‘Even estate agents hate estate agents’, claim

You might expect a respected estate agent to leap to the defence of his profession against the regular abuse it receives from the wider public.

But that’s not the approach London estate agent John Horton has decided to take.

In fact, he believes that many estate agents don’t even like each other and he has set out his theory as to why online.

Horton, who runs Horton and Garton, an independent agency in Hammersmith, Chiswick and Shepherd’s Bush, said many agents are guilty of a litany of sins that he finds himself unable to defend.

Among the worst of them, he claims, are: letters through the door asking home owners if they are thinking of selling; fake reviews and social media followers; unprofessionalism; and indifference.

He has a particularly dim view of cold calling, which he describes as “the most unashamed and desperate trick in the book”.

He says: “Here is my honest opinion: if an agency has time to send their employees out to harass you on your own doorstep, they’ve got a lot of time on their hands!”

He’s also no fan of “shiny suits”, “cheap shoes”, agents losing keys, forgetting to lock doors, or eating at their desks, among other offences.

He continues: “With over twenty years of experience in property I’ve seen every shady, and frankly desperate, tactic in the book but door knocking really gets my back up.

“Can you believe our clients right here in Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush are regularly harassed by random agents on their own doorsteps?

“Despite being one of ‘the good guys’, I won’t defend the underhanded tactics of the competition – even estate agents hate estate agents.”

To read the full blog post, click here.


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  1. mattfaizey

    Victor Meldrew Lives !!!!!

  2. surrey1

    Wouldn’t disagree with any of that. There’s a type.

  3. chris.perring

    Spot on overview of what is fast becoming a drive to even lower standards within an industry already being taken over by un professional activities of the growing few after a fast buck any way they can get it….

  4. ArthurHouse02

    One also might suggest that if he is available to contact Eye is slag off other estate agents, he also has too much time on his hands

  5. GPL

    I haven’t read the chap’s Blog to be fair, however I must be Victor McMeldrew then….

    ”Touting Letters” sent to Owners/Vendors already Selling with another agent, where Lowlife Touting Agent claims to have a “special/secret” buyer!? ……I despise Lowlife Agents that resort to that slithery tactic!

    My respone remains the same “Phone LTA and let them know I’m happy to write to all their clients and let them know that instead of getting on with marketing/selling their particular home, their LTA is spending time falsely claiming they have buyers for other peoples homes!” …..I’m always happy to enclose said LTA’s Touting Letter as proof of their diverted efforts which should instead be applied to their own Vendors. LTA’s stutter/mumble/make excuses however I always assure them that “I will find you, and I will letter your clients!” (Liam McNeeson Meldrew I think?)

    Directly Touting fellow Agents with a Touting Letter is the Lowest form of behaviour in our industry however for me it marks out the guilty as Cheap “Salespeople” willing to do anything to line their slimey pockets.

    I’m done now….. heading off to take-on 2 Properties For Sale. Beware LTA’s!!



  6. AgentV

    Since I started in agency we have never done targeted letters, but our vendors are being targeted by corporate Agents more and more as time goes on.

    The funniest is when they include a sample of their 2D black and white floor plan stating ‘Does your agent give you floor plans like these’……no, but we do do 3D colour floor plans on every property as standard!

    We haven’t lost anyone to targeting for years, but it does feel that they go after us more and more, because unlike other agents, we don’t retaliate in kind!

  7. AgencyInsider

    Door knock touting is the pits. It is the last resort of the desperate loser and because it overtly or covertly pressurises a vendor it should be banned.

  8. CountryLass

    Think the best touting letter I ever found was one that had a teabag in it saying ‘have a drink on me whilst you consider changing agents’!

    I hated being sent out canvassing when I first started, mainly because my manager always seemed to want us to do it in crappy weather… And being told as a young 20year old woman to knock on peoples door to they and get them to let me in to pitch our service? H*ll no!

    1. AgentV

      Wouldn’t it be great if you never had to worry about prospecting again….because all your clients just came to you for an appraisal?
      Thats what we are working on!

