Author Topic: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service? (update post 27)  (Read 6389 times)

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snowfire

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2013, 12:10:28 PM »
I don't know how real estate transactions work in the UK, but I would probably go with C & D.  That's pretty much what I did both when we were looking for a house and when my MIL was looking.  I had given the list of basic MUST HAVES to the realtor & then anything that matched or came very, very close got a second look before we actually went out.  On some of the ones for my MIL I did a drive by before we set up an appointment to actually view the house as some houses that looked good on paper were in really poor locations.

I wouldn't stay with a realtor who insisted on showing me say two story townhouses when I had specified single story home on acreage.  That is the sign of someone who isn't listening to your needs.

veryfluffy

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2013, 01:05:20 PM »
I think it may work differently in the US, but in the UK the agent is working for the vendor. They will only show properties that have been listed with their own agency. You can contact the agency and say you are interested in an X-bedroom house in a specific area, up to a maximum price of ŁY. You can say you need a big garden and a two car garage. What they will do is send you details of everything that is anywhere remotely near what you are looking for, and you decide which you want to see. Generally, you need to contact all the agencies that cover a particular area, since they will all have different properties on their books. But they are trying to sell whatever they have available, not meet any buyer's demands, since the buyer is not their client.
   

Deetee

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2013, 03:01:57 PM »
This is a house. This is (likely) the most expensive asset and most important investment you will make as well as the place you will live. This is not the time to worry about the feelings of someone who is incompetant. It is not your job to train him. (And after 4 months, he should be communicating more and checking to see which of your criteria are negotiable if what you are looking for is that rare)

Get an agent you want and like. Do your own research and (as long as you haven't signed a contract) feel free to use multiple agents for sending you leads. When I was buying, I had an agent (just one but he was very good and very responsive) and did online searching on my own and I also went to open houses.

If what you are looking for is impossible, the agents should be letting you know too.

Deetee

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2013, 03:07:38 PM »
I think it may work differently in the US, but in the UK the agent is working for the vendor. They will only show properties that have been listed with their own agency.

Interesting. Here (Canada) there are two agents involved in the transaction, the vendor's and the seller's. So I have an agent who can look at any and all houses by any and all vendor's. He worked for me. The seller's agent was responsible for the selling part of it. When I purchased the house, a commission was paid to each agent. In my case, the house was actually listed by the same company and I needed to sign a disclaimer that I was OK with that.

If it is different in the UK, then you should absolutely go with multiple, multiple agents.

lurkerwisp

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2013, 03:44:21 PM »
I'm actually wondering why you didn't do B from the start?  How is the guy supposed to know what a suitable property would be if you haven't already given him a detailed list?  He's a real estate agent, not a mind reader.

secretrebel

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2013, 01:04:59 PM »
I'm actually wondering why you didn't do B from the start?  How is the guy supposed to know what a suitable property would be if you haven't already given him a detailed list?  He's a real estate agent, not a mind reader.

Lurkerwisp. I told him in detail about my requirements but he doesn't seem to have retained the information.

Margo

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2013, 02:15:10 PM »
I think it may work differently in the US, but in the UK the agent is working for the vendor. They will only show properties that have been listed with their own agency.

Interesting. Here (Canada) there are two agents involved in the transaction, the vendor's and the seller's. So I have an agent who can look at any and all houses by any and all vendor's. He worked for me. The seller's agent was responsible for the selling part of it. When I purchased the house, a commission was paid to each agent. In my case, the house was actually listed by the same company and I needed to sign a disclaimer that I was OK with that.

If it is different in the UK, then you should absolutely go with multiple, multiple agents.

I didn't know that was how it worked in Canada (I'm in the UK) VeryFluffy's right. Here, the agents work for, and are paid by, the vendor. You don't pay anything to an agent when you are buying a property. Once you find a house a make an offer you instruct a solicitor who then deals with the technicalities of the purchase. So both vendor and buyer will have lawyers who they pay, but only the seller has an agent.

