Your hobby might be cooking, photography or even stamp collecting, mine just happens to be anything to do with the property market. I always had my head buried in one article or another, always trying to forecast where the property market was going and staying five steps ahead of all the other Estate Agents around me.
About two years ago all the articles I was reading, started to focus on a ‘new type’ of Estate Agency and how these agents were going to revolutionise the way we sold our homes.
The definition of “Revolutionise” is to Change (something) radically or fundamentally – and after I had spent 25 years pushing for change in the industry I was looking forward to what this storm might bring us.
“Up the Revolution”, I screamed whilst facing this storm, tingling with trepidation at where it might take us, looking around as Estate Agents battened down the hatches in a defiant refusal to accept this glorious change.
I was looking for that moment when Luke Skywalker flies into the Death Star, lasers firing all around him and at the last second firing his weapons and watching that monstrous machine explode, a signal of a “New Hope”.
Instead of the glory I was looking for, it seems this storm picked me up, buffeted me around for a while and dumped me in the land of Oz – thankfully without the flying monkeys!
Just like Oz, this new era looked colourful and bright, with a yellow brick road that would lead us to right to the heart of this revolution.
Vanilla Latte in hand and a plate of chocolate chip cookies to keep me company, I began my journey through the Internet Highway in a bid to reach the fabled Oz, my chance to be accepted in this new world and to pin my badge of honour to my chest.
Tipping my head back to drain the last dregs of my latte and cleaning the cookie crumbs off my plate, I looked at my screen – after over 700 open window tabs and callouses on my finger tips from typing, I had finally arrived at ‘The Palace of Oz’.
It was an arduous journey, a maze of complication and at every turn a small snippet of information sat there waiting to be collected and collect them all I did, because I wanted to cross the finishing line knowing everything.
I walked into the Palace with my head held high, my quest complete and although I could see the Emerald pulpit in front of me – the ultimate goal in my revolution journey – I turned left to the large moth eaten curtain and pulled it aside.
I sank to my knees, for there stood the Wizard and his banks of computers, flashing through pictures of properties and data. My journey now at an end I wearily lift my head, tears streaming down my cheeks, I look the Wizard in the eye and raise my arms outwards “WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE? YOU’VE RUINED EVERYTHING!”
WHAT DID I FIND?
Spoiler Alert: If you are just about to instruct a ‘Hybrid Agent’ to sell your home and you don’t want to know what may come your way – stop reading now!
#1 – Commission / Fees
Hybrid – They state no commission, but they do charge a fee and you pay that fee if you sell your home or not.
Estate Agent – Charge a commission only on the completed sale of your property and could quite easily change the word ‘Commission’ to the word ‘Fee’
#2 – No Sale No Fee
Hybrid – There is a rumour that there are plans for Hybrids to offer ‘No Sale, No Fee’. This means their fee will now be high (£1,500) to put a picture of your home on the internet.
Estate Agent – It means what it says, you get a full package and if you move then you pay a fee, if not then you pay nothing.
#3 – Contracts
Hybrid – Did you just sign up for 10 months? Do you have to use their bucket shop conveyancing service? Or their Financial Services? When do you pay them? What else are you signing for, maybe a hidden finance agreement?
Estate Agent – Is it ‘No Sale, No Fee’? For around 12 weeks? Is the marketing price correct and the ‘fee’?
#4 – You Put Your Home On The Market
Hybrid – Job done, unless you have paid for the viewing service, if not then deal with the emails asking for viewings.
Estate Agent – This is the beginning of the process, the agent will now go about trying to sell your home, contact suitable applicants that meet your criteria and arrange viewings.
#5- Viewing Feedback
Hybrid – If you did the viewing then you can email and ask I guess, if you paid for the service then it seems you may have to chase and chase for an answer.
Estate Agent – They will phone the viewer and give feedback, after all they need to sell your home to get paid anything.
#6 – Offers
Hybrid – Thankfully you know the market inside out, have negotiated many offers on property and have the full information on your purchasers including financial, timescales and chain details.
Estate Agent – They do all of the above, which allows them to get the BEST price for your home – you may save on ‘fees’ with a hybrid, but lose thousands when negotiating an offer.
#7 – Chains
Hybrid – It’s down to your solicitor to speak to the solicitor above and below you in the chain.
Estate Agent – They will speak to EVERY solicitor, EVERY estate agent, EVERY financial advisor in a bid to get the chain moving towards completion, with the added advantage of being able to spot problems early. They do not like having a hybrid sale in the chain as this means they have to do their work for them.
#8 – Problems
Hybrid – It seems you find out these when it is too late, so it is time to put the property back on the market.
Estate Agent – Generally they are spotted early allowing you to make an informed decision on what your next step maybe.
#9 – You Need To Vent
Hybrid – Take to social media, twitter seems to be the best response time and type away until your frustration subsides or your internet drops out.
Estate Agent – Pick up the phone and have a good old rant at a person or why not pop into their office and do it face to face – even though you still have not paid a penny.
#10 Withdraw Your Property
Hybrid – If you didn’t pay upfront, now is the time to settle your bill.
Estate Agent – If you are changing agents there maybe a two week period (it will be in your contract) but if you are no longer selling it will be removed immediately and no bill to pay.
#11 – Moving Day
Hybrid – I have no idea what you are supposed to do with your keys when you move, except wait around until the new buyers turn up.
Estate Agents – Drop in your keys, these will be held until your solicitor says they can be released to the new buyer.
Anything Else ? …..
Ohhh, why not try this, after completion give them a 1 star rating on a site such as Trust Pilot and wait until you are asked to take it down – you might be offered £50 to do it – obviously it means that others thinking of using a hybrid agent will only see great reviews – but hey you’re £50 better off, even though you might not have sold and still had a fee to pay and that can go towards employing an Estate Agent.
“Revolutionise” is to Change (something) radically or fundamentally
Whilst the revolution did meet its definition, in my opinion the radical change has been nothing but a step in the wrong direction and introduced more hidden agendas than an Agatha Christie novel – So I felt it was worth me pointing out, that just like the Wizard of Oz there is a smokescreen of technical delights that stop you from opening that curtain.
I don’t want you to take my word for it, but I ask that you do lots of research before putting your home on the market, you may come across what I have seen and written about, you may find things in avenues I never went down, but at least you looked.
Anyway, I am off back to the TV to watch adverts making fun of people selling their prized assets and to pack away my revolutionary gear until the next up rising.