Most Estate Agents are no better than Pizza Delivery firms

… and you Letting Agents can take that smug smile off your face .. you are even worse!

Let me explain …

ESTATE AGENTS … Here are the facts, in 2004, 1,780,000 residential properties were sold by 7,570 estate agents

and last year, 1,219,000 residential properties were sold by 19,304 agents.

Looking at stock to sell London for example, in June 2008, there were 99,225 properties on the market for sale … by March 2014, this had dropped to 29,371 … although because the market has slowed, this figure stands today at 48,465 .. (but it’s still a lot less than a few years ago.)

LETTING AGENTS … in 2001, 2,037,470 properties were privately rented in England alone and by 2011, that had risen to 3,715,924 .. a rise of 82.3% .. Have the number of letting agents stayed the same? Hell, no? Pauline from Ipswich told me when she started in 1999 there were only 4 letting agents in Ipswich … today its 36. Daren from Derby told me when he started in the early 2000’s, there were six letting agents in Derby .. today there are a staggering 53 letting agents ..

… why the hell would you want to start your own agency and how the hell do you grow your agency?

… how do you get more people to ring you for a free valuation or market appraisal?

… do you wonder about those landlords who use those agents in your town who are known for rubbish service, late rent payments, rude people .. you know the ones who offer the appalling service … why the hell do they stop with them?

It’s enough to keep you up at night.

Let me ask you this though … where exactly do your current free valuations / market appraisals come from? Or do you just do a bit of marketing and cross your fingers? Do you just expect the phone to ring with FV’s and MA’s? Everyone is saying in the industry, things are slowing down … therefore, you need a bigger slice of the pie.

However, I am of the opinion that … (and this is going to hurt)

90% of Estate Agents are ‘glorified order takers’, like the local Pizza establishment. Instead of Pizza’s .. you just hope (pray) people will ring you for a free valuation… and you no idea why they rang you… you just take the call for the FV.

Harsh I know, but when was the last time you really understood where, and more importantly WHY, they rang you, why all those people, who asked you out for a free valuation, did so? (and no, the Neg asking the question when the homeowner rings in for a free valuation and ticking a box isn’t finding out the real WHY). As a Valuer, you need to to spend a good five or ten minutes FACE TO FACE asking about WHY they rang you .. its should be integral to your presentation at the FV/MA.

Letting Agents .. dont think you are any different … you might have stock of 100, 150, 250, 500, 750 properties … but are you living on previous glories? You have the rental stock but as landlords are quite lazy to leave their agents, whether you gave them exceptional service or just OK, I bet most would still be with you at the end of the year (just think of the cr*p agent down the road .. landlords don’t leave them even so). I would say landlords relationships with their agent is like the relationship you have with your bank .. you don’t love them – but you can’t be bothered to move.

Its really hard work being an estate agent … the number of agents has gone through the roof but the number of properties to sell has dropped like a stone …. I really do feel for you guys ..

I say to all agents …. you will need to change … as the years go on .. the number of properties that will be sold will continue to drop, the number of new agents will continue to increase, nibbling at your toes … and don’t even mention the menace of the online / hybrid agents … aaaghhh!

You are not going to be able to make a living by taking orders, by selling houses the way everyone else does. Gone are the days of the never ending rise in property prices to make people move up the property ladder, then what are you going to do? Letting Agents – those onliners will start to nibble away at your portfolio .. tread water is not a good business plan and moaning about it is not an option.

In fact, I think this is an astonishing opportunity for you.

You don’t need to panic and I warn you, it is not an overnight turn around, but I guarantee it will work.

You need to become the expert in what you do. You have to niche .. niche down until it hurts. You might know the Estate Agents Act like the back of your hand but vendors don’t care, you might know every ground for eviction on Ground 8 of the AST …. but landlords don’t care. And as Simon Duce said last week in his article about … Time to Rebrand: letting experts, not agents (EAToday) .. if all you do is scare landlords with legislation changes all the time, you will put a lot them off renting instead of driving them into your arms (and don’t get me wrong – there is a place for such articles but they should be the meat between the bread .. not the main course).

You need to become the property guru of your town.

