Why do people hate estate and letting agents?

If you want some fun, go to Goggle and type in either “I hate estate agents” or “I hate letting agents” and you will given pages and pages of vile swipes at our industry .. some deserved, others not. But why do you think us agents get lumped in the other hated British professions; such as Double Glazing salesmen, Solicitors, Parking Wardens and Bankers?

I believe it comes down to professionalism (ie a lack of it)

However, you ask every agent if they are professional, and 100% of them will say yes. In fact, under the Estate Agents Act 1979, Part 6, Paragraph G, subsection 45b, it is set in statute that when an estate agent produces an A5 flyer for their business, as well as emblazoning the flyer the with the mandatory messages; such as No Sale, No Fee and Free Advertising, Low fees and Best Price achieved; not many agents realise it is the law, punishable by 20 years in prison, if you also don’t put on the your leaflet “Professional Service”

…. I mean, no one is hardly going to put on their leaflet, “Unprofessional Service” are they? Awwwhh….got you there didn’t I …Just joking no such “law” but it does seem to be the default setting.

What does it mean to be professional in estate and lettings?

I believe there are two significant characteristics of professionalism in estate and lettings agency. They are the …

  1. purpose of your actions and the
  2. consequences of your actions (just as in life really).

Can I ask you some question ….. Why are you an estate or letting agent?

Before you answer that question .. let me add something else to the mix.

In the past (and some would say many still do) the prime motivator of some less unscrupulous Estate Agents was what they could earn, how much money they could screw out of the deal and the kudos that went with that .

Most of you reading this though will not recognise that description of themselves as an agent, be you an estate agent or letting agent.

Most of you will say you are in agency because you want to help people find a new home (be they a tenant or buyer), the letting agents amongst you will say you love the job because you like to look after the landlord’s home as if it were your own. Some of you will say you love the job because you deal with people at one of the moist stressful times of their lives.. moving home. You go the extra mile, because you care. The money and esteem is nice .. but its doing a good, neigh a great job for your client.

I meet many agents up and down the UK and I recognise that many of you, in fact the vast majority of you, create value for your landlords/vendors and tenants/buyers. You have moved from a “them and us what can we screw out of the deal” opponent relationship to a trusted counsellor and esteemed partner.

It is all about your underlying intentions in the role that make you professional.

Those intentions, the purpose you have for being an agent, your WHY has to be known not just by you, but by your landlords and vendors. But for those landlords and vendors to honestly believe you are different, that you have a different purpose (to help and care for them as the trusted advisor) those same landlords/vendors need to know in their hearts of hearts that that is the case. THEY NEED TO FEEL IT!

So, all you have to have is a purpose .. that your potential clients knows and feels ..and everything will hunky-dory … er no

You see, having a purpose is only half the story. Being a professional letting / estate agent also means accomplishing the required consequences that we have sold to our landlords and vendors. It isn’t enough to simply try to create something better for our landlords and vendors, by having that purpose, if we don’t follow through with the promise and bring home the bacon.

If you run your own lettings or estate agency, the good ones reading this will recognise being an all round agent not only requires good sales skills, but also good business skills.

Remember a good lister doesn’t necessarily make a good manager, whilst good manager doesn’t necessarily make a good lister. Being a leader means you have to manage, lead and motivate your team, look at changing things in the market and looking at the bigger picture. Many people started their own agency because they were a good letting agent or good estate agent … but being one of those doesn’t make you a good business person.

You might have the best intentions in the world, the best purpose, but if you don’t deliver, it means nothing .. it’s all about the purpose and consequences. That, my blog reading friends, is what being professional requires.

Before I go, let me ask a couple more questions?

  1. As a letting agent or estate agent, how do you make certain your purpose is right? Are you merely going through the motions? Or do you really intend to help your landlords and vendors by creating something better?
  2. Are you a letting/estate agent in business OR a business person in lettings/estate agency … there is a huge mindset difference between the two. Do you work on and develop all of the proficiencies you need as an agent to ensure that your landlords and vendors achieve the result you sold them? What skills do you still need to develop to be even more effective at helping your clients with their needs and wants?

I would like to hear from you with your thoughts on these questions. Either post here or if you are bit shy, email me direct on christopher@christopherwatkin.co.uk

Before I go though, if you need help with your why, your purpose, your outcomes, your consequences, your proficiencies , your skills … I am sorry to tell you I am not your man. You need a mentor, a business guru to help you show the path. I have one, and he has helped me transform myself and my business… and the right one can help you (I am happy to give you his name if you drop me a note).

I talk to many people, and you will be surprised how many people have a mentor, a guru , a coach…. just like a good lister doesn’t necessarily make a good manager … a good manager who decides to set up their own agency doesn’t necessarily make a good business person.

But you have to want to change, it has to come from within .. it comes back to your WHY….



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 christopher@christopherwatkin.co.uk

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