  9. Richard Rawlings

    Why all the self-righteous vitriol – and what’s wrong with prospecting? Indeed most estate agency success plans around the world put a strong emphasis on direct mailing, cold calling and door knocking. Because it works!  In my humble opinion too many agency owners see themselves as estate agents first, and businesspeople second. These same agents tend to be poor at self-promotion and even poorer at closing. There seems to be an archaic sense that “professionalism” means “just being there for the client, and not being salesy”. But being good is just not good enough to generate new business in a competitive environment.
    Banks, insurance companies, gas, electricity, broadband suppliers, pizza restaurants, and a host of other businesses, employ direct marketing approaches to get people to switch to them. We may not like having stuff through our door, but it does generate business. And as a business person, that’s what counts! The issue now is WHAT you actually send and WHAT you actually say. Simply asking for business without having earned the right to it is a hiding to nothing and will not enhance your reputation. Nor will brand awareness without some meaning behind it. But add something of value, expert opinion and a hint of charm, consistently and repeatedly, and you might just win friends and influence people.
    Whatever you drop through someone’s door, the acid test is three questions:
    1.     If I were to give this to the homeowner personally, would they thank me for it?
    2.     Is the content well-written, educating, informed, interesting?
    3.     Do they look forward to receiving the next one?
    Have a great day!

    1. AgencyInsider

      No issue with leafleting and direct mail. But very surprised to see you advocate  door knocking. Just because ‘it works’ does not mean it is desirable.

  10. MrIndependent

    As an agent that has worked on the sales side of both corporate and independent estate agencies spanning 13 years, I agree with Mr Horton that there are plenty of disgusting human beings in our industry – however I would hasten to add that there are plenty of them in most industries, particularly sales based industries!! My personal opinion is that with regard to estate agency, most of these more gung ho and immoral types can be found in the corporates, as many documentaties over the years have found such as the BBC undercover visits to Foxtons in 2006! Cringeworthy viewing!!!

    I also feel door knocking should be left to the scum trying to shift overpriced windows and that this really should in 2018 be made an illegal form of selling, preying on the vulnerable to get your commission is nothing short of dispicable!!

    However I also agree to an extent with Mr Rawlings comments that we are ulimately business men and direct mailing to clients, done in the right way of course (usually on an individual basis where you have something genuine to say rather than mass mailed BS), does hold its merits still.

    I have been quite happy recently to write a letter to Mr Homeowner telling him how terrible his photographs are via PurpleBricks and how its very likely a reason he hasnt sold his property in nearly a year on the market, in addition of course to the fact PB probably got the instruction by overvaluing it byt circa £50k and now frankly dont care whether it sells or not!!!!

    Ultimately I have independent blood running through me, the service to my customers comes first and I do whatever it takes to get the best for them so that I can sleep soundly at night and my local reputation is as good as it can be…shame on those that prey on the weak or vulnerable, or manipulate those that dont fully understand their situation.

  11. Richard Copus

    Very surprised to hear this from Richard Rawlings!

    Of course you can do anything you like within the law, but it is important to most of us to have some form of professional standard and there is no doubt that the agents with the most professional approach get the best properties and the best clients.  If you want to aim for the gutter and shove handwritten notes through people’s doors saying “please contact us now we have someone who wants to buy your house” as one of the largest chains in the country does around us regularly, then you deserve what you get  –  and you only have to look in their window to see what that is!  (Of course such notes are in breach of the Ombudsman’s code, as is much door knocking, but there you go).

    1. AgentV

      We get that as well…often when the board has been up for less than 3 days.

      They post a letter through saying they have a buyer waiting.

      The Vendor usually laughs when we point out it is a ploy of desperation to get more stock….because the only way they could know it was for sale was through our marketing, so why would the buyer not just call us?

    2. Richard Rawlings

      Hi Richard.

      I certainly don’t advocate prospecting a property that has only just come onto the market, nor would I ever expect an agent to say they have a buyer when they don’t. Smart agents are way beyond this! I do believe that if the seller’s chosen agent has let them down, often by overpricing and then locking the seller into an unfair long period of sole agency, and then probably failing to keep in touch, then the seller should be made aware of these tactics and given the opportunity to start afresh before the property goes stale on the market.

  12. GeorgeHammond78

    Simple Truth: the good agents like each other but don’t like the scummy ones. The scummy agents like each other but don’t like the good ones. The good ones use ethical tactics to compete, the scummy ones are, well….. just scummy…..

  13. Richard Copus

    Hi Richard,


    Thanks for clarifying!  I agree that we are salesmen and professionals together.  The two are often difficult to match!


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