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Henry Pryor gives High Street agents 10-point guide to raise their game

Outspoken buying agent Henry Pryor has set out 10 points that he claims many traditional agents overlook when they debate the pros and cons of their online rivals.

In a series of tweets shortly before yesterday’s Radio 5 Live programme investigating online estate agents, Pryor told the industry via social media about what he considered to be  “a couple of things many traditional agents overlook in the yah-boo debate about the pay-to-list model.”

His comments, reproduced below, include a suggestion that some agents give the impression to vendors that selling their home will be easy, and that traditional agents charging for a premium service should not leave it to others to show prospective buyers around a home. 

Pryor also berates most traditional agents for not carrying reviews and testimonials on their websites. 

Here’s his full list taken from Twitter: 

1. “They are often guilty of giving sellers the impression that selling their house will be easy, leaving clients with the impression it ma be worth the risk of paying up-front” …

2. “Many estate agents charged more than the perceived value for the service they offered. A decade or two most towns had one or two traditional agents offering fees less than 1%, the new online agents have just been better marketeers.” …

3. “Most agents concentrate on selling their services rather than offering professional advice. If you concentrate on getting the business rather than offering the objective advice then potential clients will compare the costs of competing services.” …

4. “Very few agents can explain when asked why they have to charge the fee they quote. Those that do eventually admit that part of the reason is to cover the costs of the proportion of homes that don’t sell.” …

5. “Some High Street agents forget they are charging for a personal service, one based on a relationship. They have staff who will ‘list’ or take on, different folk will ‘sell’ and others who will ‘progress’ a sale. No wonder the public think the process can be automated.” …

6. “New homes may be commoditised, might be valued by the square foot but like fine art and antiques a good agent can get a premium for a view, special history or potential whilst an App-based service often struggles.” …

7. “If you’re charging a premium service you can’t expect the owner to show potential buyers around nor (in my honest opinion) can you send a temp. You’re charging for the ‘selling’ expertise not just the ‘marketing’ expertise.” …  

8. “I can’t remember the last time any agent sat down and explained how they had come up with their guide price. No list of comparable sales, no examples of competition nor an idea of the sort of applicants and the budgets they have.” …

9. “Online agents ALWAYS have feedback and testimonials on their websites. Very few High Street agents seems [sic] to understand the importance of this kind of marketing.” …

10. “Far too many High Street agent now no longer think they are a ‘people’ business and don’t include profiles of staff on their website leaving potential customers little understanding of rather talent, experience or human side of their offering or how they differ from an App.”

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    It's a shame that Henry Pryor seems to only have dealings with the most inadequate of high street agents - how unlucky! I would also be very interested to know the scope of his buying vicinity - are we talking London only? We are a high street agent that does most of that listed above (those points we agree with anyway!). Maybe Henry could use some of his time celebrating the high street agents he comes across who do deliver an outstanding service and absolutely demonstrate that the fee they charge is appropriate. We can't be the only ones...

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    By the sounds of it, you won't be losing any business to online agents. I think these comments are more aimed at the agents that are sat back, complaining about why they are losing market share. Like yourself, I would expect the majority of agents who come on here are at the top of their game but there are so many that aren't.
    I recently had a competitor value a property in less than 10 minutes and scribble the asking price on the back of his business card. There are many of this standard of agent around.

     
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