Why is honesty still so rare?

The more I’m in this business, the more I seem to have mellowed to the nonsense that goes with it.  It’s no longer a shock for an agent, mortgage broker or solicitor to outright lie to me or one of my clients.  In fact, I’m pretty good at deciphering the nonsense to get the information I want now, so the lie is far less damaging.  It makes working in this job far easier for myself, but that surely doesn’t make it right that consumers have to keep putting up with it?

Estate agency can be such a massively valuable business, but it’s made so much harder to deliver when people are so wary of being ripped off or taken advantage of.  I just don’t understand it.  Why as an agent that is being paid a pretty handsome commission to sell a property would you do anything other than be honest with your client?

My thoughts behind why estate agency is struggling to be honest are:

  1. FEAR.  Agents can be pretty wimpy.  It’s not nice to deliver bad news, or even news that you know someone doesn’t wish to hear, but it’s definitely a lot better than being dishonest.  Everything comes out in the end, it’s just about how painless you wish to try and make it.  Lies simply make things worse.
  2. LACK OF KNOWLEDGE.  Let’s be honest, what do you think the level of expertise are of a lot of agents?  Do they know more about selling houses than you do?  Possibly not.  But guess what, they’d look pretty silly if you knew that, wouldn’t they?  So you get a shiny-suited façade that dodges the truth and helps nobody whatsoever. But at least the agent gets away without looking silly…. oh wait…..
  3. MONEY.  We’re dealing with a lot of money changing hands with a property transaction, so a good con can result in a lot of £ being made.  It’s bloody horrible, but it happens.  From day 1 I promised to myself to be honest all the time, so ask myself when advising clients “If this was your nan, what advice would you give her?”.
  4. SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST IDIOTS.  We all meet idiots when getting along with life and it’s no different when dealing with property.    Heck it’s probably worse when dealing with property.  The only thing you can do is brush it off and get on with it.  Easier said than done, mind.
  5. JEALOUSY.  You’re buying a house that the agent may simply not be able to afford.  They should be doing anything and everything to help the process along, but if there’s an underlying jealousy (and I see it more than you may think) then they may just be a hindrance more than a help………..


I think that if we had an industry that was entirely on the consumers side, it would force agents in to adopting better practice.  Fingers crossed, ay.

Happy selling

Simon Ward
Mr Green Estate Agents