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Exploring consumer attitudes towards estate and letting agents

what do consumers think of estate agents?Consumers have never been better informed than now. At their fingertips is a near-limitless supply of constantly-updated information about products and services that previous generations could not have imagined. Yet if one thing remains true throughout history, it is that everyone needs a roof over their head. In the contemporary world, that means the majority of us will at some point have dealings with an estate agent, either as buyers and sellers, landlords or tenants. We have recently received a report which explores attitudes towards estate agents using research commissioned by Feefo and some of the results are very positive when it comes to service from estate agents and what factors influence a customer’s choice.

Some of the most interesting results are as follows:

• 52% of consumers say the last estate agent they used was efficient and effective.

• Only 14% of landlords claimed that their last dealing with an estate agent was a disappointing experience in which there was a failure to deliver.

• The general level of satisfaction remains high with the main aspect they liked about the service received; 44% being the speed with which queries were answered.

• While nearly a third (32%) thought that virtual reality tours of properties would make buying, selling, letting or renting easier, substantially more (48%) thought online booking of appointments would be an advantage.

• From a list of factors that influence their choice between online-only and more traditional estate agents, low fees certainly did top the list; but only by a very narrow margin.

• Landlords (38%) were more concerned with the quality of service, whereas renters said low fees were uppermost in their minds (36%).

• The survey asked respondents to choose from a list of potentially decisive factors and found that by far the most influential for consumers was the feeling that they can trust the agent. This was chosen by 28%, with recommendations from family and friends the next biggest selected.

• 42% said knowledge of the local market was a top requirement when considering having their property valued.

• 70% of 25 to 34 year olds said they rely on reviews before they decide on an agent, (compared with 40% of those aged 55 and above).

• A high percentage of renters (68%) read reviews first. The figures indicate very directly how agents will need to make sure they fully adjust to this trend, which is bound to gather pace as the property market is entered by more young people completely accustomed to apprising themselves of online review content before making a decision

Looking to rent or buy your property in Kent? Find out about our rental and buying services with our estate agents in Maidstone.

Ashford welcomes new Ben Siggins branch

Here Chris Payne, Manager at Ben Siggins’ newly-opened Ashford office, talks about Ben’s decision to open his doors to Ashford’s home buyers and sellers. 

They say when looking for a home, location is the most important thing. With that in mind, this is the number-one reason people are choosing to live in the Ashford area. Set in the heart of Kent, the garden of England combines the charm and character of the countryside with the convenience of modern living. London is around 38 minutes away now via the high-speed train service, and Paris is under two hours away. The beautiful beaches of Camber are around a 30-minute drive and the historic English cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Canterbury is around the same time away.

Canterbury Cathedral

On top of all of this, here in Ashford we are surrounded by stunning countryside including areas of outstanding natural beauty – you can literally walk to the countryside from most areas of Ashford.

Besides the outstanding location, people come from far and wide for the shopping experience offered by the McArthur Glenn Designer Outlet, not to mention the main shopping centre, County Square, in the heart of the town next to our brand-new office. Not forgetting its roots as a traditional market town; you can still find a farmer’s market every month in the high street.

As one of the largest growth areas in the country, Ashford has superb infrastructure with more to come for the local people, including a new cinema complex in the town itself. The town has expanded thoughtfully and has a number of green spaces and parks including Connignbrook Lakes Country Park, The Ridge and Victoria Park – which itself hosts the Create Music Festival which is one of the South East’s biggest free music festivals, taking place every July, traditionally.

The Ashford office

Ben Siggins’ exciting new office in the heart of Ashford is located next to County Square in the town centre. Combining Ben’s philosophy of straight-talking, honest advice with the flourishing reputation the company brings from its Maidstone and Medway branches and the local knowledge of the team in Ashford, you can expect a high level of service.

