Amusing TalesBuy to Let & Letting

Why Do Estate Agents Treat Vendors Like Born Again Suckers?


Maybe it’s me.

Maybe I just don’t fundamentally understand estate agents.

Maybe I have missed that little rule book which every property seller, bar me, should have read before they instruct an estate agent.  I think it’s a little rule book that goes something like: we will list your property, do naff all about selling it, until the day you have enough, sack us, and then we will propel ourselves into a flurry of activity that would make a manic ADHD sufferer look tame.

Which is exactly what has happened to me this week, having sacked the estate agents for not selling my property.

As I say, maybe it’s me.

Maybe I am too simple; I expect to instruct an estate agent and sell my property.  Maybe I missed some esoteric rule which means this is not the case.  Perhaps I went into the bakery and ordered a warm croissant with butter on the side instead?

That’s what it feels like.

After several months on the market and a pitiful number of viewings which I can count on one hand, and that dear God, even includes the ultimate tyre kickers; people who have yet to sell their property, I have had enough.

I have had enough of pandering to the reasons of why the estate agents have not done the one job they were tasked with, which if I have not made myself clear enough – was to sell my property.

I have gone down the well-worn, bleedingly obvious and time-honoured tradition of reducing the price (that old roasted chestnut eh?), having the photos re-done and the property being dressed.

But still the estate agent are not playing their part.

And so, hacked off and bored by the lack of somebody doing their bit, I decided having watched a recent episode of The Apprentice and in the wise-ness only being a Lord of Sugar can dispense: I cannot afford to carry any passengers.

So I fired the estate agent for not selling my property.


I didn’t wag or point my finger in a Sugar way, I didn’t berate them for being crap, I didn’t even make a big deal about all my neighbours managing to sell their houses.  No, I was nice and to the point, I said “You know what, you’ve had oodles of time to sell this property, it’s obviously not working for us, so let’s part ways”.

Let’s all get on with our lives.  I will try and find an estate agent to sell the property and you can go off and try and sell other people’s properties.  Maybe you’ll get lucky with some other vendor.

Of course, life is not so simple.

There is the small matter of the estate agents’ 14 day notice period.  Which apparently is really, really important.

And it’s so important, because what happens when you give notice that you’re bored of the estate agent who was meant to be selling your house, not selling your house, that then they decide to pull out all the stops and try and sell your house.


Which, by the way, is a little too late.

And so I have told them this.  This 14 day notice clause serves nothing but to inconvenience both parties. That is, me and my property.  The estate agent on the other hand, thinks they have a two week window to actually do the job they were employed to do in the first place.

Alas, they have yet to realise that all trust at this point, has evaporated into a thin mist of ashes-to-ashes For Sale signs never to be erected again in my front garden.


This comedy charade is a waste of time.  The estate agents are now pretending to do the job they were employed to do months ago.  And it’s cringe-worthy to watch their farcical antics.

Just when will they learn?


  1. rob

    Yet another reason to never sell!

    I sold a house once- didn’t like it.

    Have you considered the Sarah Beeny method of flogging it yourself over the inter web? I think for most people its a terrible idea, as they will undoubtably increase the price to include the wallpaper they love, and the cherished memories of their puppy.

    I doubt very much you’ll do that!

    As long as you’re safe when booking the viewings ( take a landline number and address, and call them back unannounced to confirm they’re not murderers) you’ll be fine.

    Or just find a better agent!


    1. Sam

      Rob, if it were closer to home I would sell it myself. I had great success when I used Hatched (couple of years back when I sold a property in Stevenage). I have now instructed another agency, but cannot sign off contracts or market until the notice period has elapsed.

  2. Ian Muir

    Same applies to their sloe agency period. Some of them try it on at 4 months. No chance! Delete. Amend to 2 months.

    Also check for clauses relating to multiple agency. They need our business so are they going to argue if you change their clauses?

    Its well worth reading these contracts – much easier than leasehold agreements!!! Maybe this could be a blog for you?

    1. Sam

      Ian, that’s interesting thanks. The new agency are insisting on 20 weeks exclusivity and say they need that long given the time of year the property will hit the market. I tried to negotiate this and they were most unwilling to budge. I will review again.

  3. Maurice Kilbride

    Hi Sam,
    I read your post with interest, although I feel your generalisation and criticism of estate agents in a little unfair. Since most agents work on a “no sale no fee” basis, there isn’t a agent anywhere who wont be interested in selling your property. Selling a property is a two way thing, agent and seller working together. It is imperative that the pricing of a property is right from day one- given it is a statistical fact that a house is most likely to sell within the first 8 weeks of going on the market. It is then down to the agent to generate a response and viewings, but most importantly communicate with the seller at every step to ensure the property doesn’t go stale. If however it does get to the point you are clearly at now, I agree notice periods are pointless and you should be able to go and try somebody else without the charade of two weeks notice.

    1. Sam

      Thanks Maurice. I agree that agents should be motivated to sell a property given they are only paid by results. Unfortunately, I have not had such good experiences with estate agents – I had a similar bad experience when selling a property in Stevenage a couple of years back. In that case I pitched a high street agent against an online (Hatched) and Hatched won. If this property was closer and I could do the viewings I would use Hatched again.

  4. Ian Muir

    Sam, sounds like they arent confident of selling quickly. You need to understand why.
    Yes its the Xmas period but as Maurice states, most sales take place in the first 2 months – so where are their potential buyers right now? Last year I put one on the market between Xmas & New Year & the Agent got a buyer at full price within a week (and we priced it higher than 4 valuations!)

    What costs are they incurring if you withdraw after 2 months ie how much have they invested in advertising your property? Their labour is a fixed cost, so if as they infer, its a quiet period, then there is no opportunity cost of labour.

    Their argument is “thin”.

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