So Hubby & I had decided it was time for a change of location: We’d registered with the local estate agents. Our enthusiasm was at an all-time high. Suddenly, without warning, all the ground rules were being broken. We were sure we’d asked for affordable two-beds on the ground floor: Why the hell were we viewing penthouses with price tags high enough to give Spiderman vertigo?
Much like puppies, estate agents don’t mean to misbehave. They’re just doing what comes naturally and sniffing for the biggest possible commission. However, they’re also creature of habit: as long as you show them early on what kind of behavior you want, you can avoid having to clear up a nasty mess with your new home.
Here with a few thoughts on how to house train your estate agent :-
1. Choose your breed carefully
Sadly it’s true, some estate agents are easier to train than others. Look out for a keen attention to detail, intelligent questioning and a genuine eagerness to please. Any signs of unnecessary aggression, barking or growling at special requests, remain calm, back away slowly and leave at once. Be warned, however, the fluffy ones are no less dangerous. Don’t assume small mishaps will just go away – The nice guy who kept forgetting my name even after the third visit was also the one who also forgot the landlord wouldn’t allow pets when we’d apparently found our dream home.
2. Understand estate agent behaviour
Estate agents don’t know right from wrong. What they understand is “sold” and “unexpectedly re-available”. It’s up to you to be clear about the ground rules and explain that going three times over budget or passing a cupboard off as a second bedroom is unacceptable. Estate agents respond much better to cheerful voices than threatening orders, so be kind and point out what you do like as much as what you don’t about a place.
3. Be consistent
The most important thing of all when house-training your estate agent is consistency. If you’re always chopping and changing, they’ll get confused and simply show you whatever’s to hand, whereas if you give the same message every time, they’ll soon get the right idea. Note, this is especially important if you’re house-hunting as a couple: Remedial obedience classes maybe advisable before starting to look for property
4. Keep it simple
Most estate agents have very short attention spans (think puppy with A.D.D). We started out with a diva list of requirements long enough to put even Mariah Carey to shame before realising it was getting us nowhere. Most switched off at “ensuite bathroom” let alone got as far as “laminate flooring”. Try to distill all those nice-to-haves down to no more than a handful of absolute non-negotiables. This will give your estate agent as many opportunities as possible to get it right, so keeping energy and enthusiasm levels high. Keep it short, keep it simple and most of all, keep it fun
5. Develop a schedule
The more you can build a schedule around your estate agent’s needs, the better your chances of success. Weekend and evenings are always the busiest and often staffed by the most inexperienced young pups, so the chances of accidents happening are the greatest. Although it’s often difficult when you’re working full time, if you can do at least some of your house-hunting during the week, you’re likely to get much more focus from your estate agent as well as being one step ahead of other prospective tenants
It’s unrealistic to expect estate agents always to tell you when something suitable becomes available so regular contact is essential. Whilst registering for email and text alerts is an important way of keeping up to date, estate agents are fundamentally pack animals. It’s worth putting in a call around the time they update their weekly property lists to help maintain the personal touch and ensure they’re aware you’re still looking.
6. Don’t look back in anger
Accidents will happen: Places that were indeed ‘only 10 mins from the tube’ provided you could run as fast as Usian Bolt; ‘period bathrooms’ that put even Glastonbury toilets to shame. Try to ignore mistakes as best you can. There’s no point in getting angry. Your estate agent won’t understand and too much scolding risks bad behaviour such as not returning your calls. You never know when an early tip off on a fantastic place or an encouraging word to the landlord might come in handy.
After all, in the dog-eat-dog world of the London property market, you’ll need all the friends you can get.