As I write, the team have already helped five people move before the office has even opened! Two of these have been on the market with other estate agents for months. What do we do differently then, compared to the other agents in the town? Often, it can be taking care and treating a home the same way we would our own when looking at marketing. It’s the detail in the writing; always remembering who we think may buy the property, making sure the photography is aBen Siggins Ashford (1)s good as it possibly can be. Sometimes we will take the same photo multiple times to get the angle, lighting and scene just right. We are often dealing with people’s largest assets and, more importantly, people’s hopes, dreams and aspirations of that dream home.

It sounds so simple, but treating people how we would expect to be treated and communicating every step of the way are things that we do, and our customers tell us these are the reasons they would recommend us.

Whether you are in Ashford or any of the surrounding villages, our local team will work with you closely, with the right experience and local facts. People who are committed to helping you and who will provide the highest level of friendly, approachable service to help you move.

Our experience doesn’t just help you move, we’re here to guide you through the legal and financial minefields of moving home as well, so you have all the support you need from start to finish.

You can find out more about our Estate Agents in Ashford here.

Q and A with Chris Payne – Branch manager at Ashford

Chris Payne-11

Chris Payne has been a leading estate agent within the Ashford area for eight years. Heading up the new Ben Siggins Ashford branch, Chris and his team are now on-hand to help with any queries at the newly-opened office.

Please provide some information on your professional background

C: I’ve been in the sales industry for a long time, however, in the early days of my career I was training to be a mechanical engineer. After a few employment alterations, I ended up in the hospitality industry; working behind a bar – and this is where I found a passion for social interaction. A few years – and job changes – later I was headhunted by Ward & Partners whilst working for a car dealership, and my profession within the estate agency industry ascended from there. Thereafter I was, again, headhunted by – at that time – Ashford’s leading estate agency. Today, I’m proud to say that I have been a leading estate agent within the Ashford area for eight years.

What do you enjoy most about working in the property industry?

C: The people. Personally – as amazing as the houses we sell are – what really interests me is the clients. Every day is different; there’s so much variety day to day and you meet a diverse selection of people with various requirements continuously. One of the most memorable moments of my time at Ben Siggins so far occurred a couple of months ago; I met a couple that I had previously worked with on two occasions, selling them their first and second home. On this circumstance, the pair were expecting their second baby and were looking to upsize; and I successfully sold them their third family home, assisting them through their house-hunting search on three hunts. That’s where my job satisfaction comes from.

What would be your dream home?

C: I’d like to think that I’m quite humble; I would say a standard three-bed family home, however, I do like character properties with period artefacts. Although, I would say that I probably live in my dream home now; I live in a three-bedroom, semi-detached property in the countryside with a charming spacious garden, complete with a vegetable patch.

What do you believe is the biggest struggle for today’s first-time buyers?

C: Getting on the housing market. It’s an immense challenge to get onto to begin with. Nonetheless, I would recommend first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder as soon as possible. Personally, I didn’t realise I needed to take the plunge until I was 24. When it hit home, I put all my efforts into saving. I then bought a 25% share on a flat – shockingly, the deposit I paid was the same that I would require for a rental property! It wasn’t the property I initially sought or the area I wanted to move to but it was a move to get my foot onto the ladder. After three years of living in the flat, I was able to sell it and put a deposit down on a house.

What’s your favourite part of Kent?

C: Kent is a beautiful county; I’ve spent my entire life here. Every time I try to leave Kent and go somewhere else, I’m always drawn back – I don’t think I’ll ever live anywhere else. The beauty of our county is that it provides everything you could possibly want and need; we have the beach and pier at Deal (which is where I grew up), then you have the downs, countryside and area of outstanding beauty in Ashford and the restaurants and shops in Canterbury. There are also great connections to France and London from Kent.

What do you believe are the best traits to have as an estate agent?

