Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Estate Agents & Schadenfreude

Once upon a time, about two years ago actually, estate agents everywhere were parading about in £75 shirts, driving shiny convertible penis extensions, then necking bottles of Moet and burning £50 notes in front of the homeless guy outside the 24-hour corner shop. (Possible exaggeration but you get the idea).
Now you can see them buying their shirts from Tesco, driving Fiat Uno's and searching out the Dr Pepper's closest to its sell by date so they can haggle a few pence off the price.
It is sad sight indeed and then you suddenly remember hang on, they are estate agents and you give a hurrah and begin to think that possibly there is a God after all. Then maybe you throw a tin of ravioli at their head just for good measure.
As the housing market remains frostier than a Siberian winter, estate agents all over the country are being made redundant and having their todger substitutes taken off them, but unless you are married to one or actually are one, nobody cares.
I would humble a guess that only traffic wardens, lawyers and tax collectors generate as much dislike as the estate agent and one of these four are heading towards extinction quicker than you can say delightful bijou residence.
Yes they are lying shysters, driven by greed and are chiefly responsible for pricing most people out of the housing market by driving up house prices in the first place, so its no surprise there's zilch sympathy for them.
They made a fortune out of doing bugger-all when prices were rising and took a percentage of the sale price so arm yourself with rotten tomatoes, put on your pointiest shoes and kick the poor sods while they are down.
Now let's see what we can do about taking down the Inland Revenue next.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lucy,

I'm still amazed at your glee when other people have money problems. Do you feel that deprived? Are you that jealous of people with wealth? Money is a double edge sword. All we need is enough for food, clothing, shelter, and a little left over for social life. Too much money is a burden...

And concerning estate agent fees, don't you people in the U.K. have FSBO - For Sale By Owner?

Q

Lucy said...

Only glee when the people who shaft everyone when they are doing well are on the receiving end Q. And we all know that once things turn around, they will be back sticking it to us at every opportunity again.

annie said...

it makes me happy when the greedy ones finally feel the pain many of us have felt for quite some time.

"Peace to the cottages! War on the palaces"

Lucy said...

Seems like we all do annie. I have yet to hear anyone express anything but satisfaction that estate agents are struggling. They have been shafting people for so long and to such an extent they really cannot expect anything else.

effay said...

Oh Lucy, c'mon, the market prices people out of the market. Real estate agents are no more sinister than any other person. Usually they are just stupid marketing majors with pretty faces.

Lucy said...

Estate Agents earn a percentage of the sale effay and therefore do all they can to get the best price, therefore a larger commission for themselves. Don't kid yourself, they do everything they can to inflate the price of a property.

Cody Bones said...

Wrong Lucy, they do everything they can do to SELL the property. If the price is too high, the property doesn't sell, therefore no commission. They are the grease in the wheels of commerce. Brokers and agents, regardless of the product, do nothing but bring together buyers and sellers, they add liquidity to the market, which benefits both buyers and sellers.

Lucy said...

Cody, i don't know how the estate agents work in the US but we have a word here, 'Gazumping' that Estate agents get up to in order to sell to the highest bidder.
In short, your 100k bid is accepted but the agent comes to me and tells me to offer 125k which is then accepted and you have been gazumped. The back he goes to you in a bid to gazump me and so on and so on. They use the fact that there can be months between an agreement and the contracts being signed to bump up the price. Yes, it is a crap system and so many people have been stung by it and ruthless estate agents. Hence, no sympathy.

effay said...

Well, in America, if you accept an offer you have formed a contract, and if the offeror refuses to honor that contrat they are in breach and will go to prison. I've never heard of anything resembling "gazumping", although there is certainly the bidding-up of desirable property.

Cody does make a good point though, if a real estate agent comes to me and tells me to bid 125k and it's too high, I'll tell him to piss off. It's the buyers competing for the property who drive the price up. I heard a fairly good analogy for a real estate agent today on MSNBC when the reporter said, "don't shoot the messanger."

Lucy said...

From the MOVE channel website -
What is gazumping:
'Some unscrupulous agents and vendors out there who will do anything to bump up the price they can get for a house. In times when competition and demand is fierce, vendors will play buyers off against each other provoking something of a bidding war, while the agent sits back, does nothing and watches their commission rise.'

www.themovechannel.com/guides/Buying/Success_&_failure/What_is_gazumping/

Cody Bones said...

I would hope that the agent that I hired to sell my property would get me the best price possible, I also hope that the agent I hired would get me th cheapest price possible to buy my dream house. This brings together a price equilibrium. Adam Smith Rules

effay said...

Well, typically buyers' agents work on commission as well, so there's not really anyone other than the buyer working hard for a low price. I would say this is probably one instance where buyers should try to work to reform the dynamic in real estate transactions since their own agent doesn't have as much incentive to get a low price as sellers' agents have to get a high one. Of course, the market hasn't demanded such a change yet.