Estate agents tend to make the ‘searching’ process easier and more efficient for property seekers. Prospective renters and buyers alike identify estate agents to assist them because of their expertise on the housing market, access to a network of professional contacts (e.g. surveyors, solicitors, mortgage advisers etc.) and vast knowledge of the local area they operate within.

Like with any major life decision that requires external inputs, individuals want to be diligent about who they are dealing with before they entrust them with any responsibility or decision-making authority. Consequently, first impressions and interactions count for everything – this being especially true when a potential renter/buyer first meets an estate agent.

Housing agents Sellhousefast.uk surveyed 1,468 Brits who have recently or are currently using an estate agent to help them rent or buy a property, to find out the appearance and etiquette related attributes of estate agents which most effect their intentions to not use them again after their first meeting.

Sellhousefast.uk found that an estate agent wearing unprofessional clothing/shoes (68%) is the number one appearance-associated turn-off for property hunters when first meeting an estate agent. Unprofessional clothing/shoes referring to a combination of formal and casual attire (e.g. suit with trainers) or entirely casual wear (e.g. t-shirt and jeans). Thereafter, 60% would opt not to deal with an estate agent again, whose clothes are visibly and heavily stained and/or creased.

Interestingly, considering tattoos continue to be a taboo issue in many industries, more than half (55%) of those surveyed would refrain from re-using an estate agent who has an extensive number of tattoos which can easily be seen (e.g. on face, neck, hands, arms). Closely after, 50% of potential renters/buyers would be deterred from using an estate agent who uses too much make-up.

On the other end of the scale, an estate agent with an overgrown and/or scruffy beard would influence only 26% of Brits to not go back to them. Slightly above, 34% would be swayed away from an estate agent whose hair is very messy or has made no effort to make it presentable by combing it.

Moreover, with regards to etiquette, 59% of Brits would go elsewhere if an estate agent was being too pushy or using blatantly obvious sales tactics during their first encounter. Subsequently, 53% would instantly ditch an estate agent whose manner was unfriendly and rude towards them for no apparent reason. 47% of Brits would not give an estate agent a second chance if they exhibited poor time management, such as arriving significantly late to a pre-arranged property viewing.

Surprisingly, just 30% of those looking to rent or buy a property feel a lack of enthusiasm/interest by an estate agent would prevent them from continuing to use their services.

Matthew (29), who is currently looking for a two-to-three bedroom flat to buy with his fiancé, said:

“Trying to jump onto the property ladder has so far been very tricky. With me and my partner both working full-time, we don’t have enough time to thoroughly research and find the types of properties that most appeal to us. To overcome this problem, we decided to use a dedicated estate agent to make the search quicker. The first estate agent we came across, we were shocked at how laissez faire the individual was with his appearance and approach. Wearing shorts and t-shirt. Referring to us as ‘mates’, when that was the first ever time we had met. This all seemed unprofessional to us. We therefore made the judgement call to not use the estate agent in question, as we felt we could not trust him enough to help us with such an important decision in our lives”.

Robby Du Toit, Managing Director of Sellhousefast.uk, commented:

“No matter how competent and experienced an estate agent may be, if they don’t make the effort to present themselves in a professional way during their first meeting with a prospective renter or buyer, they face the real risk of losing business. This research certainly highlights how different factors related to the appearance and etiquette of estate agents, can negatively impact their image if they do not meet the standards set by renters and buyers. Some appearance and etiquette qualms rank higher than others, but estate agents should aim to take all of them into account and ensure they correct the ones they are guilty of committing. In doing so, an estate agent can create a great first impression. More importantly, contribute towards them regaining the business of renters and buyers as key clients going forward”.

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Daniel Peacock

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