Why You Should Use A Small Local Independent Agent To Sell Your Home

Why You Should Use A Small Local Independent Agent To Sell Your Home

Sam Ashdownby Sam Ashdown of HomeTruths

Estate agents do not have the best reputation in the world.  Drop it into casual conversation at a dinner party, and noses will wrinkle in distaste.  In the public eye they are over-confident, over-brash and they under-deliver.  Yet when you are selling your home, estate agents are a necessary evil that we all must steel ourselves against what we know will be a long and arduous journey, full of potholes of disappointment and bumps in the road.

But they are not all like that.  At HomeTruths, we consistently strive to find the very best estate agent to help clients sell their prized possession: their home, in the smoothest possible way.  In a decade of selecting the best agents, we find time and time again, that it’s the small, local, independent agents who are most effective at selling our clients’ homes.

But why? We have certainly heard many arguments against using an independent, in favour perhaps of instructing one of the ‘big boys’ (Savills, Knight Frank, etc).  For each argument, there is a counter-argument; for each weakness, a corresponding strength.  Let’s look at some of these viewpoints in detail, and in doing so, I aim to persuade you that smaller really can be better when it comes to selling your home:

  • “Small” means less rigid, more flexible, more responsive. An independent agent can often arrange viewings to suit your buyer, not office opening times.
  • Independent agents usually advertise on exactly the same property portals that all the national agents do, and in doing so, reach the same 1 million buyers that the big boys do.
  • Whilst the corporate agents advertise in the glossies and the Sundays, I’ll let you into a little secret – agents don’t advertise to find buyers, they advertise to attract sellers. As an industry, we know that print advertising doesn’t sell houses, and that 98% of enquiries come from online advertising, for sale boards, word of mouth, and simply calling the buyers registered on their mailing list.
  • A single office doesn’t have to mean a smaller geographical area: buyers from out of the area don’t know how many offices the agent has; they are simply calling the number on the board or from the online advert, which is an 0843 number – the same as every single other agent on the property portals.  All the buyer wants to do is book a viewing – they don’t care where or who they phone.
  • An independent agent is just as capable of marketing a high-end, premium property, as a big name is.  Often their public portfolio doesn’t include some very high end properties that they may be marketing discreetly for their clients.  In addition, many independent agents also offer a ‘Premium’ marketing package to reflect the prestige nature of a property.

Think of it this way; small independents can be like an agile cheetah: responsive and alert, ready to react to enquiries, changes in seller requirements, even jumping in their car to take a new front shot on a blue sky day.  Corporate agents, on the other hand, can be a big, slow elephant, taking time to oil the wheels of bureaucracy before each decision, even the smallest sometimes.

Independents agents are usually owner run and managed, meaning greater responsiveness and flexibility and so are able to make the right decisions quickly for their clients.

Almost more important I think than any of these factors, is the fact that an independent agent often prides themselves as being up close and personal.  I’ve known independent agents that have personally taken down curtains, had them cleaned and then rehung them; who have ‘borrowed’ colourful flower pots from their own garden for the photographs; they have had to be counsellor, friend, cleaner, tea-maker, gardener and handyman, all rolled into one.  In short, who have been their client’s best and most powerful ally in the bumpy road that is selling their home.

Remember, with an independent agent, their clients receive personal service from someone who not only really cares, but who also has a personal accountability.  Their clients’ success is their success, pure and simple. Most aren’t in it for the money (otherwise they would have probably chosen a different career path!); but in it for the long haul. The independents I know take a huge amount of pride in helping generation  after generation buy and sell their first home, family home, retirement property, and so on.  They are often the face of their town, prominent in their local community, and watch their corporate counterparts come and go as they travel up and down their own career ladders. Sam Ashdown

PDQ is one of these agents.  An independent agency with a strong figurehead in Chris Wood, the owner, who has developed innovative approaches to selling his clients’ homes better and more effectively.  He offers a free drop-in property advice clinic, uses social media extensively, has his own smartphone app and has rightly won many awards for customer care.

In an industry where the Goliaths often get the media coverage, it’s the Davids that often get the sale.  And I know who I’d rather have in my corner.

Sam Ashdown

February 2013

HomeTruths is a specialist advice centre, helping property sellers for a decade to sell their homes more effectively.  Our clients consistently achieve a higher price in a shorter time. For lots of advice about selling your home for more, get your Sam’s Selling Secrets here.  Happy selling! 

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