Being an Estate Agent is easy, isn’t it?

I thought I’d share this with you fine folk. Last month I became an estate agent …..for a day.

It was for an article I wrote for an agency’s quarterly newsletter.

I now have a lot more respect for you and your industry.

Here’s the article in full.

There’s a lot more to being an estate agent than meets the eye. We invited award winning journalist, Jerry Lyons, to spend a day at our Northwood office for a behind the scenes look. Here’s what happened.

I’ve always fancied being an estate agent. I mean how hard can it be?

You wear a nice suit, polish up your shoes and practice a winning smile while you dial.

You convince people to hand over their most valuable possession, advertise it on a website and in the local newspaper, then sit back and wait for your commission to make an appearance.

Easy right? Wrong!

What I discovered was estate agents work hard, a lot harder than I’d ever thought.

You need a degree of patience a saint would envy and to be more resilient than Bear Grylls.

My day began at 9am with a team meeting.  The branch’s manager Oliver Squires led it.

During the 45 minutes which followed Oliver got and gave updates on everything that was going on. How were sales progressing, the type of feedback they were getting from viewers and about 101 different things.

The pace of the meeting took me by surprise and if I’m honest I couldn’t keep up. Fast but not furious and everything seemed to revolve around a mysterious big blue book.

Oliver explained: “The blue book is like our bible – it contains where we are at with every property we are working on. We’ve state of the art software to accompany it but the blue book is still really important.”

When the meeting finished I was introduced to the office’s Sales Director Stephen Hyams. With more than 30 years experience as an estate agent he emanates a relaxed authority and expertise.

He took me out on two jobs. Firstly we went to do a ‘drive by’. Before you go rushing to call the police this wasn’t the sort of ‘drive by’ which happens in downtown Los Angeles during gangland feuds.

This was far more mundane as we were having a look at a property that Stephen was valuing later in the day. “It’s to get a feel of the property.” Stephen explained.

We then drove to a property that the office had just taken on to sell. This gave me the chance to pick Stephen’s brains.

“So what would I need to be a good estate agent?” I asked.

“You’ve got to be hard working. There’s no such thing as a lunch hour in this business. You also need integrity. A lot of people don’t trust estate agents but I will always be honest and give my opinion based on what’s best for them, not me.”

He took a brief pause from jotting down the property’s details to add: “And knowledge but the only way you’re going to get that is by doing this job for years.”

Back to the office I took advantage of perhaps the only ten minutes where Oliver wasn’t on the phone to have a chat with him. Having been an agent for 17 years I asked him what kept his obvious enthusiasm for the job burning.

“When a sale completes and the client is happy that is a hell of a buzz. We’re lucky to be in a career where you get to meet all sorts of people and no two days are ever the same.”

The working day is from 8.45am – 7pm and the staff work a full day every other Saturday.

As a father of two young children I asked him how he managed juggling the long hours and alternating weekend work.

Oliver said: “A lot of people work long hours, it’s just the way of the world. I think that for people who stay in estate agency it becomes a way of life.

“I do think that estate agents work a lot harder than people think.”

Having spent the whole day in and out of the office I’d have to agree. I was shattered by the end of it.

There’s a lot more to it than what you see from the outside. Sure there are smart suits, lots of smiling and shiny shoes.

But there’s also loads of hard work, patience, research and from what I could see, dealing with people who are often being unrealistic about their property’s value.

So having seen that the grass isn’t always greener I’ll go back to my usual day job and ditch any desire to become an estate agent.

It’s a lot harder than I ever imagined.


It’s safe to say I ain’t going to become an agent any time soon but do have renewed respect for the industry’s grafters and good guys.

Thanks for reading.








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