Choosing Your Estate Agent; Part Two
August 17, 2012
We present the second installment in our guide to helping you choose the right agent. This week, we tell you how to check your agent is the real deal
Most estate agents are honest and try their best, but some have ruined the reputation of the whole industry. Part of the problem is that you donâ€™t need any formal qualifications to trade as an estate agent and you could essentially do the job with a mobile and a rough idea of how to spell the word â€˜houseâ€™. In the view of Greene & Co. this isnâ€™t good enough; estate agents should be licensed. We believe itâ€™s the only way to ensure a high level of competency in the industry.
Make sure your estate agent is a member of one of the two compulsory redress schemes; The Property Ombudsman and The Ombudsman Services: Property. The schemes offer free, independent and impartial advice to members of the public if they are dissatisfied with the service provided by their estate agent. To check your local estate agents are registered with one of the compulsory schemes, visit the TPO website and click the â€˜Find a memberâ€™ link or visit the OS-P websites and click the â€˜Participating companiesâ€™ link.
There are also some non-compulsory schemes that agents can be members of. A good agent will be a member of at least one of these:
The National Association of Estate Agents:Â www.naea.co.uk
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS):Â www.rics.org
The Guild of Professional Estate Agents:Â www.guildproperty.co.uk
Estate agents who are members of professional bodies have to adhere to strict codes of conduct. An entry qualification is required for the NAEA, suggesting that you may be dealing with a more informed and ethical agent. Also look into what previous customers have said about an agentâ€™s service. Check their website for testimonials or ask them for some. There are also many online review websites where estate agents have no control over what is published. Type â€˜estate agency reviewâ€™ into Google and you should find some popular sites to help you compare local agents. The Property Ombudsman website also shows independent survey results on specific agencies. This can be found on their site when searching for estate agency members in a local area.
If You Go Into The Woods Tonight . . .
August 15, 2012
You might be in for a bit of a surprise, because thatâ€™s the day that Keatâ€™s House holds itâ€™s teddy bearâ€™s picnic!
Keatâ€™s House Garden, not 15 minutes from our very own Belsize Park branch, is playing host to local to toddlers and their teddy bears.Â Since it occupied the great man himself, the house is often used as a venue for community events.
The house was originally built as a semi detached in 1815. Three years later there, Keats wrote â€˜Ode to a Nightingaleâ€™, and fell in love with Fanny Brawne, the girl next door. It was from this house that he travelled to Rome, where he died of tuberculosis aged just 25.
In this beautiful and historic setting the website invites you to enjoy â€˜all your favourite songs, poems and stories and donâ€™t forget to bring your favourite teddy bear!â€™ The event kicks off from 3 â€“ 3.45pm today, but if youâ€™re reading this too late, donâ€™t worry; the event continues for the rest of the summer.Â To see datesÂ click here.
Choosing Your Estate Agent; Some Valuable Tips
August 10, 2012
We present a weekly guide to help you choose the right agent.Â This week, we ask what should your agent do for you?
If youâ€™re a buyer your agent should introduce you to as many properties as possible that match your brief. This means: (1) Properties that meet your requirements, e.g. a studio flat, apartment or detached house, number of bedrooms, underground parking, etc. (2)Â Within your price range. (3) Within your chosen areas.
If an agent keeps showing you properties that donâ€™t meet your requirements, either they havenâ€™t focused on your needs or you didnâ€™t brief them properly.
If youâ€™re a vendor your agent should do all they can within the law to get the best possible price for your property. Remember that youâ€™re the boss, so keep a level head and donâ€™t allow them to get pushy. (1) They should notify you of all viewings, preferably giving you 24 hoursâ€™ notice.Â (2) They should call you on a weekly basis to provide you with feedback on enquiries, viewings or to update you on the progress of the sale of your property. (3) They should be in regular touch with all parties â€“ buyers, sellers, solicitors and mortgage lenders â€“ to make the deal as smooth and stress-free as possible. (4) They should be wise to any likely pitfalls. (5)Â Finally, on the day of completion, they should be available to hand over the keys.
The Goonies Come To Town
August 8, 2012
Next Saturday why not enjoy the Goonies the pleasant surroundings of your local park?
The Nomad brings outdoor cinematic experiences to audiences of all ages and sizes at an inspiring range of beautiful, curious and downright strange screening locations. This year theyâ€™re making several visits to Queenâ€™s Park in North London, just five minutesâ€™ drive away from our Maida Vale Branch. On Saturday 18th theyâ€™re showing The Goonies at 8.45pm for about a tenner!Click here to get tickets.
â€˜Breathe in the spirit of The Goonies, as The Nomad takes you on a heady, 80s nostalgia trip with Mikey, Chunk, Data, Mouth and the rest of the gang. This very special open-air screening of The Goonies will be enhanced by suitably playful musical and theatrical surprises. And the Salt Yard Group will be on site selling tapas treats, delicious Mediterranean wines, and exotic popcorn and ice cream.â€™
The Nomad will be also showing The Graduate and The Big Lebowski in Queenâ€™s Park later on in the year.