Executive Assistant in Shirley, West Midlands
ProductiveIt was a full admin role, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This involved learning about the property industry in every aspect. However, my position was only temporary, whilst the work load was high.
Associate in Banbury, Oxfordshire
Not what it seems - Make sure you know what you're getting in toI can see why you would want to dive right in and apply to work for the fastest growing luxury/high end estate agency in the UK, especially when they're promising the potential to earn £100k+ a year; who wouldn't, right?
But, for any prospective future F&C 'Associates' or 'Partner Agents' - all of which are just grandiose titles that pluck at that heart string most estate agents have - the desire to have a job title that doesn't make you sound like an estate agent. But, unless you buy in at a licence level, I'm sorry to break it to you but that's all you are going to be, an estate agent.
A self employed one at that, too. Let that sink in a self employed, no basic salary, fully responsible for all of your own costs estate agent. The most significant cost they distract you from throughout the onboarding process is the desk rent; you read that right, not only are you self employed working under F&C you pay them for the privilege to do so.
How much you ask? Free for the first 6 months, but those months soon come and go and it then becomes £500 just to be able to sit at the desk working without a salary.
Worth it, surely? On their paper during their recruitment process where they run the numbers to show you how easy it is to hit £100k a year you will allow yourself to choose to believe it's possible, I did. So I won't hold it against you if you have, too.
You'll need to close 2/3 sales according to their numbers every month to hit this, the reality differs however, as their presumptive numbers are based on the idea that no one will ever quibble their 2.5% fee - £25k per million in fees on properties they tell you you'll have no trouble listing and selling.
Before you get too excited, The Property Guild - who own Fine & Country - will take 60% of that from you before you even see it. If you list and sell the house? You'll get the remaining 40%, however if you're doing the leg work to sell a client's property you'll only see 15% of the fees generated and the other agent who couldn't sell it will earn the other 25%.
So, be careful about working too hard to sell everyone else's listings, you're only doing them favours in the long run. The offices I worked in had 15 at the slowest times up to 30 at the busiest times. Bear in mind there were 2-4 sales agents all attempting to sell these houses, I hope you suddenly have a better idea of how slim the pickings really can be.
I was lucky, and worked hard - to the detriment of my relationship at the time - and I managed to generate £180k+ in pipeline fees for my efforts - just shy of half the office turnover by the way. Had I saw 40% of that land in my bank, I'd have been happy!
Who wouldn't want £72k for selling beautiful homes to happy clients? Even though that's c.£30k short of the claimed earnings I'd have let that slide. The only person getting rich off the back of that hard work was the office owner, who I won't name, and the F&C master licence holder who I will also not name as my bad experience was due to my own naive approach to this role, not just their exploitative natures.
One thing to bear in mind is that Fine & Country's seeming market dominance comes from having circa 300 offices - which isn't strictly true, as a lot of these offices are independent agents using the F&C brand to break in to the upper quartile sector of the rarefied £1m+ listings.
The reality is, there aren't as many £1m+ houses sold as people are led to believe, only 131 and 69 properties sold at £1m+ in the offices I worked at during my time with Fine & Country. A few sold by me, I admit, but the stark majority weren't even listed with us, let alone sold by us. So just make sure you know the reality of the luxury property market in your area before you make the jump.
With the likes of Savills and others in the estate agency Old Boys club charging a lot less than this, and having the gravitas deserved by brands that have survived the tests of time, securing 2.5% fee will be an arduous task; worse still, it can destroy any possibility of securing the listing once your potential client stops shouting/laughing/staring in disbelief at you if you negotiate down. Hardly a good impression to show them even you don't see the value in your own services.
Inbound leads are rare for listings as typically F&C are the second agent to market a property, so most of your potential listing leads will be generated by you, on foot - yes, on foot - as you venture out in all weathers to deliver a magazine (that you pay for yourself) demonstrating F&C's listings UK wide; the training will train you to pitch it as the UK's most read property magazine, but it is at it's core a catalogue of a variety of listings.
Oh, and if any potential owner wants their house in the magazine? They'll have to stump up £500-1k for the Gold Marketing Pack for the privilege and an additional £250-500 to get a double page spread.
