Any recommendations for local estate agents?
Liz and I moved out of Honor Oak recently and were keen for a hassle-free sale at a decent price.
We shopped around, and got quotes from Purple Bricks, Acorn and Sebastian Roche.
- Purple Bricks had an excellent sales pitch from the local area coordinator, who spent a long time at our house showing us how the process works. The fee was the lowest by far ( £1200 inc VAT). They have an advanced online portal for managing the progress of the sale, and employ local people to take photos, conduct viewings etc. What put us off was partly the low fee - would the staff (beyond the salesman) be motivated to get the sale? We also hadn’t seen much evidence of nearby property selling through Purple Bricks, and we hadn’t seen great performance on number of offers and price attained. The company is definitely one to watch. I suspect this is the future of house sales - but it’s early days in SE23.
- Acorn - again, an excellent pitch and a particularly polished and convincing business that is growing fast. They had closed a few sales locally, although several houses had gone under asking price. The commission was 1.25%. The nearest shopfront would be in Crofton Park.
- Sebastian Roche had the most convincing record on local sales, with three properties on our road (#ebsworth-st) having sold in the last few months. Looking at Seb Roche’s record, we saw they were achieving multiple offers on properties and regularly beating asking price. The manager, Rob, came across as very knowledgable and sincere, with a local community touch, and good staff in the high street office on #honor-oak-park. The commission was less than 1%
The suggested asking price was the same (£625K) from all three agents.
We chose Sebastian Roche. They visited to take photos soon after, listed our house on all the major property websites, put two panels in their shopfront and put together the following brochure:
Ebsworth Street CB.pdf (1.1 MB)
Before our open day on the weekend, we had a couple of viewings and an initial offer. After the open day, we had another two offers and Seb Roche took it to sealed bids. The top offer, which was above asking price, came from first time buyers - a couple of similar age to us. We were delighted, and accepted their offer.
The following day, Rob called with some unexpected news. The cash buyers behind the second-best offer had upped their bid, becoming the best offer by a margin of several thousand. Whilst tempting, we felt it would be unfair to allow the first time buyers to be gazumped, so we followed our instincts and completed the sale as agreed. We’re really happy with the way things went - trouble-free from offer to completion.
Thanks Rob and your staff for your hard work.
I’d highly recommend Sebastian Roche
020 8291 9441
Just to pop in and defend the online estate agents - I used one three years ago (not Purple Bricks but similar) and I’m glad I did. The amount of commission paid to “normal” estate agents is ridiculous on London property and as everyone uses rightmove/zoopla and arranges a viewing, the estate agents don’t really have to do that much work for the money any more. I saved thousands… It IS the future and I’d recommend taking the “risk”.
Recently sold a 1 bed flat in Belle Vue Court, DEVONSHIRE Road with Sebastian Roche.
We met with a number of local agents, Acorn, KFH, Matthew Benjamin etc.
SR gave us the best rate of commission, but more importantly, Richard was great to deal with, very open and honest. He kept us up to speed throughout the process with what the interest in the property was like and was collaborative about making decisions about how to proceed. Ended up selling for all but asking price very quickly.
Really couldn’t recommend them highly enough.
I would not recommend using KFH in Forest Hill - have a huge portfolio of properties locally but from a recent buyer’s perspective were an absolute pain to deal with. They failed to pass on offers to the seller, continuously failed to return calls and all in all added weeks, if not months, on to the sales process. Would recommend using a smaller local agent who will be far more invested in achieving a sale and will make the process a far more pleasant experience.
I was very pleased with Roy Brooks who sold my flat in Forest Hill. My family had very bad experience with Acorn - would never use or recommend them.
Not impressed with most of the others.
I used to work (taking pictures) for Conran Estates, who have a branch in Brockley. Not sold with them, but found them to be a nice bunch, seemed very professional and very focused on detail (certainly when moaning about my pictures lol).
We had a much more positive experience buying our house using KFH. Admittedly that was four years ago, but I still see many of the same staff in the shop when I wander past. They couldn’t really have been more helpful, and the manager, Javaid, is very knowledgeable with a strong local perspective.
Very interested in your research/comments on Purple Bricks and similar online estate agents. I certainly think this will be the future model for estate agents.
I would guess that the vast majority of buyers subscribe to property alerts through the likes of zoopla or findaproperty and online estate agents feature on those platforms in the same way as traditional estate agents so doesn’t seem to be a distinction there. I also assume there is no significant difference between the quality of photos, floorplans etc (though I think some online agents charge extra for these). In terms of actual viewings, with respect to anyone who is an estate agent, as a buyer I’ve always hated dealing with them - always feel that they are acting entirely in their own interests, rather than in the interests of either buyers or sellers - and so the online model where you can choose between either doing the viewings yourself or having their local rep do them seems sensible.
So I’m interested in whether you think there are reasons why PB would have completed fewer sales than Sebastian Roche - you mention motivation of reps as a possibility - or whether it’s more likely to be because the industry hasn’t yet shifted sufficiently to the point where the volumes each type of estate agent can offer in SE23 are truly comparable?
Ultimately the difference between paying approx. £1k vs £6k for essentially the same service means that the traditional agents really would need to prove to me that either they are likely to achieve at least the difference more in the sale price, or that there is a risk of not being able to sell a property through an online agent.
My only experience of Purple Bricks is that my parents sold their house to someone selling with Purple Bricks and the process was very drawn out, with the buyers wanting to move in April, but little or no information and elements left uncompleted, so moving dates constantly pushed back. I think you also pay them even if the house doesn’t sell? Whereas an Estate Agent will take their commission once it’s complete, so you can bugger off somewhere else after any contractual period if they haven’t sold it. That would surely mean the traditional agents has more incentive to get your home sold and completed on?
It does seem like the future, but the agents I worked for really saw them as a company trying to build up a large portfolio so they could flog the business one day. Of course, I’d imagine they are quite biased.
I did notice a lot of clients complaining about other agents, online and offline though, with poor communication and very few viewings after an initial flurry. I do think some agents seem to take on more than they can handle.
I also thought Estate Agents were raking it in before I started working with them, but it does seem that competition and overheads mean many agents don’t survive in the long term.
But, anyway, if anyone goes with Purple Bricks and finds themselves wanting better property photography… give me a shout
I’ve bought and sold through Acorn recently, sold via their East Dulwich branch and bought via the Forest Hill one.
The commission is definitely a lot, for what seems like little work as mentioned above its mostly online these days but if one party in the chain is faffing around they can do the grunt work in chasing solicitors and such like.
Personally I don’t have much experience of any others around here but I can’t think of anything bad about them and both branches were polite and professional.
We have recently bought in the area, used KFH in Forest Hill and were fantastic from start to finish.
Having moved three times locally, Seb Roche is the only agent we would recommend. Richard and Rob have a great team and fantastic local knowledge of HOP in particular.
We had been looking for a property in Forest Hill for well over a year. Hopefully we now finally have somewhere (fingers crossed!) we are very close to exchanging.
In our experience KFH were most ‘on the ball’ and seemed to be selling the majority of properties in our price range. Other agents had very few houses to show over the course of the year.
Seth at KFH was particularly helpful and always got us in to see properties before they came on the market.
We didn’t end up buying through KFH, but I would definitely consider selling through them in the future.