So you may remember I renovated a property recently and put it on the market for sale.
And…you may also remember I am currently conducting a real life experiment of selling the property with a High Street Estate Agent Vs. an Online Estate Agent.
Now, the idea of an online estate agency has always appealed to me – the savings are HUGE – and all you have to do is the property viewings – which is very little work for a mammoth saving.
What I didn’t bargain for was how NERVOUS and EXCITED I would be doing my own property viewings. Me – myself doing the property viewings – I would be like – well, I would be like an estate agent! Yes, an estate agent may be one of the most hated professions in the UK – but the thought – the idea of me doing the viewings and showing my own house for sale was deliciously tantalising…
And I took it very seriously…
So seriously I had to have my entire wardrobe out to find “appropriate-showing-people-around-my-house-for-sale-clothing”
I refused to bow to the archetypal suit and tie beloved by so many estate agents – but I was worried that the casual look of jeans may be taken as *too* casual – maybe even bordering on slovenly. And so after several try-outs, I settled on a pair of beige skin tight trousers and a black jumper – topped off with knee high leather boots. Admittedly, that may sound a bit hooker-style – but I like to think I looked “urban casual”.
And I was on tenterhooks…
I called the potential buyers-of-my-house (I wish!) an hour before the scheduled appointment to check they were still OK for the appointment, knew where they were going, didn’t have any delays and had my number to call me should they have any last minute issues.
I could tell from the lady’s voice this was an unexpected call. And I got the distinct impression no previous estate agents had bothered to call her prior to an appointment to check she was still OK for it and knew the way there. Of course, that could be because as the home owner (and person selling the property) – I REALLY do care that you know the way there and you will be arriving!
So I arrive at the property 10 minutes before the appointment. I turn on all the lights (it was just starting to get dark and I wanted the house to look friendly and welcoming) and quickly gather up flyers from around the letter box.
I check around to make sure everything is as it should be and then I decide to go and find them outside. I decide that I shouldn’t do the estate agent “thang” of hovering around the door – I’ll just march on down to the parking area and collect them and guide them round for the tour of the property.
Just as I go outside they are parking – I wave excitedly as though I am welcoming long lost relatives to my home hungry for some sustenance after a long drive.
Having parked up and introduced myself, I walk them to the property all ready to tell them how popular and quiet the area is when…
***A MILLION DOGS START BARKING***
I don’t know where the dogs are, I can’t see them, but I can hear them *loud and clear* – there are lots of them. And I can tell my viewers are hesitant about the impending arrival of a pack of dogs to savage our little legs. And so my wonderful introduction to the area gets a little lost as we quicken our pace to get to the safety of the property.
Now my viewers are a lovely couple. They are not local, but the lady is a very clever lady and has just been offered a senior post at the hospital which is located just a mile down the road, and having sold their property in Essex they are looking to buy…they are MOTIVATED buyers! I am so excited by this news that I cannot contain myself – I am gushing about this, enthusing about that – to be honest – I think I was an embarrassment to myself. In fact, I may have even been *drooling*. Even the lovely lady buyer was taken aback by my excitement at her good fortune.
But I felt BLESSED.
Here I am wanting to sell my property…and here they are wanting to buy a property – well you can’t say better than that! (well apart from the fact I want them to buy MY property).
Anyway, so I am taking them on a tour of the property and I realise they are normal people. They are more reserved and conservative than me. And I hate to admit it, but I suddenly realise I am like an excited puppy jumping up and down on their leg to welcome them in.
So I take a step back and I decide to be more “professional” – I decide to still be excited – but perhaps more like an older Labrador who has seen people before and just smiles in pleasantness at the additional company in the house.
But, I am desperate for feedback – I desperately want to know what they think.
But, they’re not giving much away.
Even in the kitchen they look around and are quiet and thoughtful. Even my Neff range and bright orange glass splashback don’t get a mention…in fact, I am disappointed to see the husband is taking more interest in the grout in the tiles, than he is in the actual size and layout of the kitchen.
However, I refuse to be beat.
I continue unabated on my grand tour, trying where I could to try and elicit some sort of response – but instead I am met with mainly quiet smiles. Not very forthcoming indeed!
Maybe, I think to myself…they don’t want to give too much away because they know I am the owner and don’t want to offend me?
Hmm..what to do, I ponder.
We go out to the garden again where my boisterous puppy returns and I find myself tripping over myself to tell them how wonderful an end of terrace is, how wonderfully private it is and how quiet it is (the dogs have shut up now!).
And at that point (maybe it was me telling them how private the garden is) that they start to open up. They tell me how nicely maintained the property is, how everything is new and they wouldn’t have to do anything, how it’s good to have the extra potential bedroom but without the price tag of a 4 bedroom and they agree with me on how quiet it is (phew!)
They then tell me they like the property (my property), and that they didn’t like the other properties they had seen. However, they have more properties to see – and was it me that was also taking them to the next appointment?
“No” I reply hesitantly “that will be a different person”
“Oh, but…” the lady replies, looking at me quizzically “You work for Hatched don’t you? And this next property is also on with your agency – are you not going to show us that as well – it’s just round the corner”
At that moment I am a bit stuck. The couple think I am an estate agent. And I am momentarily stunned. Just what do I say?
And so I reply “Well…that property….that property….it’s being dealt with by a different office.”