Hiring a Real Estate Agent in England. I Was Impressed!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Corinne Guest, REALTOR® | Barrington Realty Company License: 471.000044

I've just returned from my annual trek to home in England to visit family, I stay with my Mum. She's getting on in years and while can manage the large family home that 6 of us lived in, it's clear that we need to start a down-sizing process. 

We took a peak in the windows of the two local real estate companies to see what bungalows were for sale. In England a bungalow is simply a single level home, can be single family or semi-detached. All have gardens. They are sought after and in her small town quite hard to come by. However we identied one true possibility and I made a showing appointment. Mum has her funds in her current house.

Remember that I used to live in England and actually worked in the industry as a lending department manager, so I am totally used to their systems. The agent that showed us the house was on time, did a good job, tried to deal with our objections, in general not bad. He found out why we were looking but made no attempt to ask for the listing of the current house.

The next day we popped into the other estate agents office to get Mum registered on their list as a buyer looking for a bunglaow. This was important because as a long time resident she knows of several other people looking for the same, including her neighbors. The office manager asked if they could give us a valuation and our appointment was set up for my last day.

About an hour later I got an email confirmation of the visit, the needs as a buyer and the appointment day and time. Later that day a company brochure arrived with our appointment confirmed by letter and the name of who would be attending. There were leaflets and flyers about the company and why they were local. This included some pretty nice claims to fame, including being the top 18th real estate agency out of 30,000 in the entire United Kingdom. While I do not like the me me me concept, it did strike me as pretty good.

The company president arrived on time. Throughout the next two hours of me grilling him about agency law, representation, pricing and so on, I was impressed. The process in England is different and they are not required to be licensed - yet. There's only single side representation and I wanted to talk with him about gazumping (an English term for kicking out a buyer in favor of a new one - usually because the offer is higher).

I was impressed for several reasons:

  • They asked for the business. (The bungalow we looked at would not work.)
  • David provided our home estimate on the spot.
  • He knew his market. How long it would take to sell and for what price!
  • David knew where our buyer was going to come from! (Real estate in England is a little different to here - much smaller scale).
  • He was dressed in a suit and tie! He took his shoes off.
  • He answered all my questions and assured Mum he would look after her and not any buyer.
  • He did not allow gazumping in his company.
  • The documentation, brochures, leaflets were all professionally created and up to date.
  • Branding was clear.
  • The company followed up by email with myself and my brother as requested.
  • He gave an indication of when he would next call Mum, unless he found her a bungalow sooner.

I think it's fair to say that I was both impressed and in fact learned a little about how I could change the things we do as a company, were I to get back to listing homes. I checked with Mum and we both agreed this was the company for us. We let David know he was hired for the job. 

I introduced him to the term pocket listing and that's what we have. (He loved that terminology and is going to use it!) Mum is not going to sell until he finds her a bungalow. However he has the ability to pre-sell her home based on a buyer wishing to wait. For my Mum's town and subdivision that is very common.

Maybe 2018 is the year to ramp up your seller presentation or approach. Regardless it was both fun and enlightening to be on the other side for a change.

Posted by

Corinne Guest

Realtor & Managing Broker
Barrington Realty Company

Call me today 847-363-3686. 

Barrington IL Real Estate


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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Corinne

Glad to hear you found a great company. While there are some differences, the basics are similar about what works and why with consumers, or their relatives who are in the know! Hope things go well


Jan 17, 2018 07:18 PM #8
Sondra Meyer:
Star View Real Estate - Colorado Springs, CO
See It. Experience It. Live It.

Thanks for sharing your story. It is interesting reading how the showing process works in England.

I hope your mom finds the bungalow that will fit her needs soon.

Jan 17, 2018 07:23 PM #9
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

It’s the accent. But that’s a seriously good post! Keep it up!

Jan 17, 2018 08:47 PM #10
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I would like to see more international stuff here on AR, Sondra Meyer: great stuff!

Jan 17, 2018 08:49 PM #11
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

This was very interesting. I love hearing how things work in other countries. Professionalism wins no matter where it is!

