Central London Agents the best in the world?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 by George Franks


Central London estate agents are, on the whole, the best in the World.

I have been an agent for nearly 25 years in areas such as Fulham, Battersea, Clapham and not forgetting Maida Vale. The business has moved on dramatically in those years. So what has changed, I hear you agent haters say.


When I became an agent, it wasn’t really a career. I’ll be honest: it was something you just fell into when all else failed. Now staff, are our most important asset - universities such as Reading and Cirencester do courses in Real Estate Management and I regularly interview and employ career agents. These are young men and women who have always wanted to be in this business and have gone on to further education to learn the job.


The Ombudsman has recommended qualifications for us old hands. Every Douglas & Gordon employee has taken, or is taking, the NFOPP Technical Award, four exams which teach you the business.


We are now governed by an Ombudsman who has laid down the law. The Code of Practice for Residential Estate Agents. Every agent should be registered with this body for the good of the industry. Not only does it help us in terms of good practice, but you, the public, have someone to complain to, a real governing body with teeth. You wouldn’t give quarter of a million pounds to an unregistered bank would you? So why an unregistered agent?


The landlord or vendor has never been so well informed. Websites galore telling you what has sold, for how much and when. Property portals remind you and alert you to every new instruction or price change. Relocation and buying agents that, if you can afford it, will hold your hand throughout the whole process. You can find a buying agent that will deal with almost any price range. Agents have better and better websites, to make the process quicker, easier and more straightforward.


Marketing is also channelled through magazines, newspapers, e-mails, text messages and those portals again. A home has never had so much exposure. Property details with 15 photographs, interactive floorplans and maps now come as standard with most agents.


You need communication, feedback and advice and it is vital that your agent talks to you regularly. At Douglas and Gordon we have taken this a step further, so that you can log onto our website and see feedback from viewings, or how many web hits you have had at a glance.


Maybe the time is coming when we estate agents can start to hold our heads up high and be proud of what we have become. We are the cheapest yet most professional agents in the world. High streets would be a lot emptier without us.


If you feel your agent isn’t looking after you properly, there are countless agents out there that will. Maybe now you’ll have some questions to ask if you are planning on using an agent in the future.