Visited this agent for the second time recently. First visit a was not great due to a staff member I now believe was actually the boss "butting in" to my conversation with the agent I was dealing with when I was asking questions which she overheard and didn't like. I found this unhelpful as she didn't give me a chance to finish my sentences and give my reasons. It felt a bit hostile and unhelpful. They didn't appear to be showing good customer service or being able to show themselves to be flexible to work out any problems or concerns I may have. Naturally I am going to ask about fees and deposits and notice periods and about referencing!
The best way to describe it is when I asked about generally how long it takes for referencing to be complete so I can sign the contracts it was like the look she gave was an attitude of, "why would he ask such things - he must be up to something". It was a uncomfortable and even slightly hostile atmosphere. I work in the city in a suit so it not as if I came in and looked like some hooligan or something.
I felt like saying "Hey, I will ask as many questions as I like if I am putting my money down on a property you represent!!! How dare you speak to me this way!"
But I didn't - I decided to leave and come back at a later date when perhaps she may not be there and I can speak to an agent properly as I had liked the agent I was speaking with initially.
I returned earlier today and spoke to a different agent than the first. She wasn't helpful to be honest and didn't seem to keen to try to find me somewhere. Just said give me your mobile and we will call you if anything comes in. I came in to find a place today. Not sit at home waiting for a phone call that may never come. "Do they actually want any new business?" I was just getting into speaking about the type of property for a search on their computers and the woman from the first visit appeared. After a bit more time with the current agent she again butted in and mentioned that she remembered me.
I took the opportunity to ask about contracts and she said that they will give the contract and keys when they choose after I put my deposit down. I pushed further on this saying that can't be right. You can't expect someone to put a deposit down without any idea of when they can sign contracts and be told "it will be when we choose". How outrageous! I told her I give my notice to my current landlord when I have signed a contract on a new place. You don't give up a job without another to go to so why would you with a property? She said that their checks mean that if you haven't give your notice to your current landlord then they won't let you rent one of their properties. That felt scary in that they are trying to trap you in some way. I decided to go elsewhere.
So in summary they want:
You to have given notice to your current landlord so you will definitely be without a place after a certain date
Put a deposit down with them without any idea of when you "will be allowed" to sign the contacts so all the risk is on you as you can find yourself fast approaching the move out date without a contact on a new place
I do recall another agent that had complains on this site where they tried to sign contracts late so they could try and increase the rent in the days prior to move in as you really were then desperate for the place and had not signed a contract. I am not saying this is happening here but if felt ¢â‚¬Å“iffy¢â‚¬Â enough for me to think I had better not risk it and should try elsewhere. Their competitors may have better deals. I also thought I should provide some feedback. I hadn't after the first visit but today was just too much!
Use them at your own risk. Ask questions. See the responses you get. Don't let yourself be bullied into anything.
What agent could do to change your mind?
I believe the agent could have been more understanding and answered my questions and provided better customer service. More flexibility and less of a "suspicious" behaviour that makes customers feel uncomfortable. They may have had bad customers in the past, but that is no way to treat future customers. We ask questions because some estate agents cannot be trusted to you know. They should appreciate this and be more understanding and not expect us to have no security when parting with money. Felt like to much of a dictatership. Bad agency.