Jan 18, 2018 03:14 AM #12
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

God morning Corinne Guest, Managing Broker ,

How interesting the differences in selling in other countries. I'm trilled you found the right broker for your mum. Keep us posted on how things turn out. Always pays to be professional. I'm surprised they only make 1%. With that fee it hardly pays for all the professional marketing pieces, etc...how do they keep their doors open?

Jan 18, 2018 05:03 AM #13
Betsy N. Robinson - Serving the Sandhills, NC
Everything Pines Partners, LLC. - Whispering Pines, NC

Corinne - A nice reminder of a proper listing presentation system, no matter what the country!  Thanks for sharing.

Jan 18, 2018 05:29 AM #14
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

He handled your job very efficiently - not perhaps a British attribute since the other agent was not as impressive, but I like what he did. The follow-up before meeting with you and after is so critical to building trust with new new clients. 

And not to offend anyone, but I can think of only a handful of men who wear suits here.

Jan 18, 2018 07:58 AM #15
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

That was a very interesting blog with lessons we can apply here!  My daughter is marrying a Brit in July--and after paperwork will move to Birmingham. No house buying for them yet--just an apartment!  But she has told me buying is a much different process there.

Jan 18, 2018 08:23 AM #16
Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Northwest Tennessee Realtor

Sounds like you found the professional company you are looking for in England. Thanks for sharing.

Jan 18, 2018 09:02 AM #17
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles real estate concierge services

Oh boy is it ever different there. I can only imagine allowing a chain here in the U.S. It makes it easier for everyone because the seller will have a home to move to and the buyer will have their home sold and the money in hand before they have to fully commit. I hadn't heard the term gazumping but that's probably part of the reason that it is allowed. BTW my father's retirement apartment has been on the market for probably 4 years . 

Jan 18, 2018 11:55 AM #18
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

I remember going home to sell my Mum's home and went through the same process interviewing three different local agents. The system is very different to here and as you say the amount charged is much less which benefits sellers as they end up holding onto more of their equity.

Jan 18, 2018 01:08 PM #19
Corey Martin
Martin Presence Group - Ruston, LA
Real Estate and Management Solutions

It sounds like the presentation was impressive. I would enjoy knowing in more detail how they do things differently in the UK. Thank you for sharing. 

Jan 18, 2018 02:10 PM #20
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660

Next time I hear someone sneeze...   Gazump!

Jan 18, 2018 03:04 PM #21
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Your sharing your story is valuable to us on two counts:

1. It is encouraging to hear of the professional level agents operate.

2. It is also an insight into the mindset that people come to the U.S. to purchase property carry.


Jan 19, 2018 05:41 PM #22
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Corinne- loved reading about your experience and how differently things are done there. I will say that I was very impressed while I read how the second company handled things so professionally! Yes, please follow up on the outcome! And I think you’ve introduced us to a new fun word to say- gazumping.

Jan 19, 2018 07:53 PM #23
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Corinne Guest, Managing Broker - This is such an interesting read! I found it to be fascinating! First of all, I wish your Mum all the best. Living far away from family is very difficult - I know this to be true first hand as well. 

Secondly, I was so glad to see this one featured. To think, when I was a young woman the word "global," came up occasionally. But today, it's common and the more we know about how things are done in other countries benefits us. We don't live in a bubble, do we?


Jan 25, 2018 10:50 PM #24
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Always interesting to hear how other locales conduct business .. the influences of local "favor", Corinne Guest, Managing Broker ... but doubly so, given this was a personal experience with your Mum and in England.  I hope you keep us updated as to her progress and experiences and your views on such.  Fascinating stuff!

Best of luck to your Mum ... and you in seeking a safe comfortable new place for her.  Sounds like you and I are in much the same situation with an aging parent.  Lucky that they are capable of providing themselves care, but still needing to "tweak" their living conditions in order to protect their future.  Will keep you and Mum in my thoughts ...


Jan 30, 2018 10:43 AM #25
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Corinne,

Sounds like quite the professional outfit. I especially like that they do not allow gazumping. Very cruel to all parties, in my view.

Feb 05, 2018 06:15 PM #26
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

I absolutely love that you shared your experience! Looking forward to this story to continue and finish with happy end:) 

Feb 07, 2018 10:12 PM #27
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