What We Hate About Our Clients

This time it's the turn of Estate Agents to tell tales

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We’ve heard gripes and grievances from local restaurateurs and barmen and now it’s the turn of Estate Agents to vent their frustrations about their less than courteous clients.

For a profession with a reputation for being economical with the truth, some may find it difficult to sympathise with the men and women on the front line of property dealing.

However, according to one agent, “We are used as a middle man who takes the hit. Buyers and sellers really want to take out their frustrations on each other but they don’t, they take them out on us. They forget that their double crossing, gazumping and gazundering actually affect people’s lives.

“My job is to find a buyer for a property put them in touch with the vendor’s solicitors and collect my fee but it’s rarely that simple!”

And so begins the tirade of double dealings and dodgy doings: “One vendor actually employed a gardening company to take up an expensive lawn and replace it with a lesser quality one; he also took out mature shrubs. I was called by the buyer to come down and sort it out but what could I do? He claimed he was meeting his contractual obligations and legally he was.”

“One vendor demanded payment for a carpet he recently had laid in one of the bedrooms. The price was too high for the buyers who decided it wasn’t their colour anyway and so began months of arguing over 2m squared of pink carpet! In the end the vendor had to pay to have the carpet taken up, it’s strange what people get hung up on!”

“One of the best ones I had was when I received a phone call from a tenant stating that a truck had reversed into the bay window of her flat whilst it was doing a three point turn and could I come down and sort out the mess. It didn’t occur to her to call the emergency services when she discovered a lorry in her living room, the first person she thought of was the rental agent!”

“Stripping the house of everything, even things that are nailed down, is more common than you think. In one case the vendors even removed loo roll holders from the walls and every last light bulb. I politely pointed out that they had left the front door mat to which I received the response ‘Oh thanks’ as it was whipped away from under my feet!”

“Gazumping, it’s always blamed on the agent. We’re accused of being greedy and trying to get a larger fee. In one case a sale went to sealed bids and of course one buyer lost out so they went to other agent who was marketing the house, lied about not having viewed it, made bigger offer and got house but I still got blamed!”

However it’s gazundering that’s the more common practice in these cash strapped times. “Buyers regularly attempt to renegotiate deals; one did by £300,000 and another by £150,000 the night before exchange.”

“Vendors ask for the truth but not as you know it. Give a realistic valuation, they give it to someone else at a higher price and more often than not end up selling it for less.”

November 13, 2008