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Bridgefords Countrywide

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  • More interested in selling you financial products
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      02.10.2006 17:10
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      ANy other estate agent will give you same end feeling but lighter on the purse

      My experience of Bridgfords.
      They charge fees insted of commission rates.
      They try to charge you for a fee in their "sliding scale" based on the initial "valuation" of your property.

      Say for instance they value your house at 200 K. They will charge you this fee even if they sell your house for 150K.

      Most other agents will go for a % based on Final sale.

      Bridgfords do not which means they can keep pressuriisng you to sell low in the knowledge they still get the high fee.

      They charge too high and they are over rated for what the say they do. They go ona and on and on about how many hits your house has had on thier website. However if you convert this huge activity to who is actually making an appointment there is a huge difference.

      My experience was the feeling of being ripped off.

      They deneigrate your home to the point you feel grateful somone is going to buy it and they charge way too high.

      I woudl reccomend any esyeate agent other than Bridfrods...none of them are veryy good but at least the others are a lot chepaer.

      Anyone with similar experiences of Bridgfords please email me.....

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        24.05.2002 00:19
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        • "More interested in selling you financial products"

        Through my recent traumas of moving house I have had experience with Bridgfords from the perspective of both buyer and seller. If you're planning to sell your property, then I hope my opinion on Bridgfords will give some useful pro's and con's when choosing an estate agent. If you're buying then obviously you don't have any choice in who is marketing the home that you plan to buy, but this op still contains some important tips on what the buyer should look out for when dealing with Bridgfords. Bridgfords has 49 branches in the North West of England and is owned by the Countrywide Estate Agents Group which is the country's largest chain of estate agents. (Countrywide are perhaps better known for owning Bairstow Eves which covers much of Britain). My experiences relate to only three Bridgfords branches, so there will obviously be variations in the way each individual branch does business, but nevertheless I have a learned knowledge of Bridgfords' overall company policies, pricing, and position in the marketplace. ---SELLING THROUGH BRIDGFORDS--- I had already decided to sell my house earlier this year, when I started receiving letters from my local branch of Bridgfords addressed to "The Occupier". These letters were the equivalent of telesales cold-calling. They asked if I was considering selling my house because they had a specific cash buyer, who they named in the letter, who had expressed interest in my house. If I was interested in a quick, convenient sale then I should call their branch manager for a free appraisal. I was highly suspicious about these letters, especially when it transpired that several streets in my area had been sent the same letter quoting the same buyer's name. While I should not accuse Bridgfords of inventing their mystery buyer, it does seem rather odd that this character felt unable to enquire about the houses already for sale on my road through other
        estate agents. My first grumble about Bridgfords is their inflexibility when it came to making an appointment for a free appraisal outside the hours of 9 to 5. Like many people I have a full time job and I don't like wasting my holiday allowance because people won't see me at evenings or weekends. After all, Bridgfords were trying to sell me a service - for which they were charging a pretty tidy fee - but were not prepared to work one hours' overtime in the evening to potentially earn a couple of grand. I would work one hours' overtime for a tenner! Two other smaller, local estate agents were quite happy to come round and see me in the evening or on a Saturday. Bridgfords' "9 till 5" mentality did not give me a good early impression. Eventually I took an afternoon off work and the branch manager (who I shall call Mr Bridgfords) did a full appraisal on my house. He was very flattering about my house, and kept insisting that it was exactly what his mystery cash buyer was looking for. He then launched in to an hour-long sales pitch about Bridgfords. To be honest, this sales pitch bored me to death and it wasn't what I wanted to hear. OK, so Bridgfords had excellent advertising coverage, which I did not doubt in the first place, but I had been led to believe that they already had a buyer lined up anyway, so wasn't this all academic? Whenever I asked more about the mystery cash buyer, Mr Bridgfords became increasingly vague and evasive. The sting in the tail came when Mr Bridgfords finally got round to talking money. He wanted 2 percent as a fee, which was around £2000 + VAT = £2350. This was more than double the fee being charged by two local estate agents who had already quoted me. "But you won't have to spend anything on advertising my house if you've got a buyer lined up," I pleaded with Mr Bridgfords, "so can't you reduce your fee?" "Sorry, i
