Show me the money ...
A really famous saying from the movie Jerry Maguire.
So what do we all look for in value for money? To each and everyone of us this will be different and have changing connotations.
What was estate agency and how was it born? Estate agency in its truest form is an agent, who is instructed by a property seller/lessor, to act in accordance with their clients explicit requests and instructions, under a set of guidelines. This evolved into offices rather than single practitioners and then into companies - with the formulation of such, came the very obvious dilution of action towards client, swinging instead to the best interests of the companies in question.
With this expansion and continuing disregard for humans within the process, came the highlighted need for written terms of engagement, changing into written contracts that morphed from being sole agency agreements, without much bite to them, to full blown sole selling rights contracts, literally binding 'you' to pay the agent - regardless how the buyer was found. Doesn't sound like the agent has much empathy for their client now does it?
So where does the money come from? Well, the buyer (in a round about way) - they are the ones who are buying the property. The agent is held accountable for their performance in the form of such things as key performance indicators (KPI's), targets and in a lot of cases bonuses - with some companies using all three. You're trying to sell your home, something you have created and lovingly looked after, something full memories and emotions, and the agent is merely being paid to carry out transactions - not just yours, but a whole host of them.
Now you can see why during this turbulent uprising - many buyers & sellers started to get hold of each other and create deals based upon mutual respect and confidence in themselves.
When looking at Estate agency or Letting agency for that matter - users of each respective service are finding that their approach is changing - they no longer see a service or chargeable variant of such, with friends family and colleagues all having stories or feelings of woe towards the so called profession - they continue the avenue of direct communication.
It all becomes rather worrying when you look at the situation. The agent will only sell/rent what they have, therefore in having more properties, their chances of being paid rise, so they gain as many instructions as they can in order to maintain performance. The agent will not necessarily take care/attention towards their clients, and lets be honest, they are more likely to deal with the 'squeaking door' first. So if you are laid back or in no hurry, or worryingly, polite and courteous, and do not pick up the phone or email them (which is almost certainly what they need) - your sale or let will be left in the 'long grass'.
By looking at this - your property's chance of a let/sale is now in the lap of the gods - not really what you would expect from a professional of any description. It is no wonder that statistically 6 out of 10 properties are sold by a secondary agent, where the first has failed. Scary when you think that this is usually after 5 months, in some cases shorter but most not, as the contracts are usually around 21 weeks tie in.
Therefore we are all the founders of our own destiny and when looking at 'true value' - we no longer see such time scales or practices, along with the idea of paying for something up front before performance has been noted as anything near good value.