Keller Williams UK
Estate Agents Behaviour

Estate Agents Behaviour

Select an Estate Agent without forced bad behaviours. 

If we believe that financial remuneration drives a certain behaviour in business then it is no wonder that estate agency in some quarters has a questionable reputation.

Estate agents are not bad people. The vast majority of property industry employees want to do a good job, to help people to move home successfully and with the least fuss – and to earn a reasonable living for themselves.

But the problem with the traditional estate agency model is that the way that its people are paid is not necessarily conducive with a great experience.

What exactly do we mean by that?

Believe it or not, where a fee of say 1.5% of the property sale price is earned, an individual agent will earn just 5% of that. For example take a £300,000 property where the seller pays a fee of £4,500, the agent earns just £225 and each transaction might take six months to complete. Motivating? Not really.

What such an inadequate remuneration approach often encourages is an apathy toward customers. It also tends to dictate that agents run from transaction to transaction trying to spin many plates in order to try to earn a proper crust. Inevitably, those plates drop when there are too many to keep spinning at once. It’s incompatible with a positive outcome for the customer where such a valuable asset and protracted, stressful process is concerned.

But what if, as with the Keller Williams model, the agent that does the work and faithfully attends to the customer 24/7 were to be paid a bigger proportion of the commission instead of that money being channelled toward multiple branch office rents, rates, staff, car leases and so on? Well, that’s the way that the Americans have been selling real estate for decades and which is why, unsurprisingly, the USA has a much better reputation for real estate service and efficiency.

Keller Williams isn’t just an American business operating in the UK. It’s a global company, the largest estate agency in the world, that is now successful in 42 countries. And whilst cultures and legal systems are of course different from market to market, one thing is for sure no matter which continent you live on…. paying people properly so that they enjoy their work, covet success, are aligned and respect their paying customers? That’s human nature regardless and drives good commercial behaviour in any language.

Keller Williams at Gatwick

Personal Estate Agent

Personal Estate Agent

Taking it personally.

At any one time across the UK one million homes are being marketed for sale or for rent. That’s about 4% of the country’s property stock seeking a new occupant each month.

Those tasked with facilitating such transactions are one of the oldest professions in the land – estate agents. (Not quite the oldest profession, that’s something else entirely).

On average, according to Zoopla, it takes a UK home seller 50 days to find a buyer for their home. And then there’s the legal process known as ‘conveyancing’ and this takes, together with mortgage arrangements and so on, several weeks. In all, the home moving process could take between 3 and 6 months.

When we consider the time that it takes to move home, shouldn’t we also consider this in the context of how important it is to choose your estate agent carefully? I mean, you are deciding upon a relationship that will last for perhaps six months and may involve daily interaction. It takes celebrities longer than that to get married and divorced sometimes!

And, what about the 9 to 5? By that I mean, do you think you’ll need to interact with an agent outside of your own working hours? Evenings, weekends, perhaps an early morning query here and there? If so, bear in mind that the vast majority of estate agents are very, very traditional in their opening hours and will mostly only talk to you when, ironically, you’re busy during the day.

The property industry in the United States does ‘service’ really well. They approach customer relationships with enthusiasm and encourage 24/7 contact and, frankly, they’re really nice about how they deal with people. They respect and appreciate their customers properly as, after all, they are paying them good money and no more so that when it comes to estate agency fees and which in the US are as high as 6%. In the UK, selling fees are amongst the lowest in the world – but does that mean that we should expect to compromise on how well we are looked after? No, exactly.

But there’s a problem here. In our country the property industry is dominated by branch offices and there are about 20,000 estate agency offices dotted across the British Isles. This sounds fine until you realise that many agency companies have hundreds of branches all under different brands and it’s confusing in that you might not like, say Spicer McColl very much but did not realise that they are the same business as Haart, Darlows and Felicity J Lord. Or that whilst you want to avoid Bairstow Eves, they are one and the same as Abbotts, Mann and Co, John D Wood, Taylors and Green & Co all part of the loss-making Countrywide PLC group.

I mention loss-making because it’s important in the context of this subject, that of being looked after properly by your estate agent. Not only are many of the big names like Foxtons and Countrywide losing money right now, they are slashing costs accordingly and this may affect you if they skimp on staff and administration efficiency or, importantly, marketing investment. But above all, it means that their staff may be squeezed. Lower salaries, less commission and the result? A much less motivated workforce. If an army marches on its stomach, you don’t want your agent to be ‘hangry’ whilst dealing with you and your prospective buyers.

Plus, typically in our country, individual agents earn just 5% to 10% of the fee that you pay. After tax this isn’t a lot of money in most cases – especially for six months’ work and so no wonder the UK property industry has a pretty poor reputation for customer service.

The US model is now here in the UK. Keller Williams is a business that has expanded across the States with over 150,000 agents there and, intriguingly, 10,000 of them are millionaires. They earn big money. In fact, each agent earns the bulk of the selling commission that the client pays. What difference does this make? It makes for happy, motivated and enthusiastic agents that are enthusiastic about you and your property because they have a lot riding on the success of a sale. They don’t resent dealing with you out of hours and responding to a WhatsApp message on a Sunday afternoon or at nine at night. The service they deliver is better and you, the customer, get a better service and a better result – rather than your fee being channelled to multiple office rents, business rates and senior management BMWs.

So when choosing an agent to look after you and your sale, do you choose a motivated agent that will be there throughout? Or an under-paid corporate type that is rather less enthusiastic?


Keller Williams at Gatwick

Keller Williams Gatwick is set for takeoff

Keller Williams Gatwick is set for takeoff

Keller Williams at Gatwick

We are pleased to announce the opening of our next Market Centre in Gatwick

Early in the New Year we will be opening our newest market centre in West Sussex partnering with Lars Evans as Operating Principle. Lars has many years’ experience in and around the property industry and is a superb operator.

Lars himself says “I am incredibly excited to be opening a market centre, I have been watching the Keller Williams journey from the side-lines for the past 6 months and I have decided now is the right time to stop watching and to join the business.

I am looking forward to helping great agents change their lives by using our systems and models, I really believe there is a demand for this opportunity within our industry and I’m keen to share it with agents who want more from their careers.”

Ben Taylor, CEO of Keller Williams UK, said. “It is a really exciting prospect to be in partnership with Lars and to now be able to offer agents across the county of Sussex the benefits of our support, training and technology, but more importantly, to enable them to deliver exceptional service within the Sussex community and build great careers for themselves. I know Lars and his team will do an outstanding job of delivering this to agents.”

This really is a truly exciting period for us here at Keller Williams UK, we are experiencing significant growth in terms of agents joining existing market centres as well as being in conversations with some notable individuals with aspirations to open their own market centres to help and support more agents in 2020 – it is shaping up to be another year of marked growth.

For more information on KW Gatwick, or if you would like to discuss potential career opportunities, we’d be delighted to hear from you.