At any one time across the UK, one million homes are being marketed for sale or for rent. That’s about 4% of the country’s property stock seeking a new occupant each month. Those tasked with facilitating such transactions are one of the oldest professions in the land – estate agents. (Not quite the oldest profession, that’s something else entirely). On average, according to Zoopla, it takes a UK home seller 50 days to find a buyer for their home. And then there’s the legal process known as ‘conveyancing’ and this takes, together with mortgage arrangements and so on, several weeks. In all, the home moving process could take between 3 and 6 months.
When we consider the time that it takes to move home, shouldn’t we also consider this in the context of how important it is to choose your estate agent carefully?
I mean, you are deciding upon a relationship that will last for perhaps six months and may involve daily interaction. It takes celebrities less time than that to get married and divorced sometimes!
And, what about the 9 to 5? By that I mean, do you think you’ll need to interact with an agent outside of your own working hours? Evenings, weekends, perhaps an early morning query here and there? If so, bear in mind that the vast majority of estate agents are very, very traditional in their opening hours and will mostly only talk to you when, ironically, you’re busy during the day.
The property industry in the United States does ‘service’ really well. They approach customer relationships with enthusiasm and encourage 24/7 contact and, frankly, they’re really nice about how they deal with people. They respect and appreciate their customers properly as, after all, they are paying them good money and no more so than when it comes to estate agency fees, which in the US are as high as 6%. In the UK, selling fees are amongst the lowest in the world – but does that mean that we should expect to compromise on how well we are looked after?