Written by rosalind renshaw

Two bank holidays turn Easter into a long weekend and next weekend gives most people another four days off.

We’d be intrigued to know how agents are planning to cope with the great shut-down.

Altogether, starting from the end of tomorrow, we face an 11-day stretch which for most people will include just three working days. Plenty of time for house-hunting, you might think.

On the other hand, anecdotal evidence is that most people are taking the opportunity to go on holiday and, even if not, are putting their home-moving plans on hold.

So, are you staying open or shutting up shop this long weekend and next? Running a skeleton staff and cutting back on hours? Or are you hoping to be busier than ever, with the weather looking set to stay fair?

We have few pointers other than that Moneypenny, who provide telephone answering services for agents, tell us that they have had a sudden surge in requests for phone coverage.

A spokeswoman said: “More than 90% of our property clients (over 500) have been in touch to confirm their Easter opening hours, with the findings being that the bigger chains and branches tend to be closing for the bank holidays.

“However, all are looking to keep telephone lines open and the facility for messages to be taken and followed up on their return. 

“The smaller, independent chains seem to be staying open on bank holidays and expecting high volumes of enquiries if the good weather holds.  

“Overall feedback is that they are all really keen to have phones manned to give them ‘normal’ office hours (even if they are closed!) and to take advantage of the longer weekends when people will have more time to look and see what is available on the market.”

Meanwhile, EAT wishes all readers a happy and hopefully busy Easter. We will be back next Wednesday, unless of course there is a major breaking news story to bring you.


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    Dead as a Dodo, how many properties did you sell over Easter? None, you were shut.

    I hope every vendor you have let down works it out and goes to a good agent before next weekend! And we wonder why we have such a bed reputation with the public.

    • 26 April 2011 12:39 PM
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    We have opened thid bank holiday 1-4 friday Saturday 9-4 closed Sunday and Monday 1-4 so far with really good results. opinion open at hours to suit yourself and your business OVER THE HOLIDAY. in my opinion over the last 15 years, bank holidays have always given us rich pickings. (WE ARE INDEPENDENT)

    • 25 April 2011 09:49 AM
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    We have not opened our offices Bank Holidays, Sundays or anytime between Xmas and New Year, 15 years on and we are the third ( out of ten) busiest agent in the town, family values and keeping the staff fresh and eager seems to work for me!

    • 23 April 2011 09:48 AM
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    Please stop picking on sad Will Hicks, he really can't help it, blame the benefits system. I am amazed he added the 10 to the 4. Clever boy.

    • 21 April 2011 16:02 PM
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    Mike Wilson. FYI, 80% of my basket in Gold. Just reached an unbelievable all time high.

    Currently looking at going very long with some OCT11PUTS on a few house builders & national EA chains. Will hedge with a spread bet on Halifax index.

    • 21 April 2011 10:22 AM
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    Bank Holidays are never REALLY busy with "moneyballs' (now theres an old phrase!) just lookers and moaners.
    I closed my offices during the whole of Easter - how did I survive in business for over 35 years? Easy, the staff were so rejuvinated we flushed it afterwards!

    • 20 April 2011 17:23 PM
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    I think the staff deserve a break and should enjoy a sunny weekend with their friends and family.

    I don't think Bank Holiday opening benefits business and it is detrimental to staff morale when they are stuck in an office looking at their facebook and seeing how much fun their friends are having.

    Sun and beer therapy will pay dividends.

    • 20 April 2011 16:04 PM
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    @Will Hicks

    Hmmm, I wonder what assets you have your money in now? I was out of the housing market for a few years and, following the bank crisis, was more worried about my money in the bank disappearing than I was about buying a house and watching the price of the house fall.

    Even now, regardless of whether you are in gold, silver, cash or shares - I'd be a lot more worried about a systemic financial crash than I would be about house prices.

    At least if house prices go down I still have somewhere to live. If I'd lost my life savings in a banking collapse I'd be, to coin a phrase, well stuffed.

    • 20 April 2011 15:45 PM
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    Was there ever a period when Bank Holidays were busy, or is this just another myth? The only reason I ask is that in the past 20 yrs I don't remember being busy during a single Bank Holiday, and I should know as I usually ended up working most of them. I can't be the only agent in the country who got pestered by the usual errr ... how can I put this politely .... err "regulars" ie the ones who have been looking for years, and who think they're doing me a big favour by talking to me. The worst Bank Holiday I had only resulted in 6 phone calls (five of which came to nothing anyway and 1 wrong number). Our coastal office will be open all day (pandering no doubt to the tourists who enjoy looking at estate agents windows) but my other offices won't be open. It's a Bank Holiday in Taff land too so Mrs Taff and the Taffettes will have the pleasure of my bubbly personality. Perhaps we'll go down to the coast for an ice cream and look in some estate agents window. It's not much of a life - but it's mine.

