Tag: How to compare estate agents

When we start looking back at 2021, one word leaps to mind – exceptional!

Ask any Estate Agent how their year has been and they would all have to agree that it’s been very unusual compared to normal.  The housing market has been very busy.  Properties have been “flying out the door” often within days of coming onto the market. The end of the the stamp duty holiday has had little impact on demand or lowering house prices.

Continued Safety

Looking back to this time last year, it’s hard to remember that as 2021 started, the UK was in lockdown due.  Despite being in a similar situation currently, it does look as though, for the moment at least, we will begin 2022 without a lockdown in England.  However, keeping people safe and reducing the possibility of spreading infection is something we are very much committed to.

We will continue to only conduct viewings on properties with people that are able to make an offer. This is inline with Government and industry guidance.  We believe this way of working, not only keeps everyone safe, it also works much better for our clients.  They want to know that everyone walking through their door is in a position to make an offer, and they do.  With the market being so busy and this method of conducting viewings, we are currently tying up sales within 16 days.

If you are thinking about moving and are looking to find to find a home before you put yours on the market, we are happy to provide you with video tours and any information you may require.  But, we would really recommend you list your home for sale before you physically view anything.  With homes selling so swiftly, you are likely to be very disappointed if you find without having an offer agreed on your own home.

An exceptional year for Harrisons Homes Estate Agents

Looking back at 2021, it’s hard to pick out the highlights, there have been so many!  We started the year with a brand new fresh image, following a major re-brand.   With our new look we have sponsored local events and we hope to do more in 2022.  We also introduced Thank You hampers for our buyers and clients. That are packed for of gifts from local suppliers, including our own Harrisons Beer!


In May this year we were over the moon to hit our target of raising £10,000 for local children’s bereavement charity Holding On Letting Go.  We achieved this figure through a combination of fundraising and by donating £50 from every sale we complete.  We have been very moved by the work this charity does. Their services have been really stretched as we have adapted to living through a pandemic.  Children and many families have struggled to cope with their grief when restrictions have limited visits to the dying, or being able to attend funerals.  Therefore, we are committed to continuing our support and as of today, we have raised a total of £14,250

Laptops for Schools

With successive lockdowns and home schooling. The shortage of technology available to schools has been highlighted over the past couple of years.  Unfortunately, there has been no support from government to make these accessible to schools.  Step in Stephen Brown from SJB Consulting, who following the tragic death of his wife, Sam, wanted to fundraise in her memory.  Stephen came up with a computers for schools fundraiser backed by Agents Giving.  For every 20 houses sold by Harrisons, we will donate a laptop to a school in Swale.  We are delighted that this has been matched by Shore Way Marketing, meaning that we are able to donate a laptop with every TEN houses sold.

Innovative Estate Agency

For too long the property industry has been stuck in a rut, with many agents just replicating what other agents are doing. There is too much focus on winning instructions from competitors. An over reliance on portals and poor sales progression due to their focus being on listings rather than sales. This approach is not in the interest of clients or the industry in general.

We believe the industry is changing, we are committed to changing people’s perception of the industry and improving the image of estate agents.  We are proud to be members of The Federation of Independent Agents, which is an organisation made up of the best independent agents in the country.  Members all work together, supporting each other, sharing ideas and providing training.  We believe this collaborative approach will drive up standards, and is very much the future of the industry.

Gazeal Reservation Agreements

Currently in the UK one third of every property sale agreed falls through before it gets to completion.  With the current way we buy and and sell houses in England there is no commitment from either buyer or seller to complete on a sale.  They can drop out at any time, without a genuine reason.  Having a reservation agreement in place makes the sale more secure and this is why Harrisons have one of the lowest sale fall through rates in the UK.  

We believe in 2022 reservation agreements will become more commonplace as the government currently recommends them in their “How to Sell” guides and they are re-visiting organising pilots of using reservation agreements with a view to making them a legal requirement in the UK.  Harrisons were one of the first agents to embrace and recommend using reservation agreements and we have used them on over 100 sales this year

You don’t even have to be local or a client of Harrisons. We can arrange a reservation agreement on any property sale in the UK. Call out team for further information on 01795 474848.

