Picking up the pieces – why choose an independent agent from the start

For most of us, our properties represent our most valuable assets. When we are looking to sell or let, we want to maximise our return. The temptation to instruct the estate agency that presents you with the most attractive figure is understandable. Many agencies will tell you exactly what you want to hear, presenting you with a pumped up, inflated price tag simply to get the property on their books. “Another listing secured – tick!” The manager is pleased because they are closing in on his monthly target for new listings, even though few of them will actually sell or let.

I can understand the temptation. It’s hard not to be seduced by the highest number… but they’re setting you up for failure. There’s one small matter before you can proceed – the contract that binds you in for an 8 to 12 week exclusivity period. A week or two in and your property is now languishing on the market with no new interest or viewings scheduled.

Another week goes by the excuses start rolling in, but you have an unbreakable contract of exclusivity so you can’t market the property with another agent. The agency will blame political or economic events, Stamp Duty changes, Brexit, Trump, the financial crash of 2007, the cold war, the kitchen sink. You’re presented with a dossier of research to back up their claims complete with bar graphs and pie charts leading back to the conclusion that it’s not their fault. They’ll blame everything but their sheer incompetence, unprofessionalism and inability to treat buyers and vendors alike with the honesty and integrity they deserve.

Surely dropping the price once or twice will do the trick. Once you agree, a stream of buyers or prospective tenants flood through the doors but from the feedback you receive it turns out many of them were unsuitable… they’re looking for a townhouse with a large garden when yours is a top floor flat. It’s not just you that is losing patience – the buyers and tenants are fed up with the agents who are bringing them to see irrelevant properties. Credibility and trust are lost and the sales or letting process unravels leaving you to start from scratch. Meanwhile, your property has been on the market for several months with no suitable offers.

You’ve pinned your hopes, dreams and future plans on an inflated figure. Sadly, this business model is old as the hills; it is wrong and morally defunct. We hear this story time and time again. The process is tiresome, frustrating and emotionally taxing.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Often Horton and Garton is enlisted to pick up the pieces, developing a targeted marketing plan, a clever blitz across our ‘socials’ and injecting fresh enthusiasm and energy when ringing through our black book of buyers. However, the scenario above can be avoided by choosing a locally owned and operated independent agency where reputation is everything.

For almost a decade, Horton and Garton has served west London as a professional, honest and ethical estate agency. We put our clients at the heart of our business. We don’t inflate property figures – we treat our clients, buyers and renters with the respect and honesty they deserve, telling them what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear. With over 90 years of combined office experience in West London property, ours is a reliable and informed opinion. This is demonstrated by our conversion rate from properties listed to sold and let by – the best in Hammersmith in 2016. We live and work in our neighbourhoods meaning we offer a both a resident’s and property professional’s perspective. For advice that you can trust from a team who knows and loves Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush, Fulham and Chiswick, call or stop by one of our offices. If only the best will do, it has to be Horton and Garton.

– Phil Coombes, Sales Negotiator, Chiswick W4