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Things to avoid when choosing a South West London estate agent

We often talk about all the things to look for in an estate agent, but it’s also helpful to know what to avoid. Selling your home in South West London is exciting, stressful, and overwhelming – a mixture of all the emotions, really! Even if you’re not a first-time buyer, the enormity of the process can cause you to miss the warning signs when faced with a charming but not-so-scrupulous estate agent.



We often talk about all the things to look for in an estate agent, but it’s also helpful to know what to avoid. Selling your home in South West London is exciting, stressful, and overwhelming – a mixture of all the emotions, really! Even if you’re not a first-time buyer, the enormity of the process can cause you to miss the warning signs when faced with a charming but not-so-scrupulous estate agent.

Let's talk you through the red flags when it comes to choosing the best Richmond estate agent to sell your home.

South West London estate agent red flags

Unfortunately, you can’t trust every estate agent in South West London to give you the best service. It’s not that they’re all untrustworthy scoundrels out to fleece you, but some are more honest and competent than others.

Estate agents sell houses every day, so they already have a big advantage over their clients, who might only sell once or a handful of times in their lives. Most estate agents will use their expertise and experience to prioritise your best interests, but others have their own agenda – restricting contracts and an easy commission. Then they move on to the next seller: rinse, repeat.

The best way to identify and avoid the bad guys is to prepare and get wise to their games. From terrible communications to shady sales tactics, here are some tricks and undesirable behaviours to watch out for when looking for an estate agent in South West London.

It’s hard to get hold of them – even to book a valuation

It’s a cliché but communication really is key. It’s the estate agent's job to facilitate communications between all the parties involved, yet the sellers and buyers often find themselves doing the work themselves. As if you didn’t already have enough to worry about, you end up dealing with solicitors and chasing up the estate agent for any kind of response or update.

Check how an estate agent responds to your initial query, noting their responsiveness, communication style, and availability. If they fail at the first hurdle with poor communication, it’s never a good sign. You want to potentially give them business by booking a valuation, yet they can’t answer the phone quickly or return your calls?

If they’re not proactive and interested in engaging your business from your first interaction, they’ll be even worse down the line. On the flip side, be wary of estate agents who quickly book a valuation and promise you the world, only to go AWOL once they’ve secured your business in a long contract.

Bartlett & Partners prioritise communication with clients and put your interests at the heart of everything we do. Selling your house can be an all-consuming, sometimes nerve-wracking venture… and the last thing you need is to endlessly wait for replies and panic that your messages have disappeared into an abyss.

Everyone has different communication preferences, so we make sure we’re available via multiple channels, including WhatsApp. We’ll never fob you off with junior executives to pass on vague messages – you’ll have director-level access at all times. From initial conversations to completion day (and beyond), it’s our job to make communications as seamless and pain-free as possible.

They price based on square footage – not your home as a whole

Valuing a home isn’t about size alone. A realistic estimate of your home’s value is based on many factors, including location, condition, style, local amenities, and the current market. If an estate agent only provides a cursory glance at your house and bases the valuation on square footage and location alone, you should give them a miss.

Also, beware of Richmond and Teddington estate agents that deliberately overvalue your home to secure business and then drop the price later. You’ll know if your house has been overvalued if you’re not getting any offers or the offers you are getting are low. But by then you could be locked into a costly contract.

Don’t be afraid to ask the estate agent detailed questions about how they arrived at the initial valuation. A good estate agent won’t mind these questions and will happily provide insights into the property’s best features, potential issues, and possible solutions.

We use expert pricing strategies and thorough market research to ensure your property is valued appropriately. We always know the asking prices of similar houses for sale in Richmond as well as the final offers they are achieving.

If they’re rude to you, imagine what they’re like to potential buyers…

As a client, you should always feel like the most valued person when your estate agent talks to you. So if you spot any signs of rudeness, imagine how they could be treating potential buyers.

Do they use inappropriate language? How do they respond to your questions? If they’re dismissive, patronising, overbearing, or make you feel like an annoyance, opt for a better agent. Poor communication and a bad attitude can negatively affect your sale price, putting people off and making you dread every interaction.

