Nice estate agents

edited February 2011 in Local discussion
Oxymoronic, I know.

However, I want to offer a number the chance to come over and try out for the role of selling our flat by giving us a valuation and schmoozing us a bit*.

Davies & Davies sold us this place and my husband is keen to give them another crack as he likes Malcolm. I've noticed that Winkworth seem to be the favoured sellers on our little road so we might give them a go too. Perhaps Brian Thomas on Green Lanes, as staff in there smiled a lot back in 2005 when we were buying. Beyond that, I am open to suggestions: has anyone ever had a positive experience with a local estate agency and think that they are worthy of a recommendation? Not Foxtons, obv.

* Possibly getting a little over-optimistic here.


  • edited 4:50AM

    Foxtons aremoney grabbing shysters to be avoided at all costs and I'd give Black Katz a wide berth too.

    You might want to have a look at this thread below which was for lettings but is very helpful on estate agents in general.

    Mary Portas did a Secret Shopper programme about estate agents in Islington, you might want to have a look on iplayer.

  • RegReg
    edited 4:50AM

    I've always had time for KFH who seem to making inroads to the SG/FP area.

    As for Foxtons, if you are selling I think they should make your list. Just try to avoid buying through them.

  • edited 4:50AM
    I like Malcolm too. I have just had valuations done by him, David Philips and Winkworth. Winkworth sold the place next door to me but didn't seem very enthusiastic and I wasn't impressed. David Philips seemed very slick and reminded my a bit of my previous dealings with Foxtons and Malcolm seemed the most trustworthy of the lot, so I will probably go with D&D. I can't stand Christopher Charles due to my experiences with them when buying a few years ago. Good luck! Personally I am not looking forward to re-acquainting myself with the buying and selling merry-go-round again but is seems to be the only way...
  • edited 4:50AM

    I'm buying and also thinking of selling through Davies and Davies. I like Malcolm's encyclopedic knowledge of most properties in Stroud Green, who lives there, who lived there before that, and exactly what improvements they've had done.

    D & D seemed to have the lowest commission as well.

    Having said that they have pissed me off at times, with their most appalling bullshit, but if you can work with it, and go with the flow a bit, I think they're the best of the bunch. If I was doing it again, I wouldn't go with the solicitor they recommend, get your own one. They kind of play you off against each other.

  • IanIan
    edited 4:50AM

    Malcolm is a good man and is the most knowledgeable about the area and the properties. He knows pretty much everyone on my street. I always liked Tim and Micha at Michael Morris and have bought and sold through them. They are a bit more south of the Park though, but have tried to break into the north with their front on SGR.

  • edited 4:50AM
    Thumbs up for Michele (male) at Michael Morris if he's still there. Lovely chap, was always very fair to us with lettings and knows the area pretty well but yeah nearer fpk.
  • edited 4:50AM
    Hi dawnage. I manage a local estate agency, and am quite nice :) However, I don't want to break any advertising/plugging rules on the forum! Am I allowed to mention the company name in case you want to contact us?! Discount for being a SG.orger!
  • edited 4:50AM

    The Mary Portas thing is here, it's worth a watch if you are thinking about selling your house.

  • edited 4:50AM
    Thanks Miss Annie; I'll get that cued up to accompany my dinner when it arrives on my lap.

    Marky, I have no objection to hearing about your estate agency, although the moderators might! However, I *am* interested in what makes you nice! Anything beyond the promised discount? :D
  • edited 4:50AM
    Boooo, it's been removed from 4oD "for legal reasons"!
  • edited 4:50AM

    Avoid Litchfields - we sold our flat through them and they were rubbish in a number of ways. We should have gone with Davies & Davies, and I'd definitely head to them first next time.

  • edited 4:50AM
    Seeing as noone has objected so far, dawnage - I work for Martyn Gerrard in Crouch End. We sell properties in Stroud Green regularly too and I live in the Upper East side so am keen to ensure my neighbours get good service (they mostly know where I live!!). We do get lots of repeat business which hopefully speaks for itself, and are definately NOT hard-sell. You be the judge of whether I'm nice - you're welcome to pop in or call me any time!
  • edited 4:50AM
    You know, I have just had a real-life good friend recommend your branch to me - just 2 mins ago! I think that's enough to short-list you... ;)
  • edited 4:50AM
    The service from an estate agent seems to be proportional to the time the agent has been working in the area (and their age), and to the shabbiness of his/her suit and car.

    This explains quite succinctly why you should avoid Foxtons (young agents with almost no local knowledge, flash cars, shiny Top-man suits. They don't even have a local office - properties in FP are handled by either Muswell Hill or Islington). AFAIK, the agents there are paid close to minimum wage and make all their money from commission. They are desperate for sales at all costs, knowing full well they won't be there for the (lack of) repeat business when the vendor or purchaser they are dealing with next comes to sell.

    Smaller, local agents know full well that they are playing the long-game and that today's buyer is tomorrow's seller. (and to some extent that today's renter is tomorrow's buyer).

    I bought in this area just over 5 and a half year ago, and looked around a number of properties sold through Davies & Davies, Christopher Charles and David Phillips. All of them are local agents with a good track record. Extra props to the agent at CC who I've bumped into several times since and who waves when I walk past.

