Estate Agent Recommendations

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 :+1:
https://www.sebastianroche.com/
020 8291 9441

4 Likes

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”.

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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.

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.

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.

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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.

just bumping this thread to ask if ppl have any updated recommendations for selling a property in FH area?

1 Like

Purple Bricks are incredibly, execrably bad. Off the scale bad. I would not recommend them to my worst enemy. I have had recent experience of them, so I know whereof I speak. Sebastian Roche were great, however. I agree with Chris Beach there. Like anything else, you pay for what you get.

1 Like

Agreed- PB were awful in my experience- the online portal was a good idea in theory but woefully bad in practice. Never updated- their listings are nonsensically out of date often.

I’d add Peter James to the crap list too- horribly pushy and insistent like all the worst stereotypes of estate agents.

Stanford Estates have been excellent in my experience however- really knowledgeable about thier properties, helpful and sensible and no sales pitch nonsense.

Pickwick all the way!!

Estate agents we’ve used in the past:
Pedder - didn’t get us any viewings over the ridiculously long contract we were tied in with them. They have the longest tie-in contract. The estate agents were ok but we had some bring round potential buyers who didn’t even know which property was ours because they had never even seen our property.

Acorn - just brought in a load of time wasters to view the property to make themselves look good. Would rather quality over quantity. Their estate agents could be described most like “car sales” people.

Pickwick were absolutely impeccable. Paolo the MD deals with all of the customers personally and is in constant contact. He is not your typical “blagger” of an estate agent. Best decision we made was using them to finally sell our place after months of using the previous estate agents.

Also recommend Stanford estates, if we didn’t use Pickwick we were going to use them as they were very likeable.

So Pickwick or Stanford Estates.

My recommendation is to find one that has the same estate agent showing people around. Someone who knows the area and the property inside out. Nothing worse than having an estate agent turn up on the day and not know the ins and outs of your property and be able to answer buyers questions.

We actually viewed a Pickwick property before using them as our own estate agents and it was a good test to see what their estate agents were like as a buyer. We were impressed with their estate agent who had lived in the area for years and could big it up.

We viewed another property with a different estate agent (one that isn’t mentioned on this comment) and they were awful. The estate agent didn’t converse with us at all or try to “sell” the property to us. He was completely disinterested.

So maybe try before you buy - book a viewing for a property with an estate agent and you’ll see for yourself whether they are any good with buyers!

Good luck with the move!

1 Like

On second thoughts I’m going to name and shame the estate agent that we viewed a property with as they haven’t been mentioned on this thread yet…they were Winkworth!

As I walked around viewing the property I was praying that our own estate agents weren’t this bad with ours. I felt awful for the vendors of the house who clearly didn’t know how poor the estate agents were at promoting their house to potential buyers. Winkworth greeted us with a leaflet on arrival and basically said goodbye to us as we left and nothing in between. That property was on the market for months!

I don’t want to knock-down our local estate agents, especially at an economic time like now. But when people (like myself) are desperate to move and effectively feel “trapped” in their property and estate agents are failing at doing their job well I think it’s fair to let other potential movers know.

This was just the one estate agent from Winkworth we dealt with, so I don’t want to tarnish the whole company we might have just dealt with a bad egg.

I’m afraid that as a previous buyer, this was a very common experience with most estate agents when I was looking around a few years ago. Worst were the weekend viewings where the agents would often have ‘the weekend stand-ins’ who would literally open the door and stand there until you saw yourself back out, often directing any questions to the office on Monday when it was open.

2 Likes

Second recommendation for Stanford’s. We have bought two properties with them now, and sold our initial property with them and never had anything but a positive experience.

After tge last few extremely frustrating days with our estate agent, my husband and I are considering jumping ship. We have no tie in with them and are looking for a agency with staff that are proactive and not afraid to actually TALK to people. We can show viewers around ourselves.

We’re at the Sydenham Hill end of Kirkdale. 4 bed, three storey Victorian terrace. Driveway at the front, courtyard and balcony at the rear. No lawn. Ideal for couple working from home, as two of the bedrooms are currently set up as home offices with broadband.

There must an agent out there who doesn’t charge an arm and a leg and who has people registered who don’t need a lawn.

1 Like