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.