The Daily Mail has headlines about Property Prices and values, TV people talk about house prices, Homes Under Hammer talks about before and after prices and rents … this is really, really interesting …. and what do you agents then do with that Bristish obsession about the property market … nothing .. nothing at all ….you just chuck leaflets and adverts talking about yourself, your firm, your services, your fees, how wonderful you are, how cheap you are … nobody cares about you or your agency….. but they care about themselves and what interests them.

This estate / letitng agent become this town’s guru. Already No.3 in his town, he took his lettings porfolio from 140 managed to 200 managed properties in nine months and increased his resi turnover from sales fees up by 113% .. all in just under a year. (Remember, he was already No3 in his town and had been established for over 15 years)

By becoming the Property Guru of your town … you will become the best….because you are either No.1 … or you are invisible.

When the subject of property comes up .. you want your name to be mentioned. When people ask who is the one and only person to turn to if you’re looking for buy to let investment property in your town? It needs to be you!

You might say you don’t have enough time. Of course you have that time available. Remember twelve ago when you were three times as busy with incoming calls as you are now? Stop surfing Facebook and Candy Crush and invest that time in building up your expertise as the local property guru and becoming the person people who don’t even like you, turn to for insight…. because every homeowner and every landlord in your town wants to know what is happening to the local property market (because they own property in that area).

The opportunity, in other words, is to stop waiting around for the phone to ring and instead figure out how to do what you do best… connect buyers and sellers, connect tenants and landlords in a way that makes them confident.

96% of you reading this won’t make any changes .. hard work and effort isn’t for everyone .. beinga guru isn’t for everyone..

You will stick with the standard landlords wanted/ free vals wanted A5 leaflets, standard brochures, standard Google Adwords, standard business card with the standard to let/ for sale board, the standard office and the standard newspaper advert strategy and the standard approach to making the phone ring.

Good luck .. its going to be a tough few years ahead if that’s your route.

Stop sleep walking into oblivion fellow agents …. because its either change and become your town’s property guru or it’s a double pepperoni with extra chillis …….

… don’t like pizza.. then this is how you become your town’s property guru …

.. become a propety guru?

That’s the easy part ….. to become your town’s guru, all you have to do is talk about what is happening in your town’s property market .

How do you do that?


Write newsletters like this .. (click on the link to Google Drive where you can see (and download) 17 different agents newsletters)

Screenshot 2016-05-20 07.08.24

Delivering this through every letterbox in your town, because 100% of homeowners in your town LIVE IN THE HOUSE THEY ARE OBBBESSED ABOUT … and landlords .. 50% to 60% of landlords buy their rental BTL properties in the same town they live (because they know the area, they can keep an eye on it, sort problems quickly etc) … just deliver a newsletter like this, branded up subtly in your colours, your headshots and your logo, and drop one, a different one every month through every door … then you will become your town’s property guru.

kind regards


Author of the ‘How to get more people to use your Estate and Lettings Agency BlogBLOG LINK 


Christopher Watkin

I teach, guide, support, mentor, consult, counsel, partner many hundreds of UK Estate and Letting Agents in their quest to grow their estate and lettings agencies business. Old school techniques of touting, landlords wanted leaflets, ring us for a free valuation, we have sold this in your street leaflets don't work anymore. There are too many competitor agents .. meaning cheap fees are epidemic, overvaluing is almost a norm to get the stock and don’t even mention about the online/hybrid threat. So a few years ago, I set about looking around the UK and spotted that certain agents (not many mind you) in certain towns were still seen as the ‘go to person on property’, the person the newspaper editor rang up every week for a comment and I looked at what they did and they were doing some thing quite remarkable…. Only one thing but they were doing it so well .. and reaping the reward in terms of decent listings and decent fees, happy staff, decent sales pipeline and exchange income, managed lettings portfolios in the many hundreds .. but more importantly, they really enjoyed the job… they enjoyed getting up in the morning and people looked up to them Over 400 agents around the UK are on a mission to change the way our Estate and Lettings agency profession is perceived and looked upon, doing it town by town, city by city. I guide these 400 agents, teach them, mentor them and support them to be seen in a different light, to be seen as the ‘go to person for property’, actually be the ‘local property expert’ and prove it. Christopher Watkin 07950 147 572

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