It’s always a pleasure to say I work at Which? but I wonder how many estate agents feel the same. With mortgage lending up 16% in June, more of us are dealing with them, but how many have a positive experience?
I’d like to think friends and family would consider me a gentle person. I’m not argumentative and I don’t go looking for dramas. Why then, did I lose my temper with our estate agent on not just one but numerous occasions when buying my little flat?
I’m embarrassed to admit that it got so bad that my boyfriend stopped me from communicating with her and he became the sole person to speak to or email her.
Emotions run high with property
Despite the drama, it worked hugely in our favour – I’ll explain why.
As is fair in the bidding process, we lost out to a higher bidder. However, I would not accept that the builder would prefer a slightly higher bid from a buyer yet to put their property on the market, over an offer from first-time buyers, with a mortgage agreed, a decent-ish deposit and no onward chain.
I’m speculating here, but I don’t think our original offers were ever sent to the builder. We had calls to confirm he’d rejected them and I challenged whether they’d ever been forwarded on.
Naturally, this went down badly with the estate agent and she took to making personal jibes: ‘it sounds like you can’t afford the property’, ‘I think you should look for something closer to your price bracket’, ‘it’s better suited to older couples’. Who was she to tell me where I should or shouldn’t live?
I reacted emotionally to these challenges – silly I know. I searched the Companies House website to try and find the contact details of the builders but had no luck. Part of my problem was my fury at not knowing where to turn when we were having issues. I wanted to challenge the estate agent but I didn’t really know how to.
I won the estate agent war
I’ve learnt a great deal from our fabulous legal team here at Which? and think I’d be better equipped to deal with an issue in the future – especially now I’ve located our guide on how to buy a house. But I’m interested to know if anyone has a positive experience to share – estate agents offering brilliant customer service or going the extra mile. Or have most faced similar hurdles to me?
The moral of the story is that greed got the better of our estate agent. Instead of accepting our original offer five months earlier, they ended up selling us the property at £10,000 less than our original asking price. Charlotte 1, estate agent 0.