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New ‘awards’ scheme for agents dishes out free badges for ‘top 1,000 firms’

The ‘top’ 1,000 estate agents in England and Wales are to be given free badges by the HomeOwners Alliance.

The 1,000 were emailed yesterday, chosen from 18,000, on the basis of information from estate agent comparison service Estateagent4me, a part of the HomeOwners Alliance.

The Alliance said that the top 1,000 could use the badge on their website and in marketing materials to show they are ranked as among the “very best agents in the country”.

It said that the award is based on impartial performance data and was thus “more meaningful than other types of awards, as they are self-selecting or based on criteria that are irrelevant to homeowners, such as whether the agent has bought a table at a dinner”.

It also said that the badge being free sets it apart from the British Property Awards, which charge a licensing fee of £199.

Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, said: “We want to take the chance and risk out of choosing an estate agent, and help homeowners choose one that is best suited for them based on their performance data rather than their sales patter.

“The ‘top performing estate agent’ badge should be a factor to help home sellers make an informed decision, whether it’s based on getting the highest asking price, selling quickest or how much they pay in fees.

“We hope that this scheme will help the top agents win more business. In turn, we hope this will lead to a home selling revolution, getting estate agents to move away from the hard sell or the lowest price, and instead compete on how well they serve homeowners.

“It is important that this is an objective scheme based on issues that matter to the consumer, rather than whether the agent has bought a table at an awards dinner.

“Sadly, one of the main reasons homeowners get in touch with us is because they get into problems with their estate agent. We hope this tool will get homeowners asking the right questions from the start.

“We know that estate agents are a critical part of the home selling process, so we’re pleased to be able to showcase and help the best ones.”

Yesterday, we tried to find the best estate agent in Fleet, Hampshire, using the HomeOwners Alliance tool on its site.

This lists the local top agents based on how likely they are to sell your home; the speed at which they are likely to sell it; how close they get to the asking price; and how much they charge.

Our search for the best estate agent in our local town yielded some odd results.

Seven were listed, at the top of which was Romans – not the local Romans, but a branch in Wokingham, Berkshire, described as eight miles away.

We were surprised at this, partly because Wokingham is over 11 miles away and partly because the Fleet branch of Romans was in second place.

The list of Fleet’s top seven agents also included Purplebricks in Shirley, near Southampton, described as 100.5 miles away (it’s actually about 43, but hardly local).

In fact, Fleet has not one but two genuine Local Property Experts of its own, in Jurgen Ciolek and Shaun Read.

We were also surprised to see at least one very strong local agent not in the list, and noted that Bridges had told the HomeOwners Alliance that it did not want its data used.

The full list of the 1,000 top estate agents in England and Wales is in the spreadsheet which can be downloaded below.

EA4Me top 1000

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