        t's a fixed fee, company policy." I could not justify parting with £2350 when another local estate agent was charging £850 inc. VAT. There was no way I was signing up with Bridgfords. Mr Bridgfords took on the persona of a double glazing salesman as he overstayed his welcome in my house, desperate to convince me that it was worth paying the extra. He argued that Bridgfords can reach more buyers than anyone else through a variety of advertising, including their Rightmove website which gets a million hits a week. These are impressive facts which I do not dispute, but with the housing market in such a healthy state I felt that any estate agent could have sold my house with minimal effort, and the fee was therefore the decisive factor. I feel that the letters sent out by Bridgfords ..."we have a cash buyer waiting for your property"... are nothing more than a sales hook. Once they've got your signature on the sole agency agreement, they're guaranteed to get their money whether it takes a day or a year to sell your house. And now for the interesting bit. (In fact if an estate agent tries to woo you with similar sales tactics, the next paragraph is crucial.) My neighbour, three doors along, had the same sales pitch from Mr Bridgfords and decided to sign up to his services. My neighbour had also been attracted by the promise that Bridgfords had a cash buyer (the same mystery person, apparently) waiting to snap up her house. So my neighbour's For Sale sign was put up, and she waited, and waited. After a month she asked Bridgfords why the mystery buyer hadn't been to have a look. They said he had "changed his mind" about the area in general. And she was then stuck in a legally binding sole agency agreement which meant that Bridgfords would get their money whatever happened. Did the mystery buyer ever exist in the first place? Only Bridgfords will know that. ---BUYI
        NG WITH BRIDGFORDS--- As Bridgfords are very dominant in the North West, I have had many dealings with them during my search for the perfect house. I am afraid to say that these dealings have not been very good. Experience 1: I arranged a viewing of an empty house in the evening. Somebody from Bridgfords was supposed to show me round the house. I waited outside the house in the rain for 15 minutes but nobody turned up. What annoyed me more, however, was the lack of any apology from Bridgfords. When I phoned up the next day to ask why nobody had turned up, they said they had been "too busy". Experience 2: I arranged a viewing of another house, only to find that the man from Bridgfords had invited five interested buyers round at exactly the same time in order to whip up an auction-like atmosphere. I found this most unpleasant, and so did the other people. The idea was to make everyone feel excited, as if they were competing for the house. It was a very deliberate sales ploy by Bridgfords which I thought was unfair. If you ever arrange to view a house and find yourself in the same situation, I would suggest that you politely ask them if you can come back and have a proper look round another time. Experience 3: A particularly pushy sales negotiator from Bridgfords decided that he was going to turn my offer on a house into a mortgage-selling opportunity. He said that he could guarantee that my offer would be accepted if I agreed to him acting as broker to get me a new mortgage. This was most annoying as I did not need a new mortgage, I was very happy with my existing lender. Furthermore, he wanted to sell me products like a buy-to-let mortgage and an endowment plan, which were things I did not want. Annoyingly, I was blocked from buying the house I wanted because I would not remortgage with Bridgfords. I then learned from a rival estate agent that the Bridgfords sales negotiatior stood to make a
        huge commission on selling me financial products, and his trick was to go halves on this commission with the vendor, on condition that the vendor accepted my offer and nobody else's. I'm not sure about the legalities of all this, but it seems highly dubious to me, and it's not really the kind of behaviour you want from an estate agent. As well as trying to sell me mortgages, Bridgfords also tried to sell me surveying and legal services. Although, to their credit, they were honest enough to tell me that the services they sold were "amongst the most expensive on the market". Once again, I should stress that I am not trying to tar all branches of Bridgfords with the same brush. However their sales negotiators do seem to be highly pushy, persuasive salesmen who you would more associate with the used car trade. There seems to be an underlying pressure on Bridgfords' staff to push customers into buying financial products. Sometimes this stands in the way of actually selling property, which should be their primary role as estate agents. Every time I phoned Bridgfords to enquire about a property they were selling, they somehow twisted the conversation onto the subject of my mortgage. In the end it became tiresome having to turn down their mortgage advice every time I enquired about a house. It was recently announced that the Office of Fair Trading has launched a major inquiry into the behaviour of estate agents, after consumer complaints went up by 25% in the past year. I hope they investigate the way in which Bridgfords push financial products on to customers. ---GENERAL--- There is no doubt that Rightmove.co.uk, the property website run by Bridgfords' parent company, is a massive nationwide database and is a very valuable tool to anyone wishing to sell or buy. However, a word of warning here. I have read articles in internet trade journals which make a rather alarming claim