There are a few people who offer a service doing the initial winnowing & making recommendations but they are not the norm - I think it tends to be mostly for people getting relocated by large companies, where they aren't paying themselves for the service. (well, and people who sign up for reality property shows on tv..!)

Deetee

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2013, 02:19:29 PM »
[I didn't know that was how it worked in Canada (I'm in the UK) VeryFluffy's right. Here, the agents work for, and are paid by, the vendor. You don't pay anything to an agent when you are buying a property. Once you find a house a make an offer you instruct a solicitor who then deals with the technicalities of the purchase. So both vendor and buyer will have lawyers who they pay, but only the seller has an agent.


Minor clarification. As the buyer you don't pay the real estate agents anything directly. You pay the for the house to the lawyer and the seller and then the seller pays the agents (though I think the money goes to the bank for the mortgage and then to the agents and then to the seller with each taking a cut.

However, it seemed to me to be a false distinction. I remember my agent saying that I wan't paying the commission, the seller was. But that seemed silly because the commission is built into the cost of the house and I was buying the house so the money seemed to be coming from me (just in a roundabout fashion).

secretrebel

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2013, 06:13:00 AM »
Thanks everyone for the advice so far.

I'm going to type up the list of what I want in a property and give it to new agents and to "John". I don't expect anything from him but if he has my list I can tell him to check my list again when he tries to send me details of something inappropriate. Even though I haven't signed a contract to sell my house yet, I'd still prefer to do it through Sherlock's if possible - but I'll need to talk to the branch manager before doing that because John makes me a lot less confident in their competence. I don't want him showing my house to loads of people who don't want anything like it!

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. 

LEMon, that's a great point. I'm looking across a fairly large range of types of property but I do have a number of requirements which when stacked up together make the right house harder to find. The market is a bit challenging but not impossible. One of the things that's so weird about John is that he keeps showing me houses way under our budget - when the classic image of agents is they try to upsell you something over your ceiling price.

Perfect Circle

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2013, 07:44:44 AM »
I would most definitely call the branch manager and explain that you were very pleased with their service before but you are not happy with the agent you have been assigned.

I did that when we were looking for our current house. I was selling through a particular agency I'd chosen because of good previous experience and their seller team was fantastic. The sold our house three years ago in the middle of the housing slump in a week and for exactly what we expected to get for it. The agent who was showing us property however was clueless and did not listen to anything we told him. We were very particular about the two areas we would consider, the size of the property and our garden and none of the houses he wanted to show us matched even remotely to our requirements.

So we changed the person who was dealing with us at their branch. In the end we actually bought a house through another agency, but that was because our selling agent wasn't presenting it and it was perfect.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2013, 08:11:24 AM »
[I didn't know that was how it worked in Canada (I'm in the UK) VeryFluffy's right. Here, the agents work for, and are paid by, the vendor. You don't pay anything to an agent when you are buying a property. Once you find a house a make an offer you instruct a solicitor who then deals with the technicalities of the purchase. So both vendor and buyer will have lawyers who they pay, but only the seller has an agent.


Minor clarification. As the buyer you don't pay the real estate agents anything directly. You pay the for the house to the lawyer and the seller and then the seller pays the agents (though I think the money goes to the bank for the mortgage and then to the agents and then to the seller with each taking a cut.

However, it seemed to me to be a false distinction. I remember my agent saying that I wan't paying the commission, the seller was. But that seemed silly because the commission is built into the cost of the house and I was buying the house so the money seemed to be coming from me (just in a roundabout fashion).

Yeah, but that would be true of anything.

You buy a car, and the commission to the car salesman comes from his employer--but out of the purchase price.

You buy a dress, and the commission to the sales lady comes from her employer--but out of the purchase price.

You buy groceries, and the paycheck of the cashier comes from her employer--but out of the purchase price.

