We are about to put our flat on the market for sale and are having difficulty deciding which Estate Agent to go with. Their valuations and commission rates are all the same so that's not helping us with our choice. Has anyone had any good or bad experience with any of them? Any advice? Given the fact that the property is on Shad Thames, should we stick to Shad Thames agents or should we venture further away to Tower Bridge Rd or even to London Bridge? Should we may be go for one of the big chains like Hamptons or Cluttons??? comfused.com!!!
Having recently bought a place (and I appreciate what a buyer sees as a good estate agent will differ to what a seller is looking for), I found Acorn (based on Bermondsey St) were the most pleasant to deal with - although we didn't end up buying a property through them.
We bought a property through Oliver Jacques (Surrey Quays way), and found them to be quite aggressive in their approach - but that might be better for you if you're the vendor!
I bought a place just off Bermondsey Street a couple of years back after looking for quite some time - as a buyer the agent that stood out for me was Field & Sons based on Borough High Street. The agent was the most knowledgable by far about both the properties I viewed (didn't actually buy my place from them since my flat wasn't sold by them) and the local area; appreciate they are some distance from Shad Thames but to be honest I think most people would look at the online sales anyway... Might be an idea if you're interested in prices to do some simple psf calculations to see which agents give more aggressive valuations - Foxtons I believe have developed (this is only hearsay) some fairly punchy prices then go on to discount final sales. All depends on what you are looking for really, if the fees are all much of a muchness there obviously isn't too much in it. I haven't sold a property around here but is exclusivity a pre-requisite? Could also be a bargaining chip for you. I have no affiliation to any agents in the area, by the way!
Thanks for that Richard. Field and Sons do actually have a branch on Shad Thames so maybe I should look into it. I think I should better stick to a "sole agent" because if there's more of them involved they charge a much higher commission. I will check out Field and Sons though as I haven't been in there yet.
Can only comment from the buyer's perspective, but I wasn't impressed with Fields & Sons - they had very little on offer that matched my interest (nothing in Shad Thames either) and downplayed issues like work live etc. Despite registering twice because they had stuff I was interested in I was never contacted by Hamptons - surprisd me but they just didn't care it seemed. Active marketing is something else. I agree that FJL seem to be the most active and take customers seriously.
What about Kalmar's in Shad Thames (though I think their residential sales/lettings office is in Bermondsey Street)? They are a small-ish firm. I don't have any experience of them, so can't comment on whether they're good, bad or indifferent, but they've been in the area for a long time, so I assume they're familiar with the Shad Thames market.
This is always a bit tricky. I have bought and sold a few properties and the experience from agent to agent varies enormously. I would not be so concerned with the location of the agent any more as most people register with agents and/or use the internet these days. I used Stirling Ackroyd most recently to sell and I must say I was pretty impressed by them. I have also bought from Foxtons, which was fine, but would never sell with them (for a whole of host of reasons that I will avoid spelling out for threat of legal action). I would avoid Urban Moves for similar reasons though Stirling Ackroyd were very helpful, as were Daniel Cobb (but a very small outfit with limited stock). Field & Sons on Borough High Street were the most useless of all (comical actually) when buying. The woman I dealt with knew nothing, forgot keys, got lost etc etc. Very funny but did mean that anyone trying to sell with her as their agent was in for a long wait ...
My best advice would be:
(1)Look at which agent is selling other similar properties (there is a good chance their client list will be better suited to your property)
(2)Ensure you know which people will actually be showing your home to buyers (Stirling Ackroyd introduced me to the two people and I talked them round the place). Make sure you are happy with these people: if not, walk away. They are often 'wide boys' or 'posh girls', neither of which stay long in the business or are much good at it IMHO. I prefer the 'career agent' though I think that is quite a rarity in London.
(3) Check the agents opening times and availability for viewings thoroughly. It is astonishing how many of them only work Mon-Fri 9-5, which ain't great for selling a house when most people will want to view at the weekend.
(4) Negotiate on rates, they are desperate for business at the moment. I have always managed to play them off against each other and get the rates reduced (though have often then not gone with the cheapest).
(5) Remember that they invariably work on commission with short-term targets and so often a sale is a sale, regardless of whether it is the best deal for the client.