Heads Up Property Alerts

There has been an over reliance on property portals in recent years.  As such, we market our properties “behind the scenes” initially.  This gives our buyers a chance to view and offer before they go onto the internet.  This way of marketing really works. Many houses have sales agreed long before they are due to be published to the portals.  By targeting buyers that are able to make a solid offer, we are able to negotiate the best price.  This is why we are currently achieving 102% over the asking price on average for our clients.

Due to the success of this method of selling homes we have set up Heads Up Property Alerts, where buyers can register for details of properties that are coming onto the market, before they go live, giving them the option to view before anyone else.  To register, simply complete our online form (you can opt out at any time) or join our Heads Up Property Alerts Facebook Group.

Our Team

None of our successes this year would have been possible without our incredible team.  2021 has welcomed three new members of staff.  Viv Parker as a property professional , Holly Mills as our PA and Pauline Clark as our dedicated in house Sales Progressor.  All three feel as though they have been here forever. They also all share our ethos in terms of outstanding customer service and values.

All of our staff receive continual professional training and undertake industry recognised qualifications.  We believe this is an integral part of raising standards and that qualifications should be compulsory within the housing industry.  After all, we are trusted to help sell what is arguably the biggest asset owned by many. We think estate agents should be qualified to do this.


Finally, we couldn’t look back over 2021 without mentioning the awards we have one.  It’s been an incredible year for us in this respect. We have won SIX awards and have been shortlisted for one.

Predictions for 2022

So, as we close the door on 2021 and reflect. We have to ask ourselves what our thoughts are for the year ahead and what we think could happen over the next twelve months.   If you would like to hear about our predictions for 2022 check out our latest blog

All that remains, is that we say a heartfelt thank you for your support over the last year.  Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read our posts and blogs.  We wish you and those you love a happy, healthy 2022


Tag: How to compare estate agents

So you’ve done your online valuation.  Got your finances in place, know what you can afford.  Decluttered and finished off your DIY todo list.  You now think you are ready to sell your home.  All you have to do now, is choose and estate agent.   If you are thinking of selling your home, here are 10 questions to ask your estate agent:

  1. What is you average time for selling a property?
  2. What percentage of the original asking price are you achieving for your sellers?
  3. What percentage of properties do you reduce from the original asking price?
  4. What is your timeframe from agreement of sale to completion?
  5. What are you doing to offer security to any sales agreed?
  6. What do you do differently to other agencies?
  7. What is your marketing strategy?
  8. What is your success rate for selling properties?
  9. How do you ensure all buyers are financially qualified to proceed with a house purchase?
  10. How long is your contract and can you explain the terms of your notice period?



Tag: How to compare estate agents

“All estate agents advertise in the same places”

If you have ever been told by an agent that all estate agents advertise in the same place, this is one blog you may want to read.

Every estate agent marketing in the same place, in the same way, may have been the case a few years ago. But in today’s housing market, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  If an agent says this in their pitch for your business, they are out of touch with today’s buyers.  There is no way that this agent is going to do an outstanding job, when it comes to selling your home.

The legacy of the property portals

Up until the last few years, it was generally accepted by both the public and by agents that portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla, On The Market, etc. mattered in the property market.  The wealth of new portals that have been added to the list in the past couple of years, would at first glance, appear to confirm this as very much being the case.  If an agent discusses with you how they are listed on all the major portals, this is a good thing, portals are a tool in an estate agents marketing toolkit.

However, if an agent tells you that their competitor isn’t on one or more the major portals, do not assume this is a bad thing. Nor should you discount the competitor.

The perception that you have to be listed on all of the major portals to show it to the most people and get the best price. Therefore it doesn’t matter which estate agent puts your home on the market as all estate agents advertise in the same place (ie the portals).

If this was the case, why do agents fees vary so? why do they claim they can sell your home faster, smarter and for a better price than their competitors?

If estate agents advertise in the same place, then all estate agents get the same result?

If we were all fishing from the samel pool of buyers. Waiting for one of them to get “hooked” on our listing. Surely buyer demand would be for us to all charge the lowest fee possible.  Therefore, no agent would be better than another at selling. There would be no skill involved, no strategy. It would all be down to gaining listings of properties and getting the listing price right.

Sadly, this is why some agents are focused (and rewarded via their commisson) on the amount of properties they get onto the market. As opposed to being rewarded for the amount of homes they sell.