Good South West London estate agents want their clients – both buyers and sellers – to feel comfortable. While it’s another day in the office for them, they understand that it’s a huge financial transaction (and a life-changing event!) for you. Bartlett & Partners value professionalism and long-lasting relationships so we always treat our clients with the highest level of respect.

They don’t have local knowledge of the South West London area

A South West London estate agent having expert knowledge of the area is a given, right? Well, you’d be surprised at how many estate agents don’t really know the neighbourhoods they operate in. Maybe they've only recently moved to this part of London or perhaps they’re junior members of a larger chain and have been assigned your house as one of many in a larger area.

When selling your home in South West London, you need to work with a local estate agent or one who knows the area like the back of their hand. While any estate agent can learn a checklist of local schools, medical centres, shops, parks, and transport links, they won’t intrinsically understand the character and heritage of the place. An estate agent needs to know the changes a place has been through to understand its appeal – particularly for clients who already live in the area and wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else.

The team at Bartlett & Partners live and work in the Richmond area. We love this beautiful corner of London, so we never get bored answering questions about it. We also know current market prices and the trends driving sales locally and nationally.

An estate agent that encourages you to ‘sugar-coat’ your home

Sometimes it’s tempting for estate agents to take advantage of homeowners and buyers' lack of market knowledge. They may tell you to be dishonest or choose to not disclose certain information about your home to get a better sale price.

It’s a sad but true fact that estate agents frequently rank among the least trusted professions in UK polls. The most recent Ipsos Veracity Index reported that only 28% of respondents trust estate agents. A huge part of that distrust stems from the underhand tactics estate agents use, such as hiding defects or failing to disclose information about properties.

Bartlett & Partners encourages you to fix any potential problems BEFORE putting your house on the market.

They don’t look the part – showing up poorly dressed

Don’t work with an estate agent who turns up looking sloppy. They should be representing not just themselves as the agent, but your home when it comes to selling. They need to look the part and be professional (although that doesn’t mean they need to be wearing suits).

If they show up looking messy the first time you meet, cut your losses. First impressions matter, so if they can’t make an effort the first time, you’ll know it’s never going to get better.

Darren and Kristian (Bartlett & Partners’ directors) personally conduct all of our South West London viewings. Although we aren’t your typical agents in full suits, pointy shoes, and slicked-back hair, we always look presentable (yet fairly relaxed compared to many other estate agents). For us, it’s important to dress in a similar way to our clients - so think shirts and chinos rather than strict business attire! It helps to make them more comfortable and us much more relatable.

Limited marketing or online presence – they post on Rightmove and hope for the best

Marketing your property is a huge task, but is your estate agent up to it? It’s not simply a case of displaying a few photos in the agency’s windows and website. Even if you’re posting on Rightmove, Zoopla and all the major platforms, you’re competing with countless other properties.

When buyers are confronted with pages of listings, they struggle to remember individual features, so yours needs to shine. How? Using exceptional photos, engaging descriptions and clear floor plans is a given, but virtual house tours and drone videography ensure all eyes are on your house.

And don’t limit yourself to property portals – the best Richmond, Twickenham and Teddington estate agents have an active social media presence and healthy following. If the marketing looks the part – like ours does – people will share the posts.

Your home is unique and deserves a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy. That’s why Bartlett & Partners offers the Prestige S.E.L.L.S package. The ‘E’ stands for ‘Exhibit’, and that’s what we do – we use professional photography and video production to attract your dream buyer. We also share and celebrate each listing on social media to a receptive audience of around 30k followers.

Avoid working with unprofessional South West London estate agents

Now you have some red flags to look out for, you can avoid unprofessional estate agents.

We believe cowboys belong in the Wild West, not on the leafy streets of Richmond in the guise of estate agents. That’s why we adhere to the highest standards of professionalism when selling your South West London house. You can trust Bartlett & Partners to deliver an excellent service, every time.

We deliberately limit our roster to 20 exclusive clients at a time, so each one can benefit from an unrivalled tailor-made experience. Our director-led approach provides incredible communication, local knowledge, experience, and marketing for a fast sale.

We’re a friendly duo, too! Why not contact us for a valuation and find out for yourselves?


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