C: Honesty. However, it’s not all about being sincere; you have to be reliable too. You also have to be prepared; estate agents commonly shy away from delivering news that clients may not wish to hear, however, this isn’t best practice. I hand out my personal number for any client enquiries or uncertainties. If we have any updates – positive or negative – to convey to our clients, we inform them immediately. Communicating with your client is key and I believe that’s where the service at Ben Siggins separates us from other estate agents.

What do you do in your spare time?

C: I’d say that I’m particularly sporty. I love playing sport; predominately football. I also regularly eat out with family and friends; whether that be picnics, BBQs or at restaurants – I’ve already eaten out three times this week, and it’s only Wednesday! Again, that’s the beauty of Kent; there are so many places to go.

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Read more about our Estate Agents in Ashford here.

Ben Siggins rated Exceptional by the Best Estate Agent Guide!

The Property Academy in partnership with Right Move, brings you The Best Estate Agent Guide, a helpful guide to discover which estate agent is the best in your region.

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We have been awarded ‘Exceptional’ and ‘Excellent’ statuses in both Sales and Lettings by the Best Estate Agent Guide, ranking in the top 5% and 10% of 25,000 estate agents across the UK. After undergoing a grueling rating system by the Best Estate Agent Guide, comprising of an in-depth analysis of performance data and the biggest mystery shopping review process ever undertaken in the property industry, we were among just 87 branches to achieve an exceptional rating – a huge achievement for us as a team.

Our expert team of estate agents here at Ben Siggins, demonstrated a market-leading performance in our approach to client satisfaction and an outstanding level of service and care towards potential and existing clients. We are proud to have been recognised for our core values in offering a more professional yet personal approach to the selling and letting process in order to provide the best customer service for our clients whilst striving for fantastic results.

We are proud to offer selling, letting and renting services within the Kent region with branches in Maidstone, Ashford, Kings Hill and Gillingham. At Ben Siggins we appreciate that buying a house is one of the most expensive decisions you’ll ever make, that’s why we work closely with you to understand your wants and needs and only showcase the right properties to the right buyers. We build a relationship with our clients on a foundation of honesty, trust and interest so you feel like a unique individual rather than just a number whilst working with us.

We would like to thank you for all your support in helping us achieve these tremendous awards with the Best Estate Agent Guide and will continue to strive to offer the best service and care for our clients!

If you’re interested in selling, letting or renting your property with us, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

 

Q&A with Sandra!

sandra-ben-sigginsHere, the newest member of the Ben Siggins team, Sandra Trent MARLA, Lettings Manager at Ben Siggins Estate Agents, reveals how she made her way up the ranks to provide clients with a first-class, knowledgeable service.

Please provide some information on your professional background

S: I have had a varied working life, mainly in sales of some kind or another, and came to work in the property business 15 years ago as a Negotiator within a large corporate company. During this time, I was promoted to Manager and then Operations Manager, plus I studied and passed my ARLA qualifications. After gaining extensive experience I decided to make the move to an independent agency where I can use all the knowledge gained plus combine it with excellent customer service. This is how I came to be here at Ben Siggins.

What do you enjoy most about working in the property industry?

S: I have always had a passion for property, home furnishings, and DIY so it just seems natural for me to be in this industry. Lettings Regulations and Legislation is constantly changing and evolving keeping me on my toes and ensuring that I am kept busy. I enjoy being part of the process in helping a person to find and move to their new home.

What would be your dream home? S: A cottage in a village with a stream at the end of the garden and room for a vegetable plot and chickens.

What is your favourite part of Kent and why?

S: I really like where I am now, between Maidstone and Ashford, because I can walk out of my door and within a couple of minutes be strolling along the Pilgrims Way or a short drive can take me to several good towns, Leeds Castle or to the Kent coast for a fish and chip supper.

When it comes to customer service, what do you pride yourself on?

S: It is important to me that all of my clients believe I have treated them with fairness, have taken the time to listen and have answered any questions they may have. Communication is vital to ensure the best customer service.

What do you find is the most common misconception with customers looking to rent a property?