    D&D was the agent for the property I eventually bought. I Was happy with the experience, and will certainly consider them when I come to sell. Their internet marketing used to be a bit-below par, but ultimately, I don't think that's a deal-breaker.

    Absolutely the best agents I have dealt with are Camden Bus, who deal almost exclusively in Victorian properties in Camden and Kentish Town. I think both the partners are almost accidental estate agents. Their knowledge of the area is unrivalled and they take pride on having sold properties on their patch many times over.
  • edited 4:50AM

    Intriguing... it was Martyn Gerrard's that was featured on the Mary Portas progamme.

    Any idea why it's been removed marky?

  • edited 4:50AM
    dawnage - great, hope to hear from you soon.

    miss annie - yes, we volunteered (bravely?! foolishly?!) for the Mary Portas prog. I've no idea why it has been removed but will try to find out tomorrow!
  • edited 4:50AM
    I've used D&D twice, first time was very good, but there was no chain and so the only time Malcolm was involved was to pick up the keys, second time there was an evergrowing chain and I could never get a straight answer out of Malcom during the whole 8 months it took to complete. I have recently used KFH and they were excellent -they valued the property at £50k more than D&D and I got an offer of the asking price in a couple of weeks. So no regrets with using a Crouch End agent instead of a Stroud Green one.
  • edited 4:50AM

    Dawnage, what are you selling? I'm in the market for a flat.

    We sold ours recently through Castles in Crouch End who were good and do a very professional job of presenting it and marketing it.

    I like D&D but I thought their valuation on our flat was a good 10% too low and Castles valued it higher and then sold it for nearer that higher price within two weeks.

    40D tends to pull some recent programmes quite quickly then stick them back up.

  • edited 4:50AM
    We have just bought our place through David Andrew, who are slightly outside the area (one branch Highbury, one Archway) but looking to do more in Stroud Green. I found them good to deal with, and they have also rented out my flat for me.

    Have had irritating experiences with KFH in Crouch End. D&D I like, David Philips I originally bought my flat through and they were OK too.
  • edited 4:50AM
    Papa L, it's a 2-bed flat... the Harringay side of N4 rather than the SG bit, if that doesn't put you off!

    There's a really similar flat to mine currently being marketed by D&D on our road: I must say, I was disappointed by the pricing of it. Having been an avid reader of property sale price e-mails sent to me by Up My Street for the last few years, I was expecting to get a little more than my neighbour's asking price - and definitely would have anticipated it being on the market for another £10k on top of that in order to facilitate a bit of bargaining!
  • edited 4:50AM

    We're looking on the SG side of the tracks, I'm afraid.

  • edited 4:50AM
    Maybe D&D are finding they're shifting more volume with more realistic-for-buyers valuations? That's the important thing for an EA trying to survive in a difficult market I guess.
  • edited 4:50AM
    Marky, I have tried to contact you through your company website but I don't think it liked my name. If the whole thing has failed, I will attempt the dreaded telephone.

    Has anyone ever had any dealings with Anthony Pepe & Co?
  • edited 4:50AM
    As current seller registered with Martyn Gerrard / marky, I can recommend.

    The Mary Portas show got a slating on twitter etc, mainly around what constitutes "good tv" these days (deliberately controversial for the sake of it). It also threw up some great stereotyped one-liners "west-facing is the new south-facing").

    Radical, game-changing conclusion from the smarter-than-thou Mary: go for an Estate Agent that thoroughly knows the area and thoroughly gets to know your property.

    IMHO M/G tick both boxes ...
  • FinFin
    edited 4:50AM
    Michael Morris, offices on Stroud Green Road near Davies & Davies and another on Blackstock Road.

    Ask for Tim or Micheala, both very friendly, decent guys who know the area as well as anyone.
  • edited 4:50AM

    Graeme makes a good point don't just go with the highest valuation, your property needs to be realistically priced to get people through the door.

    Having said that we didn't go with a couple of agents as their valuations seemed designed to shift our fast at the stamp duty threshold (which distorts prices and pulls properties down) rather than having to try a bit harder to break that level, thus suiting them and not us.

    The thing I'd say is ask your agents, do you always call back people who have viewed for feedback and then inform us what that was and do you phone people on your books to let them know of new properties.

    I've found a large number don't bother.

  • edited 4:50AM
    Hobarts are conspicuous by their absence so far on this thread. Anyone have any experience of selling through them?
  • edited 4:50AM

    Not exactly. When I was thinking of selling, I had my flat valued through them. They valued it at £40,000 more than Davies and Davies. Their commission was more. The properties they're selling, correspondingly, looked over-priced to me.

    They're friendly enough and know the area well.

    One of the guys in there is a bit orange, but that might just be me.

  • edited 4:50AM
    When I moved into the area I went for D&D due to a recommendation from friends who live locally.

    I found them to be very fair and I felt comfortable looking round properties with the agent (a young guy but I don't remember if he had a shiny suit mark o!) which as a lone woman was pretty important. He was honest about the flat and the area - so no suprises a year into my tenancy - which has not been the case with previous EA's I've encountered.

    I do rent though, so can't really speak for the sales side of things but would recommend them for lettings.

    My sister is looking to buy in Crouch End - does anyone have any experience as a first time buyer in the area?
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