes that seem very likely.  In a challenging market, you need an excellent agent, one with lots of resources and a very good feel for what you want. 

Go with the second firm and do some research yourself.

You may want to have a good talk with your new agent regarding making an offer, then selling the current property.  Then think through whether you are comfortable doing that.  If the market is moving quickly, you may need to be able to jump if you find 'your' house.

Luci

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2013, 08:11:29 PM »
I think you are going to be getting bettter advice than I can give, but just wanted you to know that a Realtor has met certain qualifications and paid to be a Realtor, which is a made up word and copyrighted. Many people in the U S do not use it properly. and it is 2 syllables, as you spelled it.

Slartibartfast

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2013, 12:59:17 AM »
Go with the second company.  Find something you like.  When the paperwork is all but done, go back to Sherlock's and let the new manager (or someone else up the chain) know that your experience with John was so past unsatisfactory that it was actively annoying, and you went with a different company as a result.  The reason I say wait until you've already found and signed for something is to prevent someone at Sherlock's from upping the pressure and harassing you even more  :-\  Yes, they might give you an excellent agent instead, but it sounds like you found that at a competitor anyway - no sense taking the risk of someone trying a hard sell on you.

Margo

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2013, 07:20:11 AM »
Quote
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?

I would say yes to C. However, in terms of BUYING I would not limit myself to any one agent. So I would do b, but also let other agents have the same list, and be doing my own research on internet sites etc. Unless you are buying in a very high price bracket I would not, however, expect the agents to check a detailed list of requirements for you. I would expect them to send you details of any and all properties which are in your price range (and a little above) and in the general area you've indicated that you are interested in. This has always been my experience.

I think you *can* reasonably set boundaries about how / how often you should be contacted - e.g. request that any details of properties are sent to you by e-mail, that they not call you more than once a day (except in relation to any offer on your own property) etc.

I  personally would probably mention your views about John to his manager - it sounds as though he was too assiduous in some ways (multiple calls and voicemails) and not assiduous enough in others (not following through when he'd said he'd do something, not contacting you at all for months) BUT as you mention that you haven't yet put your own property on the market, is it possible that he/they thought you weren't seriously looking?

JenJay

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2013, 08:15:42 AM »
I would email John, with his boss copied, and tell him that I will be finding a new firm and why. If you don't tell him he'll continue to call you all day whenever he finds the "perfect" house that's all wrong for you. I'd say something like "I have decided to go with another firm and will no longer need your services. I tried repeatedly to explain what budget and amenities we are looking for yet you continue to suggest homes that do not meet our criteria. Months would go by with no contact and then, when you did call, you'd leave 5-10 messages within a few hours. I don't think we are a good fit but I wish you luck with your other clients."

D, too. Our last home was one that DH found online and asked our agent to show us.  :)