On the Hook? Off The Hook? Which is It to Be?

On the Hook? Off The Hook? Which is It to Be?

On the Hook.  Obligated.  Committed.  All-in.

What every estate agency looks for in a vendor.  What every vendor looks for in an estate agency.  I now pronounce you….

Were it so simple.

As business models go, no-sale no-fee is a pretty lousy deal for the estate agency.  The euphoria of an instruction can soon turn to realisation.

“Hey, these vendors aren’t serious. They’re only testing the market.”

And often, so it proves.  The agency thought the vendor ‘on the hook’. But for one reason, or another, they’ve wriggled free.

The fall-through estimate is 30+%, by all accounts.

A not inconsiderable amount of time and money wasted.

Some ill-informed industry experts would argue.  That this model necessarily increases the fee to each vendor.

A Fair Days Work For a Fair Days Pay counters that myopic view.

On the flip side, every vendor wants to think they’ve made a great choice of agency,  Based on a low fee.  Or a high valuation.  Or unmatched competence.

And at the beginning, the agency is ‘on the hook’. It has committed. It is all-in.

But, as with 30+% of vendors, the love affair lasts as long as it takes the agency to realise.  They’ve screwed up.

This isn’t the vendor they want to work with.  The valuation may have been a tad on the high side.  The fee a little low.

The vendor isn’t budging on that high asking price. And there’s dispiriting lack of interest from the market.  The warm glow of satisfaction on instruction is replaced.

By apathy.

The communication falls apart.  The home is ‘on the back-burner’.

This agency has bigger fish to fry.  And while they were ‘on the hook’ at the beginning.  Not anymore.

It’s clear that some agencies and some vendors prefer not being ‘on the hook’.  It absolves them of obligation.  If it sells great.  If it doesn’t sell, move on to the next.

Better still, if they can get paid a fixed-fee, up-front, for this mediocrity, so much the better.

From a vendors perspective.  What’s the least we can get away with?  Must we tidy up before the viewing? Freshen up the decor?  Improve the kerb appeal?  Make ourselves available?  Vendors that don’t care to learn about the process necessary to achieve a premium price.


Half-hearted commitment displays on both sides.

What, then. might the ideal relationship look like?

The agency is authentic and transparent.  What you see is what you get.  The agency communicates.


Because it said it would.

They follow their marketing plan and adjust expectations in line with market feedback.

They negotiate well.  They have meticulous attention to detail when progressing the sale.

The vendor trusts the agency.


Vendors are more inclined to accept the agency advice. More inclined to give the agency the benefit of doubt.  More likely to forgive mistakes.

And importantly, the agency will involve the vendor in potential issues.  Rather than firefight the problem in isolation.

Relational rather than transactional.

Vendors that don’t mind being ‘on the hook’ because they committed.  They have the best agency.

Agencies that don’t mind, either, being ‘on the hook’. They’re obligated to work in the best interests of their client.

Whatever it takes.

Because they have a great client.

These relationships take time and effort.

Not quick decision.

There is a certain irony, as I type this draft on the Hemingway app.

“The best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them.”

Ernest Hemingway

It’s a mistake to believe that people know all the facts before they choose.  Whether that be the vendor, or the agency.

But first, both must choose whether they are ‘on the hook’.

Or not.

Thanks, as always, for reading.  Need help when choosing a great estate agency?  email: [email protected]