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ALAN'S ANGST: Wave goodbye to double standards

In the first of a new e-newsletter series about agency angst, Alan Howick, director of Harlow-based Howick & Brooker, shares his frustration with local touting practices.

If I had a pound for every client who’s asked me about the grubby bits of paper and begging letters they keep having stuffed through their letter boxes by rival firms, I’d be a rich man. "Are they really that desperate?,” asked one longstanding client. Spot on, I say - desperate measures and greed combined.

It infuriates me when so-called pillars of our industry go on in the trade papers about the importance of professionalism and raising standards while instructing their spotty sales youngsters to run around town knocking on doors of vendors who have already instructed agents - often us. They present empty promises, which do little more than misguide innocent vendors into thinking there are millions of buyers just waiting to view their home registered with their firm.


Property ombudsman Christopher Hamer noted his concerns about unsolicited approaches in his Q3 report last year. He said: "It has been the practice of a number of my member agents to seek business by putting notes through the doors of property for sale with other agents and handwritten message etc." You know the rest.

TPOS states that touting is against its rules, but what has it done about it?


We our own worst enemies, since this behavior is doing little more than encourage the general public to start to think we are an illiterate bunch of spotty teenagers with pet spiders, doing little more than distribute hand-written notes to drum up business, which does little more than create false hope of riches for vendors. It’s unfair, and it has to stop.

I’m not at all saying that I’m above this approach to business, but rather than be underhand about it, I believe I am respectful in the way I make a concerted decision to avoid criticizing or defaming rival firms while reminding vendors that there is an alternative agency choice if they should want one, and they are free to switch if they so desire. So, there’s no false promises, no underhand tactics, just the facts.


It’s time for us all to work together and show the public that we have hearts, and not the tainted ones that some of us are determined to portray at any cost to the future image of the industry.

Got a gripe? Email it now to .

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