I’d like to begin by saying that this is my personal account of my own experiences and that ‘names’ will be left out for obvious legal reasons. Only my ‘slight’ hint of sarcasm here and there will be more than obvious!
My nightmare started on February, 27th, 2007. Fresh out of the divorce courts, I immediately turned my attention to the fact that I could not afford to run that big, old house on my own. The solution seemed obvious – sell the house. What started off as promising – a very keen and willing estate agent to guide me upon my way ( the house was pitched at a rather hansom amount) ended in a slow, uncoiling, unmitigated disaster. I eagerly awaited the first flood of admirers ( ha!ha! ) and low and behold, I soon became an ‘open’ house for the first few weeks to come. I became used to the ‘call-backs’ after each viewer by the early-on apologetic estate agent who had more or less convinced me that my house would be a ‘steal’ ! They started off so well, until, I soon became used to the many, varied feedback comments; too small; ‘too out-dated’ ; not enough garden; too expensive! So, after just six weeks, it was suggested I drop my price – a bit. The first of many price drops of three years and nine months, soon turned into a never ending downward spiral of negativity, fuelled by the attentive, eager agent who knew that no matter what, his commission stayed the same! How nice for them indeed.
Suddenly, after living on my toes for roughly three months, I got ‘that’ call. It was explained to me that I had to do something ‘radical’- like severely drop my price as it was obvious to them that people were considering my house to be ‘not worth’ what I was asking. In a matter of weeks, I was being bullied into submission, ” should I hold on at the higher price or listen to the expert?” I pondered. Since, I had suffered;cancelled viewings at the last minute; viewings where appointments had been made late evening so I had to conduct the viewings; and the classic one where a couple arrived and disappeared in three minutes as if running from the gates of hell! ( apparently they had asked to view a property with a big garden, which mine was not); I decided to sack the agency and look for another! We were now in May, 2007.
Enter ‘The new blood’:
After appointing a new agent, I became hopeful of better things – this one seemed to have a ‘more hands on’ approach. They knew the local area better and I welcomed the smaller commission rate. Again, in the first flush of appointments, my expectations were raised to new levels. Then, I began to realise what a nasty lot those house viewers were. Never satisfied, ever. How I hated those ‘looks’: those ‘tutting faces’; their ‘sneering- jibs’ that shook their heads in disapproval. ” Was I selling ‘the worst house in the world’?” I began to wonder. I waited for the ‘drop the price call’ but, alas this time it never happened. I was convinced by the agency that ‘my house was worth it’ ( a bit like that famous advert!) and continued to hold out for the better price. June, July, August, September came and went, Then, as if by some new set of rules, I was told not to expect too much from then on as we were now entering the ‘wrong season’ for house viewings! Ah! Christmas came and went. In January 2008, so did my patience! I removed the house from the market after one last viewer. I remember it well. This viewer did not ‘mind’ the small garden, loved the location, loved the house. I stood back and watched as the agent apologised for the garden being so small. ” Unbelievable!” I thought , “Had he not been listening?”. As the last viewing finished, I decided to throw in the towel as they say. Nearly twelve months of drudgery had passed – I couldn’t live this way any more!
January 2009-Housing Market Collapsed:
After a ‘year off’, I decided it was time to try again. I took on another new agent. These turned out to be worse than the original, first agency. Multiply everything that went ‘wrong’ the first time round by a thousand and you’ll get the picture. Their commission rate had soared much higher than the rates in 2007 and, on top of that, by now during 2008-9 the housing market had collapsed. My house was now ‘worth’ a lot less than before – I was gutted. So, it crept back onto the market at a stoic, but much lower price – ” Surely it was ‘worth’ this?” I thought. Huh! Every week and I mean, every week, this agency gave me call- backs to suggest ‘little by little’ price dropping. They knew it had been on the market before and made me believe that, ‘that’ in itself didn’t look good. How I tried – really tried – to believe their drivel. They really didn’t ‘care’ what I sold it for as they greedily had a ‘fixed commission rate’ at the first, higher starting price! Ogres!
So, by March 2009, I reappointed the second, smaller agency again – at least their commission was lower and they were friendlier in their approach to me and their customers. But now, I was trapped in a multi-agency fee. Suddenly, it meant because I had two agents I’d have to pay more anyway if I sold by one or the other! What was I to do? I was beginning to dread the call backs, the viewers’ feedback, the forgotten appointments ( there were many by the viewers) and the ridiculous excuses some people gave as to ‘why’ they’d changed their minds. The ‘last minute’ cancellations were marginally worse than the ‘no-shows’ – both made my blood boil. “Didn’t these people have any conscience?” I often pondered. ” Enough!” I said to my partner one day, ” I can’t handle two agents’ worth of fabrications and meddling!” So, I ‘downsized’ to the one smaller agency again – at least he didn’t lie.
End Result: November 2011;
After a staggering amount of time; wasted time, time-wasters, and that’s just the viewers! I finally ‘sold’ my property! “Celebration time!” I might say? Not really. I’ve lost a staggering amount on the property and have no reason to celebrate. The house was ‘my equity’ from the divorce settlement and I feel like I’ve lost nearly everything. I’ve been powerless to change the outcome, no matter what the estate agents said. In fact, it’s been the stuff of nightmares and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. But, then I did divorce him!
Moral of the Story:
“Don’t sell if you don’t have to, and if you do- may your God go with you!”
Source: My own, disgruntled information and experience.
Reference to ‘Because your worth it’ as in L’Oreal.