S: All applicants need to undergo reference checks and be approved before they can begin a tenancy which includes credit checks, employment, and previous landlord checks so it is important to understand that if there are any problem areas they are unlikely to be able to rent a property. It is not uncommon for a vendor to sell their property to enable them to clear debts but then find it difficult to rent a property due to issues on their credit file.

In your view, what makes Ben Siggins stand out from other agents in the area?

S: All members of our team go the extra mile to ensure that our properties are shown at their best with great photography, floorplans, and descriptions including details about the surrounding area. This helps us to stand out from the crowd and ensure plenty of interest so we can match the right applicants to the right property.

When you are not letting properties, what do you like to do in your spare time? S: I love to get creative making dresses for my gorgeous granddaughters or growing veggies in my garden. I also take time to relax and blow out the cobwebs by walking in the countryside or along the Pilgrims Way and like to drive with the roof off my funky Fiat 500.

If you were not a lettings agent, what would you see yourself doing?

S: Dressmaking has always been a passion of mine so I could see myself as a dressmaker in an exclusive bridal boutique. Alternatively, I’d be in a pair of overalls and wellies making my version of ‘The Good Life’.

How do you anticipate the lettings market to perform over the next 12 months?

S: The lettings market has been fluid and has grown consistently for a number of years but whilst there seem to be fewer investors buying property to let now than in recent years, we still have a good number of new clients coming to Ben Siggins mainly through recommendations from other happy landlords. It goes to prove that if we continue to offer great value for money and excellent service, our lettings business will increase and outperform our competitors.

If you would like some advice on selling, buying or letting your property, or if you’re looking to embark on a career in the property industry, contact one of our branches!

Ben Siggins Estate agents Maidstone (01622) 524110, Estate Agents Gillingham (01634) 581207, Estate Agents Kings Hill (01732) 424091 or estate agents Ashford (01233) 646752 and speak to one our expert estate agents today!

Issu’s best letting agency in Maidstone goes to?

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View Awards

"When Ben came round and valued my property he explained in detail all the procedures, informed me of all the sites my property would be on."

– Sharon

"They went out of their way to help which should have been the job of our agent who we constantly had to chase."

– Colin Brackstone

"Ben made sure the photos were excellent, which is what really sold the property"

– Anchusa

"I was particularly impressed with the weekly updates from Ben and Dan detailing the number of 'hits' that my property had attracted on the big property search engines"

– Sarah

"I hope to be buying from you next year and will recommend you to future householders and tenants. Thank you Mr Siggins."

– Joe B
Maidstone
Call:

01622 524110

Email:

matthew@bensiggins.co.uk

Address:

29 Pudding Lane,
Maidstone,
Kent,
ME14 1PA

Gillingham
Call:

01634 581207

Email:

mark@bensiggins.co.uk

Address:

227 Canterbury Street
Gillingham
Kent
ME7 5XB

Kings Hill
Call:

01732 424091

Email:

ben@bensiggins.co.uk

Address:

26 Kings Hill Avenue
Kings Hill
Kent
ME19 4UA

Ashford
Call:

01233 646752

Email:

ben@bensiggins.co.uk

Address:

2 Market Buildings
Godinton Road
Ashford
Kent
TN23 1JA

Maidstone
Call:

01622 524110

Email:

matthew@bensiggins.co.uk

Address:

29 Pudding Lane,
Maidstone,
Kent,
ME14 1PA

Gillingham
Call:

01634 581207

Email:

mark@bensiggins.co.uk

Address:

227 Canterbury Street
Gillingham
Kent
ME7 5XB

Kings Hill
Call:

01732 424091

Email:

ben@bensiggins.co.uk

Address:

26 Kings Hill Avenue
Kings Hill
Kent
ME19 4UA

Ashford
Call:

01233 646752

Email:

ben@bensiggins.co.uk

Address:

2 Market Buildings
Godinton Road
Ashford
Kent
TN23 1JA

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