We heard through a contractor of ours, about a landlord who was considering letting his family home instead of selling it when they moved to a larger property. This is always good to hear; a contractor passing on praise for an agent for whom he works - and he works for many local agents.
Sadly, by the time we were informed, another agent had already been instructed and we thought we had missed out.
A number of weeks went by and then, out of the blue, we had a call from the landlord who was becoming concerned at the prospect of the property remaining empty for a protracted period of time. He’d signed up with them on a sole-agency basis, (see our article on sole-agency agreements) and was moving out the following day, having completed on his purchase that afternoon. But it would be well over a month before a tenant could be moved in by his agent.
It was a Friday and we visited in order to have a chat about the situation. In principal, we agreed a deal and in fact that afternoon we carried out a viewing with applicants very interested in the property and, at a slightly higher rent.
The following day, the landlord terminated his agreement with the other agent and we were instructed. On the Monday we conducted a second viewing with another professional couple who put in an offer and would move in as quickly as we could make the necessary arrangements. This offer was accepted.
The other agent had the property for some sixteen weeks and coincidentally, was also involved in the landlord’s purchase. It should have been straightforward then for them to liaise with the various parties and to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion.
So, where did it go wrong for them?
In our opinion, they didn’t correctly manage their position or indeed the landlord’s expectations. They put the property up for rent with no idea of a move-out date and this was always going to be fraught.
Had it been us, we would have appraised the property, taken photographs and asked the landlord to let us know when they had exchanged. That would have given us a definite period of time in which to market the property. No doubt the original agent had tenants who wanted to live there, but without managing the situation they were simply wasting everyone's time, ironically including their own.
The landlord would only have had to worry about his purchase, which is generally stressful enough, and the letting process would have comfortably sat on the back-burner.