Remember that money is fungible. Your price may be $5,000 higher than if there were no agent, but the moment it leaves your hand, it isn't yours. (and heck--maybe they're paying that $5,000 out of their savings account, and not out of the check they get from you. Would you still think that you are paying the commission?)

Deetee

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2013, 12:19:37 PM »
[I didn't know that was how it worked in Canada (I'm in the UK) VeryFluffy's right. Here, the agents work for, and are paid by, the vendor. You don't pay anything to an agent when you are buying a property. Once you find a house a make an offer you instruct a solicitor who then deals with the technicalities of the purchase. So both vendor and buyer will have lawyers who they pay, but only the seller has an agent.


Minor clarification. As the buyer you don't pay the real estate agents anything directly. You pay the for the house to the lawyer and the seller and then the seller pays the agents (though I think the money goes to the bank for the mortgage and then to the agents and then to the seller with each taking a cut.

However, it seemed to me to be a false distinction. I remember my agent saying that I wan't paying the commission, the seller was. But that seemed silly because the commission is built into the cost of the house and I was buying the house so the money seemed to be coming from me (just in a roundabout fashion).

Yeah, but that would be true of anything.

You buy a car, and the commission to the car salesman comes from his employer--but out of the purchase price.

You buy a dress, and the commission to the sales lady comes from her employer--but out of the purchase price.

You buy groceries, and the paycheck of the cashier comes from her employer--but out of the purchase price.

Remember that money is fungible. Your price may be $5,000 higher than if there were no agent, but the moment it leaves your hand, it isn't yours. (and heck--maybe they're paying that $5,000 out of their savings account, and not out of the check they get from you. Would you still think that you are paying the commission?)

Sorry, but I don't understand what you are trying to say. I mean I think I agree with what you are saying, but you seem to think you are saying something different than I was?

As the buyer you pay all costs (hidden and open) associated with a purchase. That's how commerce works. Of course I would think I was paying the commission even if it happened to get paid out of a different account than the one "my" money went into.

I was trying to clarify that we don't hire our buying agent per se, but they do get paid (but only if they are successful). I just thought it was silly of my agent to suggest I wasn't paying his commission just because the money happened to pass through a few other hands first. If I didn't buy the house, he would get no commission.

secretrebel

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service? (update post 27)
« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2013, 10:18:01 AM »
I'm back with an update!

So, after getting good advice from eHell I decided to continue my house hunt online and with other agents. I did type up the list of my requirements and sent it to John at Sherlocks and a bunch of other agents too. (The list had essential and desirable criteria for houses and a note about please not to call our mobiles unless the message was time sensitive) Everyone replied except John.

Last week the calls from John started, he called at work when I was on my mobile and I took the call. He said he had a house that I would be interested in and I said to email the details. He sent them through by email and I saw it was a house I'd seen online a month ago and rejected. (One of the reasons I decided not to enquire further was that I didn't want to deal with John and Sherlocks and it was listed through them.)

He called twice more on my mobile while I was unavailable so I didn't pick up. Today I emailed back and said thanks for the details but it looks as though X and Y are not what we are looking for, do you have a floor plan. I also asked if he had received the email I sent on 22 January with the details of what we were looking for and the message not to call my mobile and if he could please not do this because I was usually in meetings during the day.

I got a message back saying basically "we don't do floor plans" and ignoring everything else I'd said in my email.

So more bad service from John but everyone else we're dealing with is much more professional. If we buy a house it won't be through Sherlocks.

MrTango

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service?
« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2013, 11:59:36 AM »
At this point, I'd send John an email:

"Dear John,

At this time, I/we have decided to discontinue our home search through your agency.  Please do not contact me/us again with further listings or information.

Regards,
your name(s)"

After that, I'd mark anything from his email address as spam and I'd block his number from my phone or simply stop taking his calls.

Giggity

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Re: Estate agent: any way to handle poor service? (update post 27)
« Reply #29 on: March 05, 2013, 04:11:59 PM »
What's an OH?
Words mean things.