Agents have become quite reliant on Rightmove and the like.  Properties that are listed straight onto the portals are only showing to the buyers who are registered with those portals.  These buyers are looking at every property listed that day, regardless of which agent shared it.  With the lack of houses coming onto the market currently, when a good, correctly priced house that meets their needs is listed, they will call in for a viewing. As will everyone else that sees that house go online.

There are lots of potential buyers that are waiting for a house like yours to be listed. All you have to do is select an agent that will make your house look at good as possible online. Then all being well you’ll get lots of viewings. Followed by a flood of offers and you’ll sell you house for well in excess of the asking price, right?


Buyers now browsers

The potential reach of the portals is huge, the trouble is they cast their net wide and pull everything in. Signed up for portal alerts are not just good to go buyers. By good to go we mean one’s that have all of their finances in place. Who have sold their own home or have no property to sell.  The portals bring those that are not yet “good to go” The people who have a property that is on the market but not yet under offer. People who want to find somewhere before they put their property on the market. The people who like to see what’s on the market locally to get an idea of what their property is worth.  The day dreamers, and of course the nosey neighbours.

The proportion of people that are able to put in an offer may be small compared to everyone that is signed up to the alert. Buyers that are ready to offer are there and they will snap up any suitable house that comes along as quickly as they can.  An agent that markets properties through portals alone would argue if the buyers are there, why do I need to do anything else?

This is true, but some buyers have moved on…

Savvy, buyers that are snapping up property

Rightmove and co have been around for 15+ years in mainstream estate agency. Whilst it’s sounds like it’s still young, think how attitudes and technology have moved on in that time. Even if you only consider that the introduction of the smart phone, apps  and social media.

Buyers are no longer all lurking in one place. Waiting for a portal alert to notify them of something new that’s come onto the market.  They have moved on.  They want to see property before it hits the portals and has fierce competition, particularly in today’s busy market place. These buyers are not waiting, they are finding new ways to find properties ahead of the competition.  They have everything in place to ensure that when their dream home comes onto the market that they are in the ideal position to make a genuine offer. And, if that offer is accepted, that they are able to proceed with the purchase.

Busy people

Whilst these buyers are proactive, motivated and want to buy. They are also busy people.  They don’t want to be ringing agents asking what properties the have coming up. Or viewing properties that don’t match their criteria, because the agent strongly recommended they took a look.

These buyers want solutions. The solution being a suitable property that matches their budget and requirements, delivered to their phone/device before it is shown to other competitive buyers that are still waiting for a property alert to go off.  These buyers are wanting to buy homes before they go online to the portals.

Innovative Estate Agents

In recent years, estate agent suppliers and technology firms have been developing technology to streamline the housing industry and make the role of a agent more proactive. Giving them additional platforms to find buyers and engage with them. The “PropTech” industry has sped up with the arrival of Covid-19 and the need to limit viewings and/or conduct them remotely.

Early adopters of the wealth of technology that is out there currently, have seen massive changes in the way they sell houses.  One of the biggest changes is the speed in which they can reach serious buyers.  Many agents are now reporting that they are selling properties before they are listed online.  Some agents are ditching the portals all together.

Innovation and technology are making some huge changes to the property industry currently.  We think it’s a very exciting time.  Which can only raise standards, and enable us to give a better service to their clients. There maybe some agents that say it’ll never change. All buyers will remain with the portals and the new technology is a fad or gimmick.  But then, there were many agents, not so long ago that said the property portals would never take off either!


At Harrisons Homes we sell the majority of our properties “behind the scenes”. Before they are listed on the property portals.  We do this via our Heads Up Property Alerts service and via our social media networks. We know that not all buyers are tech savvy. But we also know that motivated buyers will want to know what is new to the market. So we ensure we keep a personal touch for those that would prefer a phone call.

If you would like to know more about how Harrisons can sell your home, please call our team today on 01795 474848.



Tag: How to compare estate agents

So you have decided to move home.  This is an exciting new chapter of your life and you want to get on with it.  But first you need to sell your home, to do that you need to select an estate agent. With so many agents out there, all eager for your business, you may well be wondering, how to compare estate agents?

There are many ways to compare agents, but they are all based on the idea that you are comparing like for like.  The truth is that agents can vary wildly, in terms of  marketing your home, results, customer service and of course, fees.  The best way to research and compare agents is to use a selection of the options listed below, make a shortlist and invite two or three agents out to value your home and select the one that you believe is best placed to sell your home.  We will come back to the valuation process later on.