The office often devolves in to a literal shark feeding frenzy for any inbound enquiries to view - so I suggest you give your clients your direct mobile number, otherwise another agent will try to sell to your prospects without you knowing. In reality, this should lead to a fee split, but you can probably guess by now that this seldom if ever happens.
This fighting for viewings happens as no one has exclusivity on their own listings or even prospects most of the time. Listings or buyers appears to be the reserve of my office owners or office partner and others in the clique.
I was told I would have dedicated postcodes only I would go out to list properties in, but then the office owner decided that he wanted those knowing I'd sell them anyway and get the lions share to himself.
I had a much better experience in my second office, it was a sleepy outpost of an office but the team there were great, had I started my time at F&C there? I'd have probably maintained my enthusiasm for the role and ground it out there as the people I worked with were a delight,a stark contrast to the first office where only one colleague Saul was someone I could trust. The rest wouldn't have taken the chance to do you know what to me should I have found myself on fire.
It all began to come to an unceremonious end when I was shoved out of my first office because I refused to just work for 5% whilst the office owner told me to my face that there wasn't enough money to pay me more - bear in mind, I had personally generated him £180k in fees within 5 months of working there, so he was willing to lie to me and attempt to put leverage on me to take a huge pay cut, something he had to violate my contract to achieve. A very, very unscrupulous individual.
My second office owner was delightful, a genuinely kind and caring and nurturing individual, I left this office due to the market slowing down and the stress of the role ceasing to be financially viable led to a breakdown in my personal performance leading to me parting amicably with the team there.
So, you will meet all sorts at Fine & Country, and I don't just mean the clients, you will get to meet all sorts of wildlife on the various properties you go out to, you'll get to meet the locals as you go on foot patrol door to door - warning, they do occasionally get quite frustrated by your presence as you're expected to visit the house at least once on a monthly basis.
But if you do persist as I did, you will make money but you really do have to earn your salt here and have to have one eye behind you to cover your own back to stop others swooping in to claim your efforts.
So if you go in to a role at F&C with a more educated and less starstruck outlook on what you're walking in to, then you won't find yourself frustrated at getting nowhere near the £100k+ earnings they promise to all but fall in to your lap. You'll need to get comfortable in front of a camera too for doing your very own presenter led videos of listings or like I did remote viewings on Skype for example.
All content gets recycled in to your social media marketing to build your brand as the go to agent in the area, so you'll have to become au fait with social media marketing and sorry to tell you but you will be the one spending your own money to run these lead generation campaigns; complain and you'll be told that you should be willing to invest in your own business by someone who ultimately sees a bigger return on your investment than you ever will. So, don't go pumping your savings or using credit cards to do this, please.
There are great agents within the team so if you can find an ally in the mix of the rooms full of aspiring to be the UKs Top Estate Agent who would step on anyone to get there you will be successful just as I was. Working together will get you much further than working alone, managers insist you shouldn't but all they are really worried about is not getting a look in on the fees the synergy of your combined efforts will generate.
Setting realistic goals going in will ensure that you don't find yourself feeling despondent towards the daily grind of the job and letting go of the £100k/year claims from Day 1 will ensure you will make the most of your time at F&C as you won't do as I did and find yourself disillusioned once the honeymoon period ends and you're nowhere naer the promised earning potential.
Account Manager in London, Greater London
Young team - young companyA company achieving above it's component parts.
Fairly typical working conditions, however the team around you are likely to be young. Turnover is relatively high and they like to bring in fresh talent rather than experience.
Managing Director in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
The best in estate agencyI have worked with Fine & Country pretty much since its inception. Amazing brand, amazing people, unbelievable growth and huge ambitions for growing the business moving forward.
A wide range of opportunities within the business.
if you are professional, hungry for success, hardworking and proactive then they are the perfect company for you.
Associate in Solihull, West Midlands
Earn as much as you want!I took this role 3 years ago having previously earned £20,000 per year, when I was told that this was uncapped commission at a very high rate I jumped at the opportunity. I decided that I wanted to earn 6 figures a year and for the last 3 years I have earned in excess of that. Life changing is a cheesy statement but when you increase your income 5 fold over three years it is life changing for myself my children and my partner. It has also given me enough money to invest in other ventures. Thank you!
I am not tied to an office or to hours, I can work as much or as little as I want and decide what to earn, couldn't think of a better place to work.