Home seller secretly films 11 agent valuation appointments

Home seller secretly films 11 agent valuation appointments


  • Agent dirty tricks
  • Most valuations are actually too low
  • 3 month lock-in contracts are dead


  • Shows all agents are not equal (but most will lose you money)
  • Shows what to look out for in the agents who come round
  • Shows what can happen when you get it right

This documentary by Charlie Lamdin (amateur film maker, YouTuber, home-schooling parent, seaplane pilot and founder of BestAgent) was filmed when his colleague, Samantha, was thinking of selling her home, a 3 bedroom semi-detached house near Taunton in Somerset.

Charlie jumped at the chance to perform an experiment to prove that although most estate agents will lose you money when selling your home (just look at the valuations provided, compared with the price that was achieved) there are always a few who are better than the rest.

The problem is there is no reliable way to identify them, without meeting them all in person, (at least all the ones who accept the condition that no lock in contract will be signed).

In this film, Samantha telephones all 18 of her local agents, 11 of whom accept her invitation to attend the property to meet her, give their opinion of what the property is worth (they’re almost all wrong, one agent even says that she’ll never get the price she did get) and pitch their services.

She whittles the shortlist down from 11 to 3 based on the 2 days of meetings, and finally picks one.

The film goes on to show the whole story of the sale, and eventually reveals the successful agent, who was from an estate agency brand that Sam said she would “never have called”.

“We made this film to demonstrate that picking 3 agents at random is always a bad idea, and is the main reason why most people have such a terrible experience selling their home” explains Charlie Lamdin.

He continued “The end result of this experiment is that Sam now has life-changing opportunities. It also shows that most agents, even the nice ones, don’t fully understand that their job is not just to sell a home, but to achieve the highest possible price for it, in a short period of time. Only 3 of the 11 agents who attended actually demonstrated an understanding of their job and had a credible proposal on how to achieve the highest price. The other 8, while (almost) all very nice people, had nothing to differentiate their approach. Unfortunately this is the reason why agents have a reputation for ‘just chucking it on the internet and waiting for enquiries’. Many agents do nothing more than exactly that, and somehow scrape a living doing it, while underselling their client’s properties, if they sell them at all.

Sam, the owner of the property, said: “It just goes to show that the whole debate on what kind of agent to use, corporate v independent, online v high street, one-man band v team, is irrelevant and a red-herring. None of these are considerations, it just boils down to finding the individual person, the human being, who knows how to deliver.”

She continued “It also shows that taking local For Sale boards and online reviews into account is a distraction. You just need to find that person you click with, who demonstrates a real understanding of what you want, why you want it, and knows how to get it for you.”

“I found all the brochures, presentations and marketing materials deadly dull and unhelpful. Charlie told me to only focus on the person, are they listening to me, do they understand what I want and do I trust them to get it. He said just disregard everything else.”

​​This experiment was filmed to illustrate the approach BestAgent takes to helping sellers select agents. The BestAgent website never compares or recommends any agent.

It offers all agents an equal opportunity to engage with a seller, at no charge, meaning there’s no barrier for any agent. Agents are invited to introduce themselves personally (ignoring brand) by video message which is then sent to the seller via BestAgent, a bit like Airbnb allows messaging between hosts and guests while retaining privacy.

The sellers can then choose which people they feel most comfortable inviting to their home for a valuation, whatever brand they may work at. By stripping out all brand advantage or disadvantage, it makes the sellers choice based primarily on the personal interaction.

In its first year of use BestAgent has found that approximately half of the 20 agents invited each time do not feel comfortable sending a video message.

Of the remaining 10, around half fail to engage and folllow up, and usually 4 or 5 agents stand out in their keenness to meet the clients, and their confidence in themselves and their offering.

So far there is absolutely no correlation between corporate or independent, online or high street, solo operators or companies in terms of who is being selected. It boils down to the calibre of the individual agent, regardless of where they work.

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