Monthly Archives: June 2009

Defining a modern-day estate agent

Published / by Peter Hendry / Leave a Comment

Can anyone accurately define the present function and purpose of the modern-day estate agent?

Can you go further and define what the precise function and purpose of a modern-day estate agency should be?
We’re also hoping to hear from people who can re-define what they really want from estate agents, including what they could to do better:

Current Definition:
A person (or organisation) that tries to get the best possible price for a house whilst acting on behalf of a property owner, usually rewarding themselves with a percentage of the price they manage to achieve on the legal completion of each sale.

Problems resulting:
This basic remit permits them to do almost anything, even if it happens to be outside the law, or against the economic trends of the market itself. For example, they may take bids from gazumpers (real or imagined), obtain extra mortgage finance for a buyer as a condition of finding a property at the named price, or just pretend additional offers are being made at any stage when in fact, they are fictitious. They may also fail to take the current condition of the property into account and may even misrepresent the true state of the property market itself, not only to prospective sellers simply in order to gain the initial selling instructions but also ‘guild the lily’ as to the present state of the property market to prospective buyers as well!

An analogy which can highlighs these defects:
If you eat or drink more than your body can comfortably handle the result will be, you will soon put your own body in peril.

In just the same way, if a house owner (or indeed his agent) should try (through nefarious means) to extract more than the current market value of a property from buyers, he is by doing this, putting into peril the operation of the whole marketplace. He is thereby not acting in his client’s best interests at all! This seems to be what has been happening recently. This no longer relates to the role for which estate agents were originally conceived.

Alternative and new proposal:
New and improved estate agencies should be renamed ‘Registered House Agents’ or ‘RHAs’ for clarity.
A person (or organisation) whose primary function is to locate and assess suitable properties, establishing their true value in current market conditions. Their instruction would be to act primarily for the buyer, not only in the capacity of finding and presenting to them the best choices of property to purchase for their specific purposes but also to engineer the best overall sale and purchase package for their client and if instructed to, see the agreed package right through to combined legal completions.

If more modern estate agents or ‘RHAs’ knew they would have to show a client that their’s was the best set of proposals for that client in the present market situation, they would automatically be seen to be earning the level of fee that they would expect to be charging for that service.

This would mean that less external regulation for agents would thus be needed, not more.

My new proposal, which is to improve the way all housing in England and Wales is marketed, is based on moving away from vendor-centric estate agencies and instead use buyer-oriented ones as described in The Hendry Solution. This would not cost very much to implement and would bring massive benefits to all local marketplaces.

To read more about The Hendry Solution go to the following link:

Improve The Housing Market in England and Wales.
How to Improve the Housing Market in England and Wales.

Peter Hendry, Consultant in Housing Valuation