    • 20 April 2011 15:39 PM
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    Will Hicks: You wrote this a couple of posts ago.

    Now and again I phone a few of you lot for a laugh to hear the pitiful excitement in your voice when you discover I'm a cash buyer ready to go.

    If you do do this, then your a bit sad, and the only people having the last laugh will be the agent when they put down the other end of the phone.

    • 20 April 2011 15:32 PM
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    I don't phone EAs for fun. I phone round every 2 weeks or so when something I like comes up to gauge how the market is going.

    I've noticed a distinct change in attitude between different EAs since Xmas. Most are now frank, dead straight, and dare I say it, honestly opening up about how p1ssed off they are with greedy vendors. I like these girls & gals & I have them down as my first port of call when a place does come up that is appropriately priced.

    There are still a few EAs left who continue to push out the usual disinformation, a bit like Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf as the US tanks rolled in behind him.

    • 20 April 2011 15:27 PM
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    Will Hicks - You phone agents for no reason other than for a bit of fun? I'd suggest investing in some golf clubs, getting down the pub garden, a playstation 3 or maybe even a partner? Each to their own I suppose.

    "Their is the assumption that your sales will strongly correlate to opening hours"

    No. But it does create the opportunity to develop strong leads while people have this time off. Nobody is expecting mass sales by the Eater Bunny or someone buying Wills and Kate a 14th pad as a wedding gift.

    Yes, some houses are over-priced. The rest are not. The correctly priced houses are selling - fact. The over-priced are not.

    Seeing as you dislike agents so much, why don't you cut them out of all of your future property dealings? Don't stop the prank calls though, keep those for evenings and weekends.

    This will allow you to deal with auctions and private selling sites, cutting out agents, which makes good sense, doesn't it? If THEY are responsible for the whole market, then buying through other sources is the logical solution?

    • 20 April 2011 14:33 PM
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    I'm far from sad. Sold bricks at the top & have invested in some nice none bricks assets. Meanwhile, sitting pretty watching nominal falls in property, as well as inflation eating away at property values every month. Chug, chug.

    Now and again I phone a few of you lot for a laugh to hear the pitiful excitement in your voice when you discover I'm a cash buyer ready to go.

    • 20 April 2011 13:29 PM
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    Dead as a Dodo- don’t get fooled into thinking all agents do is put it on rightmove where they all look the same, quality and success rates vary wildly, thats why the better agents are still doing well and getting stronger, the one who think like you are going to be Dodos. Dont just be negative like sad Will!

    • 20 April 2011 13:00 PM
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    Hilarious. Their is the assumption that your sales will strongly correlate to opening hours. Whilst I'm sure their is some weak correlation, I think you'll find that sales are down because most EAs and vendors are locked into a Nov 2007 fantasy land.

    Those EAs that are valuing closer to reality [and turning down unrealistic stubborn vendors] are seeing a pick-up in transactions and will hopefully be still in business at year end.

    • 20 April 2011 12:03 PM
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    Oh Anna your response is to "text book"..what course did you get that litle gem from? You are clearly not one of the busy Agents otherwise you wouldnt have time to be looking through EAT but would be otherwise busy "making things happen".
    If you havefound the secret of how to get the banks to lend money to potential purchases I would like to know.

    • 20 April 2011 11:40 AM
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    Bad agents will be quiet and moan, the good will make things happen at the expense of the poor ones.

    • 20 April 2011 11:21 AM
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    Another excuse that will be rolled out in the coming months to explain why house sales are low and prices are falling. As we all know, it's nothing to do with them being too expensive, not at all...

    • 20 April 2011 09:33 AM
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    Its already very very quiet so where these hordes of buyers/Tenants are coming from is of great interest! Its is madness to have so many breaks espcially due to the tough economic times we are all facing however maybe a nice long break is what is needed. I reckon most people will relax and forget about moving over the next fortnight and it will be the graveyard shift for sure. We will have one person in on Saturday for a few hours only.

    • 20 April 2011 09:30 AM