A lady called me this week, unable to sell her lovely rural house in Shropshire. I asked her about her agent, and she explained that she was frustrated at having to chase them to find out feedback from viewings, and that when she called it was difficult to get hold of anyone on the phone.
“Have you actually been into the office?” I asked her.
“Oh yes,” she assured me. “It’s the only way I can speak to anyone sometimes!”
I asked her how many key members of staff the agent had; in other words, how many were actually customer-facing and not just administration staff. She was very sure in her answer – three, including the manager.
I checked the agent’s profile online: they currently had 158 properties listed. That equals 53 properties for each negotiator if the manager is included, and a whopping 79 properties each if in fact the manager isn’t involved in viewings and negotiating.
So how many properties can each negotiator look after effectively, making sure they handle their clients’ viewings successfully, keep in contact regularly and generally stay focused on selling their client’s property? Well, I would suggest no more than 25. In an average week, this would allow for around an hour per client, plus time for travel, meetings, putting together brochures, and all the other things that agents do (some of which are a mystery to us all). That’s plenty, I think. How on earth can they give good service when they are only allocating around half an hour at best, per client per week?!
How many properties does your agent currently have listed on Rightmove? How many actively selling members of staff are there? If you divide the former by the latter and come up with a figure of more than 25, it may be time for a rethink. To sell a house effectively and for the price you want in a difficult market like this, you need attention, focus and dedication from your agent, and he just can’t give you all three in a measly half an hour or less per week.
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