Blogs, Press & Media

Home Truths

Mon 26 Mar 2012

We regularly speak to our buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords after they have sold or let through Marsh & Parsons, to see how they rate their experience of dealing with us.

Last week we presented the results of the latest seller and buyers surveys and without wishing to boast, I have to say the feedback was excellent with 97% of our buyers saying they would consider coming back to us when they decide to sell in the future.

However, the purpose of my blog isnt to tell you how much our customers enjoy dealing with us - its to share an interesting bit of feedback. I appreciate that its unusual (if not unprecedented) to publicly share negative comments, but the feedback struck a chord - and I felt it was an interesting and useful point for discussion.

This particular respondent expressed some concern about 'false offers' by other interested parties on the property they were buying. They were sceptical of the sheer number of competing offers coming from several of our offices. Its not a new phenomenon in the current market being gazumped will always be a contentious issue with buyers who are nervous of losing a property they have their heart set on. And believe it or not, agents hate gazumping too. Cynics will point out that we make more commission. Whilst this is true, it is usually a small amount extra and pales into insignificance when compared to the anger and disappointment we then encounter from the disappointed buyer who holds us responsible. But, regardless of the fact that we are employed to achieve the best possible sales price for sellers, we are also legally bound to inform our client of any other interest prior to exchange of contracts. Failure to do so is an offence which could lead to us being banned from practicing. In the same vein, presenting fake offers is illegal and would undoubtedly have similar consequences for both the negotiator and the agency.

Perhaps Im sensitive to the subject, having just heard the feedback, or perhaps it is more likely a reflection of the current property market. As it is, even if it werent completely illegal, estate agents dont actually NEED to make up offers. The market is fierce. With so little property on the market and so many keen buyers, there is no shortage of offers. Just last week, we sold a Mews house in Kensington within a few days of it coming onto the market. Within the first day we had booked 30 viewings and by day five, over 50 prospective buyers had seen it. A number of asking price offers were made and the property went to sealed bids, selling for 20% more than the marketing price. This is just one example of the stories Im hearing daily from all sectors of the market.

If its a property that 'ticks all the boxes' its very likely that a good, proactive agent will conduct a very extensive marketing campaign and already have many buyers on their database who will want to view. So, as tempting as it is to believe the conspiracy theories that all agents simply make up offers, I hope this gives a clearer picture of what is actually currently going on in London right now!

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