HR and training heads at two leading estate agencies have defended the industry’s training practices after research found that two-thirds of people who had recently sold a property thought their estate agents were “wide boys”.
A survey of 2,500 people by estate agency Wow also found nearly a quarter of sellers labelled their agent as “smarmy”, with many respondents mentioning “hair gel” and “shiny suits”.
UK house sellers spend £3.5bn in estate agency fees, according to the survey. More than 20% believed their agents appeared to be very young, and lacked the necessary training and experience to be dealing with large sums of money.
Sally Ohlson, director of training at London estate agent Douglas and Gordon (DNG), said because the estate agency industry was not entirely regulated, it opened the door for individual companies to set up shop and hire young agents, who were then unable to do their job properly.
“Training and recruitment procedures at DNG are rigorous and include psychometric profiling and three one-to-one interviews to ensure that we employ the right people,” Ohlson told Personnel Today.
Julie Webbe, HR director at agents Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, said she was “unsurprised” by the findings as many estate agents fitted the stereotypes.
“However, through our recruitment, training and development processes and rewards initiatives, we invest heavily in our staff to dispel this image,” she added.