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Support the Independent?

26 September 2011

Support the Independent?

A recent report from Make it Cheaper and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR)  highlighted that many small independent agencies were struggling with their overheads and 67% were worried that they would not survive if costs continued to rise.

There was a rallying call to support the independent. We have seen these types of rallying calls before within the food industry where people were asked to support their local shops against the giant supermarket chains. You will though always have economies of scale with a larger firm so it will always be that little bit harder to compete for the independents.

As an independent review site we support all good agents but it is important that we have choice for the consumer.

It is though slightly different for with the estate Agency market. Costs are important especially with fuel and advertising costs. We would suggest that for a number of agents their biggest costs would be for the property portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla, Find a property etc. However, even here we would expect some economies of scale.

What is different is the estate agents charging structure to the consumer as this shows so much more when trying to compare who to use and support. So what does that look like:

-          You pay for the local knowledge of the agent

-          You should be paying for how pro-active they are in marketing your property

-          We are sure that most potential clients go onto a property portal but the majority of people do not move far so they will check the local agents websites and they will walk the local High Street.

-          Homeowners should be encouraged to get to know the area and given as much information as possible (this is a blog in itself).

-          It is not just a case of “x corporate” can sell a packet of crisps at 40p and apples at 10p each compared to the local shops at 50p and 18p. It is a little more in depth with estate agents.

You are paying someone to sell your house for you. You should not be afraid to ask questions:

-          Do they specialise in certain areas or types of property?

-          What is their average time to sell a property especially one that is similar to yours?

-          What is the split of type of properties they sell?

-          What else apart from putting your property on the internet and the shop window will they do to advertise your home?

-          What is the size of their active house hunting database?

-          Ask to see customer feedback if they have it?

If you are going to be spending a considerable amount of money then you should not worry about asking those questions. Selling you house should not be a lottery so make sure you ask the right questions and get the answers you need. It should not matter whether it is an independent or a major chain

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