I used Hurst Estate Agents in High Wycombe to sell my house last year. I wish I had found out about this website before hand. I met with one of their sales guys and agreed for them to take on the sale (after meeting with one other agent), we agreed a fee of 1.5% + Vat to include all except EPC (which I already had). I was sent the agent agreement for signing. Within ½ hour of sending back the signed agreement I received a call from their floor plan people requesting my credit card details for payment ¢â‚¬â€œ needless to say I referred them back to Hurst. Shortly afterwards I received a call by the sales guy at Hurst saying ¢â‚¬Å“oh, yes I forgot to mention that extra cost¢â‚¬Â to which I replied that I wasn't happy with and would change to the other agent I met unless they could cover the floor plan cost. I was then, very aggressively, told that as I had signed the agency agreement (only ½ hour before) I was now tied into a sole agency agreement and even if someone else sold the house I would still need to pay Hurst. After having a very robust conversation where I told Hurst that I would not be intimidated and they had changed the contract by adding charges, they backed down. It didn't get any better from then on.
Within 2 weeks I received 2 offers on the house (April 2011). To cut a long story short the ¢â‚¬Å“miscommunication¢â‚¬Â that I received, among other many other issues, was shocking. I had tenants in the house and wanted to give them their 2 month notice only after the survey had been done, so ¢â‚¬Å“agreed¢â‚¬Â with the buyer that we would have an August completion date but if the tenant was to leave earlier then I would like to bring forward completion. Fine, I was told. It was only when my tenants did give notice (1 month) in late May that Hurst then told me that the completion date couldn't come forward because the buyers were not able to get a mortgage before August. From May to end of June (when I finally gave an ultimatum) the story as to why we couldn't complete until August changed 3 times. By end of June I had an empty property and was getting very concerned about the state of the sale. I felt deep down that the buyer was probably genuine but the dishonesty and incompetence of Hurst was seriously muddying the waters. At the end of June I gave an ultimatum to exchange contracts or I would pull out, it was then I discovered that the buyer's father had contacted Hurst to demand that Hurst stop hassling the buyer as she was getting stressed out ¢â‚¬â€œ quite what Hurst were doing I do not know but as this was a no chain either side sale it should not have been stressful for anyone ¢â‚¬â€œ Hurst had made it stressful for me and, it now turned out, also for the buyer.
We did finally exchange in July 2011 and complete in August. I felt so angry about the service I had received from Hurst that I wanted to complain but discovered that they are not registered with the Property Ombudsman. I wish I had known about this website then. I didn't take it further at the time as I was pregnant and didn't want to create additional stress to myself, plus they had actually delivered a sale (although very badly) so legally I wasn't in a position to challenge their fees.
I am now in the process of selling the house I live in and my experience with Hurst has discoloured my view of high street estate agents so much that I am selling this house through Housenetwork.co.uk so I can have direct contact with the buyers and eliminate the risk of cowboys increasing the stress levels. By the way, so far my experience with housenetwork has been very good. Please save yourself the stress of moving house by avoiding Hurst Estate Agents, High Wycombe.
What agent could do to change your mind?
Be honest, do not intimdate clients and don't rip clients off by adding "hidden" charges, be organised (different sales guys within the team gave different stories as to why things were delayed),