So, on my return from Narnia, having already had a very nice professional photographer from the online agent come out and take some excellent photos (the one thing they seem to have got right), I clicked the button to go live. Tada! My house was for sale on the great and glorious interwebs.
On the first day someone enquired, but the agent messed it up, and made an appointment neither me nor the buyer could confirm, since they’d omitted to put the time and date in. We were repeatedly emailed to do so, but it simply wasn’t possible. After much hassle and embarrassment on my part (I’m surprised they pursued it, lesser mortals would have given up), I remade the appointment for a few weeks hence, as they were coming from quite some distance to look at a number of properties. This is very common here, in the epicentre of nowhere. Thus far (they’ve just been) these are the only people the internet agents have managed to attract.
Meanwhile Henry, who had pleaded with me to go with his agency at the same time as the internet one rather than do what I wanted and give them a chance so I could see if I would be able to save thousands, couldn’t bear the tension and contacted me. Apparently some of his clients had just lost out on a property they wanted, and he informed me it was very like mine, so he wanted to send them out in a couple of hours. I was in the middle of the supermarket at the time. He wanted me to go in to the office and sign some papers before going home and getting the house ready. I asked him what he would charge. 1% of the value of the house, apparently, for a phone call! I told him I wasn’t going to go in, but that they could come and see the house. It threw me to be honest. Had I had a bit of time to consider what he was asking I wouldn’t have agreed to his terms, but I hadn’t signed anything anyway so he couldn’t have held me to it.
Rushing around sorting out came next. The house wasn’t a mess, but anyone who has ever sold will know you need it to be clean, tidy, looking homely, but without too many personal items cluttering the place up. So toothbrushes and dressing gowns into drawers, papers and whatnot cleared away, a quick clean around, and they arrived.
It was predictable really. A youngish couple and their small child, who had been promised he wouldn’t have to look at any more houses (they’d been here all week), and who did his utmost to sabotage the viewing, and parents who were grieving over the property they’d lost. I could have offered them a palace for five quid and they wouldn’t have wanted it. So a waste of time, for all of us.
Henry was keen to hear what had happened, so I told him, and expressed my feeling that he hadn’t thought it through. He had no idea of their state of mind, which was odd considering he’s been in the business for so long. He told me he was just about to show some people round a bungalow that needed some work, and they didn’t want a bunglaow and didn’t want to do any work. He seemed proud of himself, but I really couldn’t work out why. He was also smugly satisfied with himself that he’d sourced my first viewers, but I told him he could send a thousand people round, but if they weren’t going to be interested it would be pointless. I’m not sure he knows what to make of my candour.
Other than phone me a week later than they said they would to ‘review’ my property, which involved shuffling a few photos around, changing a bit of wording, and telling me how the place was performing viewing wise (online, not in reality), the online agent has done nothing.
I’m reminded of the time I sold a house by advertising it in the local newspaper, which cost me about £50, and didn’t involve estate agents at all. Since they’re the main trouble with the whole procedure I remember it with fondness.