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Perception and Reality

22nd June 2018

Insider advice from Mark Mugliston, Residential Sales Manager, in his monthly column in the Diss Express.

At a recent annual conference of the National Association of Estate Agents, one of the speakers was the principal data analyst from Rightmove who provided some really interesting stats gathered about our customers and their interaction with estate agents.  I’m interested to see if you recognise yourself and agree with some of their findings.

One of their questions was: “What do people think takes up most of an estate agents time?”

The general public think that most of our time is spent arranging viewings, when in fact I can confirm that we spend most time progressing sales and problem solving.  I’ve often quoted that nearly 50% of our time is spent dealing with ‘after sales’ issues and communication; if the conveyancing system changed I might be out of a job!

How do you prefer to be contacted, whether buying or selling?

Maybe surprisingly, 87% said they prefer to be contacted by e-mail, 77% by phone, while half of people prefer face-to-face contact.  So there is definitely still the case for the traditional high street agent, but it’s also changing.  I’ve seen that in my several years in this job and, like many businesses, we’ve had to adapt. 

One interesting development though is among so-called millennials, those who came of age from 2000 onwards.  This group has grown up with technology and it is commonplace for them.  However, things may be going full circle as the majority of millennials say they want personal contact with a higher percentage, the younger they are.

A survey of vendors was asked for the three most valuable assets in an estate agent.

The responses in order of priority were In trustworthiness, professionalism and knowledge.  I hope the time when estate agents are considered as being ‘dodgy and unreliable’ are now behind us!

A different survey asked the general public: “Which celebrity would make a perfect estate agent?”

The top three were David Attenborough, Phillip Schofield and Martin Lewis.  I think this mirrors the three characteristics mentioned above, but what is also interesting that the top three are all male which will be disappointing for my many female colleagues.

A day in the life of an estate agent is a hugely varied one and it’s a great privilege to be invited to be part of the biggest transaction many people will make and, according to many surveys, one of the most stressful.

What the job isn’t is being like Kirstie & Phil with a series of endless viewings followed by a pint in a cosy pub. There is a tremendous amount of legislation to be aware of and the penalties for digressions are huge both personally and for our employers. I see some wonderful properties doing market appraisals and valuations and meet interesting people every day, however starting out in estate agency is hard, competitive and challenging – and mostly office based telephone work.

The three qualities identified are key and while the first two are attitudes that most of the people I’ve worked with over the years have had, the knowledge side takes years to build up, particularly when it comes to local knowledge of the housing stock and market place.

If you fancy a career in estate agency I would thoroughly recommend it – I think I have the best job In the world.

If you are interested then I’m happy to talk to anyone and pass on a few tips about starting out and explain more about what it’s like on this side of the For Sale board!