        about property websites such as Rightmove and Assertahome. Many estate agents only use these websites as a secondary form of advertising. In other words they only post the houses which are proving harder to sell. If you really want the pick of the best houses which come on the market, you have to phone or visit the branch every day. This particular point has been proven in my own experience: I have been notified by "auto email alert" to a new house for sale on Rightmove, only to find that the house had been on sale for four weeks and was already under offer. You think you're the first to know but actually you're the last. Bridgfords also have a fortnightly newsletter, entitled "Stop Press" which they send out to a large mailing list of house-hunters. The newsletter is very comprehensive and a good idea in principle although by the time it's printed and mailed out, the best houses have been sold. If you really want the best pick of the crop as soon as they come on the market, then YOU have to do the hard work, and that invariably means phoning every estate agent in your chosen area, every day. Don't rely on them to phone you. This isn't one big criticism of Bridgfords. I have no doubt that their advertising coverage is excellent. Their Rightmove website and fortnightly newsletter clearly show that Countrywide, their parent company, has invested big sums of money to make them market leaders. If you want to sell your house, I'm not suggesting that you rule out Bridgfords. They will do their best to sell your house for a good price. Just be aware of their tricks (or should I say 'tactics') and remember that, as with any estate agent, their first objective is to get their commission. And be aware that they are probably amongst the most expensive estate agents in your area. I hope this has been useful. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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          23.05.2001 05:19
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          I have worked for the Halifax and you may want to read that opinion if you are looking for an Estate Agents. As I said I have worked in Estate Agency and am very familiar with most of them. When in Estate Agency I carried out mystery shoppping excercises at most of the big name agents and so know the good and bad of most of them. I decided to pick Bridgefords as I have quite a bit to say about them - good and bad. I will start with their good points. First of all they are extemely pro-active and will do all in their power to sell your property for or to you which I will go into later. The reason they are so proactive is because they are commission based. I had a friend who worked for them and earned over £3,000 one month and this is working in Bury, Lancs. Their advertising is also upfront and designed to sell property - fast. Their follow up tactics can become slightly pressurised as can their valuations this all goes back to the commission. As for the bad points wellas stated before they are commission based great if you are trying to sell through them as they will do anything in their power to sell it but this will work against you if buying. They will push properties that are not right for you at you as well as a variety of financial services. Basically they will say anything and everything to sell you a property you will also find that when they carry out a valuation that they have sold lots of property in your area and at much higher prices than you would expect- beware. Due to the rates of commission that they pay their agents it is made up for in their fees their typical average fee is £1200 compared to around £695 from the agents I surveyed. Another final point worth pointing out is that they are owned by the same company as Bairstowe Eves and theya re almost identical in everything apart from name.

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            08.08.2000 21:12
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            We used Bridgfords late last summer to sell our first home. They had a high profile locally with many houses that were for sale displaying their signs. They continually advertised in the local newspapers and had a shop in a prominent part of the local centre. Other aspects in there favour were a no sale no fee arrangement and they were a member of "countrywide assured" which they told us was the largest chain of estate agents in the country. Looking back I would not say that anything stood out in there favour exceptionally well. On the valuation they were an hour late, but very apologetic. The sales patter was very smooth and we were sucked in to signing up with them. They also tried very hard to make us appointments with there own financial advisors which we later found out were tied to a few banks and building Societies only. Bridgfords do have a strict policy for viewing and only allow people who they have financially vetted to view your home. This is designed to cut down on time wasters and seemed to work very well. We eventually managed to sell our home through Bridgfords, but on recollection do think that the fee was a bit on the high side for the amount of work that they applied to advertising and selling the home.

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