How to find an estate agent near me?

Just because you live in any given area it doesn’t mean you’ll have heard of the best estate agents locally. Gone are the days of the typical estate agent with a shop front on your local high street.  Many now work from home, out of offices, or are 100% online.  So before you compare agents, you need to find out who is performing well in your local market.  There are a couple of ways in which you can do this:

Ask around

Without a shadow of a doubt, asking friends and neighbours in your local community is the best place to start when looking for an estate agent.  Chances are, most people you talk to will have either used an agent or will know someone that has.  Ask them for a recommendation and for tips as to what they would have done differently when they sold. It’s also worth asking on social media.  This will certainly give you a sense of which agents are respected locally (and probably which ones are not)

Do a board count

The majority of homes that come up for sale will have a board outside saying they are on the market.  Visit local streets with properties that are comparable to yours.  Count up the sold board (don’t include the for sale ones, you are looking for an agent that can sell your home, not win your listing).  Which estate agents have the most sold boards?

Online comparison tools

Type into Google “How to compare estate agents?” and you will find ad after ad for online agent comparisons tools.  These are great to use and give you an idea of how agents in your area are performing. However, this shouldn’t be taken literally. These comparisons services need to pay for themselves.  Their main service is to direct business to an estate agent in order to get a share of the agents fee.  In addition, some comparison sites charge estate agent to be on them, so you may not get a true picture of how agents perform locally.

How to compare estate agents on my shortlist?

Now you have a shortlist of agents, it’s time to invite them out to value your home and listen to their pitch for your business.  Before you do, it’s probably a good idea to understand some of the key points that agents will raise during their visit.

How an agent will sell your home

This is a tricky one, and probably the one that you will find the most trickiest to navigate through.  As any agent that turns up to value your house will want to tell you how they sell faster, higher, better and cheaper (!) Than any other competitor and will probably come armed with a wealth of documented proof to show you.  Unless you have a masters degree in statistics, these probably are not where you should be focusing your attention.


Up until the last few years, it was generally accepted by both the public and by agents that portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla, On The Market, etc.  Mattered in the property market.  The wealth of new portals that have been added to the list would at first glance appear to confirm this.  So agents valuing your property will tell you that they are listed on all the major portals. And they should be.

However, this is not the whole story, especially in a market that is as hot and fast paced as it is in Kent right now.  And the market is showing no sign of slowing anytime soon.

So rather than asking the question, “which portals are you listed on?”  you need to ask the question “How do you market my home before it is listed online?”

Pre-qualifying buyers

This is very important.  You don’t want to waste time and energy getting your house ready for multiple viewing only to discover they aren’t able to make an offer. It may be they have a house to sell, they don’t have a mortgage in place or worst still, they just like having a look round houses at the weekend.  Ensure that any agent you are considering using is able to explain how the pre-qualify potential buyers.  This is especially relevant now, as we adapt to living with Covid-19.

High Valuations

You may find that one agent values your home much higher than the others.  This can be very flattering. It could mean that you may be able to buy something better than you had hoped.  But beware, ask the agent how they have arrived at that figure.  Ask also for examples of comparable houses that have sold for this kind of money.  Sadly, some agents will value your property at the top end just to get your business, as they are targeted for bonuses based on the amount of homes they list, not sell.

Low Fees

We all want a bargain, but a lower fee doesn’t mean that you are necessarily getting a bargain.  An estate agents job, is to negotiate with both the buyers and the sellers to get the best possible price for you home, in the current market conditions.  If an agent is prepared to drop their fees (and reduce their income) to win you business. Can you be sure that they are doing to work hard to negotiate the best price on your property sale?

Who will progress my sale?

Currently in the UK, one in three (33%) of house sales fall through.  There are a number of reasons for this. One of the best ways to keep your sale on track is by having an experience sales progressor in house. Very often this important part of the sales process is either passed to a central call centre outside of the local agent’s branch. Or outsourced to a separate company, where the agent has little control.

We’ve also put together a list of questions to ask your estate agent, which you may find useful here

Securing Sales

Once you have agreed an offer on your home, we recommend having a reservation agreement in place, that allows buyers and sellers to commit to each other and make sure the sale is safe and less likely to fall through.

