UK Estate Agents Review – Part A

Part 2 – UK Estate Agents – Best and Worst

The world of house purchase has changed a lot within the past few years and this was a long time coming. Refer to this page highlighting one of these important changes. To give you a summary:

  1. Virtual home viewings are now widely used
  2. There are different modes inc FaceTime/WhatsApp video calls, pre-recorded videos or 3D/4D videos made from scanned viewed of the properties.

OH A SIDE NOTE … I have viewed about/over 70 properties!!! I am equally amazed and especially surprised to see how much time and energy I have expended on it. That is something I will talk about a bit more in a different post. To give you an idea – I think I have rushed ahead of God, over analysed things and listened to too many people even when I knew what I wanted.

Now…I trust God and stay moving through the guidance of the Holy Spirit until (the time) God restores and provides. I know He is going to do it and I am so excited.

There is always a silver lining and to this charade. One of these might be garnering a lot of experience to share with you so you do not make the same mistakes.

Here goes – My expectation was for estate agents to provide a real value to both buyers and especially sellers (who are their Clients) by capitalising on the advent of this valuable resource.

But this is not the case! Some estate agents are just not clued on!

Rant time – when or how did a slide show produced from pictures ever mean a property walkthrough!!??

This blog post will REVIEW MY EXPERIENCE WITH RESIDENTIAL ESTATE AGENTS in the UK predominantly in Medway (Kent), Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Colchester – Essex and East London and TELL YOU WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR.

I will tell you which of these currently have the best virtual viewings and those who provide an abysmal service. (All my opinion and based on current house listings on Rightmove and Zoopla, I have requested to view and all reviews based on my experiences before 22.05.2020)

The Estate Agents I review below are those I have liaised with or used their services in finding my first home. It is obviously based on my experience so far and does not reflect what other buyers may have experienced.

Me @prauslife

Some EAs have blanket declined conducting video or virtual viewing even for empty properties. Others have been kind enough to ask vendors to undertake WhatsApp/Real time video calls. I will highlight all these in my review below. 

Note: some vendors may have also prevented or been hesitant about their properties being video or scanned to provide this service so where estate agents have not confirmed a virtual viewing, it may be due to personal reasons. Please bear this in mind. 

It may be that the service paid for by the vendor does not include a video OR there has been an increase to prices to offer this service. However, if agents are ready to offer value to their Clients (i.e. vendors), then in times like this, this should be offered at no extra charge to increase their chances of a sale.

CAVEAT – The latter may be due to different reasons. It may also be due to the demographics of the market areas – areas with older people may be more averse to having their properties videos and placed online. I say this because I have had viewings and wanted to take more pictures and older vendors have declined making reference to those already taken by the agents. It takes some convincing to let them understand that there is a limit to the use of these photos.

Here we go…the table below gives you a preview. Surprisingly, the bigger/national agents seem to have the worst review or service; medium sized and online agents provide best value. Smaller / family-based agents have not yet started.

I hope you find these helpful. If you need any more information, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. In my next post, I post a good list of advice for estate agents + Vendors on the best way to record a video (that provides the best value for first time buyers)

Estate AgentsArea CoveredOnline Video/Virtual Viewing Comments
Urban and RuralHuntingdon/St Neots/Sandy/BiggleswadeCurrently added good quality 4D walkthrough for some of their properties. E.g. Elder Close in St Neots. A suggestion will be to include a bit of the street standing from the property doorway.
Stuart & CoHuntingdon/St Neots/Sandy/BiggleswadeVideo viewing available with vendors and arranged by the team
TaylorsHuntingdon/St Neots/Sandy/BiggleswadeNon-existent online video/virtual viewings
Thomas MorrisHuntingdon/St Neots/Sandy/BiggleswadeNon-existent OR slide show produced from their estate agents’ pictures of the property with an audio voiceover. Totally useless
HaartNationwideFor some properties – (St Neots & Havering) Pre-recorded video of house available and sent to buyers.
ConnellsNation wideNon-existent OR slide show produced from their estate agents’ pictures of the property with an audio voiceover. Totally useless
Purple BricksNation wideWalkthrough video captured by their Agents. Some are a bit rushed through and does not really show layout of upstairs space. But quality of video i,e. length, detail is dependent on who shot the video. Still gives a better idea than slideshows.
Robinson Michael JacksonLondon & Kentwalkthrough video captured by their agents and available on their YouTube channel plus the Rightmove page too. Usually of good quality and not rushed through BUT sometimes tend to miss garden and the rear of the building. Again quality (length, pace of walkthrough etc) is dependent on agent who shot the video
Bairstow EvesNation wideMostly slide shows produced from Estate Agents Photos. Totally useless. Non-existent online video/virtual viewings
Your MoveNation wideNon-existent online video/virtual viewings
Wards Estate AgentsKentNon-existent online video/virtual viewings
Rainham HomesMedwayNon-existent online video/virtual viewings
Pollard EstatesMedwayNon-existent online video/virtual viewings
GreyfoxMedwayNon-existent online video/virtual viewings
HuntersNationwideNon-existent online video/virtual viewings
QuealySittingbourne + SwaleNon-existent online video/virtual viewings but usually has loads of photos
Harrisons ResidentialSittingbourne + MedwayA pre-recorded and detailed walkthrough videos for some of those properties at Sittingbourne
BeresfordsEssex – Colchester  A pre-recorded and detailed walkthrough videos. Agents available to attend property or arrange face time calls
Harris and WoodEssex – ColchesterCurrently added good quality 4D walkthrough for most of their properties in Colchester. A suggestion will be to include a bit of the street standing from the property doorway.
MichaelsEssex – ColchesterA pre-recorded and detailed walkthrough videos. Agents available to attend property or arrange face time calls with vendors.
William H. BrownEssex & HaveringNon-existent online video/virtual viewings but usually has loads of photos
UK Estate Agents Review – Virtual Viewing Availability & Quality

All the best and enjoy viewing (your potential new home) in the comfort of your current home whilst in lockdown.

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