First Contact – Are You Dealing With Applicants Correctly?

Having recently bought my last home, I went through the process of registering my details with all the local estate agents, the ‘hybrid’ agents and also a few on the property portals (when the agents refused to answer their phones).

I don’t know what was worse, the limited amount of information that a computer filled in form requested or the limited amount of information I was asked for by property professionals.

I will leave the Hybrid Agents and Property Portals out of this post, as they are not there to sell you anything, just send a property if and when it meets your requirements and even then it can be touch and go!

Instead I want to concentrate on my fellow estate agents and try and change those nasty habits that seem to have sprung up in the industry – I’m not sure if it is an ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ attitude towards the hybrid agents, a can’t really be bothered situation or a lack of real training that is hindering some estate agents from doing the job properly.

During my latest jaunt into an estate agents, the phone rang and although I could only hear one side of the conversation, it went like this:

“Good Morning, XXXXXX Estate Agents”


“Yeah, what’s the name?”

“Hang on, my pen doesn’t work” (He didn’t have a pen in his hand!)

“What’s your number?”

“What price range?”

“How many beds?”

“Nahhh, that’s sold mate”


The phone then goes down, without even a thank you for calling and he then announces to his colleagues, with me stood in the office “Waster!”

I really hope that this doesn’t go on in your offices (obviously it did in this one), if it had been my office I would have gone nuts!

Some of you may be laughing away thinking this doesn’t happen, but my latest experience when looking was almost identical, which means there are a lot more of you doing it than you might think.


Number one on every estate agents list is to gather instructions, well if you don’t have anything to sell you don’t need applicants ! But applicants follow a very close second, not only are you trying to match them to the properties you have, but also to your vendors needs.

#1 – Answering the phone is a great start, but answer it like you’re enjoying your work, otherwise you will just sound disinterested and that is not a good start.

“Good Morning, XXXXX Estate Agents”

#2 – The customer on the end of the phone may either want to register their details or may be enquiring about specific properties. Either way your aim is to get their details onto what ever system you use.

“I will just take some details to help us narrow down what you are looking for”

#3 – At this point you are a nameless soul on the other end of a phone, so it’s time to make it a little more personal.

“My name is XXXXX and yours?”

#4 – Every applicant card seems to follow the same process, name, address, telephone number etc.. And as you now have their name it is time to deviate and show a deeper interest.

“What type of property are you looking for Miss/ Ms/ Mr (use their name)?”

#5 – The applicant may have given you the amount of bedrooms, reception rooms, area and price during #4, but it will always be a good idea to clarify the price again. How much they have to spend is generally different to what price they are looking at.

“How much are you looking to spend?”

#6 – Time to find out what situation the customer is in.

“Do you have a property to sell, in order to proceed with your next purchase?”

This way you can find out if they are a FTB, HTS, NOM etc..

#7 – It seems that some agents still get excited by an FTB, SSTC or a cash buyer without clarifying one important point and also now would be a good time to mention their name again.

“What is your time scale for moving Mrs/ Ms /Mr XXXXX”

Why ask this? A FTB could be in rented accommodation for the next six months, cash buyers may have to draw down funds locked in an account or those that are SSTC may need to move in three weeks.

#8 – You have already asked what type of property that the applicant is looking for, but it’s time to open up the box a little further and get some answers that you can work with.

“What is important to you in this home?”

You will find not many agents ask this, but it is an important step in matching what the applicant really wants to your vendors homes, feel free to ask “Why?” when they supply you with the information – maybe they want a Victorian home because of high ceilings or a big garden for growing their own produce – all this information is a gold mine.

#9 – You have listened to everything they have to say and started to earn trust, so all that remains is to gather the rest of the information that you need to complete your registering process.

” I am just going to take the rest of your details and then we can look at the properties that match your criteria”

#10 – All I am dealing with in this post is registering the potential purchaser because at this point you can go through details of properties that you have, make viewings or email particulars to go through at a later date. All that is left is for you to sign off.

“Thank you for calling today Mr/ Mrs/ Miss XXXXX and I will get back to you (with regards ‘what ever you discussed Viewings, going over Properties sent etc…’)”


I personally think that an applicant registering would remember both types of phone call that we have just been over, but only one of them for the right reasons.

Not only have you asked questions to help yourself, you have actually indicated to the customer that you are competent at your job – and because you showed a lot of interest in what exactly they were looking for and then took their address, if they are local and have a property to sell, would that not be easier to turn it into a valuation?










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Selling property for over 25 years, helping vendors achieve higher values, purchasers to get the home they want and helping Estate Agents achieve their goals.

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