Contact terms

Don’t forget to as how long the contract period is. This is a very important part of how to compare estate agents.  Agents that are confident they can sell your home with not tie you into, long contract periods.  With properties selling so quickly. Contract lengths of 4-6 weeks should be more than enough time for you to find a buyer and agree an offer.

Why you should consider Harrisons Homes

Harrisons Homes have recently been awarded Gold and the title of Best Estate Agent (Sales) in Kent. By the prestigious ESTAS awards, due to our outstanding customer feedback. If you would like to know more about us, or why we believe we are the best placed agent locally to sell your home. Please call our team on 01795 474848

Tag: How to compare estate agents

Let us tell you.  Here are our top ten reasons why we think you should use Harrisons Homes estate agents

1. Recommendation

Our number one source of business comes from personal recommendation.  Every agent across the land knows the value of personal recommendation.  Being trusted to handle one of the biggest financial transaction anyone is likely to make. A transaction that is often charged with emotion and stress. Is a very humbling experience.  To know that people value the service we have delivered enough to personally recommend our services, is something we are very proud of.  Check out our reviews to see what people say about us.

2. Award winning

In 2021 alone we have been awarded no less than five industry awards and we have been shortlisted for another.  The categories for these awards are for customer service, our results, our charity work and the work we do within the community.  We been awarded in 2021:

And we have also been shortlisted for Community Champion of the Year – The Negotiator Awards

3. Results

Our results speak for themselves.  We don’t need charts showing what percentage of the market share we have. Or to tell you how many houses we have sold in your postcode over the past year.  We will tell you that it takes us an average of 16 days to agree an offer and sell your home (subject to contract).  We are currently achieving over 102% of the original asking price on sales.  Plus, we have a fall-through rate of just 4% compared to the current national average of 33%.

4. No lengthy contracts

We believe properties can sell within four weeks of coming onto the market.  We are so confident, we wont tie you into lengthy contract periods. If we are confident we can do what we say, why would we need to tie anyone into long term contracts.

5. Sales Progression

Once a sale has been agreed, we deal with the progression of your sale in house by a dedicated and experienced Sales Progressor.  You wont be palmed off with a progression team based it a remote location. Nor will you be dealing with a third party, who has had your sale outsourced to from your agent.  You will have one point of contact, in-house that you can speak to directly if you have and concerns or questions.

6. Security

We recommend reservation agreements on all of our agreed sales, giving both the buyer and the seller peace of mind that their sale is secure.

7. Community

Harrisons are proud to be part of, and support the community in which we live and serve in anyway we can. Whether it being donating laptops to local schools.  Fundraising for local charities (£14K raised to date).  Donating laptops to schools or sponsoring local events.  We try to give back as much as we can, it’s an important part of our business.

8. Innovative

Harrisons are constantly looking for ways to improve our service and how we make sales.  We do not look to what our competitors are doing, we look at new technology and innovation there is available.  By adapting this to fit within our business and come up with innovative marketing techniques.  Such as our “Heads Up! Property Alerts” service, which markets and often sells properties before they hit the property portals and the open market.

9. Qualified Professionals

The fact that estate agents are able to set up in business and deal with what is, for most people, their largest financial transaction without regulation or qualification is something we are very much against.  All of our staff undergo training, along with continual professional development. Plus, Harrisons staff are required to gain industry qualifications.  Harrisons Homes are a member of NAEA Propertymark in the absence of an industry regulator.  This is an organisation that agents can join and adhere to their rules of conduct to ensure they meet the desired standards that members would like to see in a property industry professional. In addition we are the only agent in Swale to be members of the Federation of Independent Agents who are committed to raising the standards and reputation of the industry by pulling together a network of the best independent agents in the UK.

10. Feels like family

We are more than just colleagues, we are a very close team, it feels like family.  Harrisons is nurturing and supportive.  Commission is earned on the team’s achievements rather than the individual’s.  We work together on, helping each other to get the best results for our clients.  Many visitors say, when they walk into our office, that it feels friendly and welcoming.  This is part of the reason why so many people recommend us to their friends and family.

Now you have our top ten reasons Why Use Harrisons Homes estate agent, why not give us a call to get you moving on with the next chapter of your lives 01795 474848