Once an agent has agreed a sale, they will often leave it up to the solicitors to finish the job off. If that’s the attitude of your agent, best of luck, you’ll need it.
I have no problem with solicitors doing their bit, but my god they can screw a sale up faster than Usain Bolt after a chicken nugget breakfast. When someone is stressed, they absolutely do not need their relaxed and polite request put in to formal solicitor speak and sent to the other solicitor, who then gets even more solicitor-like and sends it to their client. It’s like Chinese whispers when a message is taken entirely out of context. It can start as a “Ooh, I was hoping the owners would be leaving the cooker, can we ask if they could?” and ends with the owners solicitor telling them “The buyer is demanding the cooker or they’re pulling out of the sale.” to which the owner replies “Really? That’s a bit harsh.” so it goes back “My client will not tolerate your buyers outrageous demands.” etc. etc.
I sometimes wonder if all solicitors secretly hate one another and during a property transaction they don’t actually worry about the clients, but simply about getting one over on their counterpart. A bit of pencil jousting from the safety of their desk.
So anyway, if the sale agreed point has come about (congratulations), the difference in quality between a poor, good and great agent really will become apparent. As the manager/owner, I don’t get paid a single penny until a property completes, so it’s not just out of the desire to do a good job, it’s a necessity.
So here are 5 simple tips for getting your sale through to completion.
1. Agree EVERYTHING upfront. Yes, sometimes the temptation is there to just put a deal in hand to get it on the board, but a weak deal is a weak deal. Get it all agreed upfront and avoid awkward/treacherous negotiations on time-scales, chains, fixtures and fittings etc. at a later date.
2. If your agent has proven to be fairly useless, cut them off. Why trust the most important part of your sale in the hands of someone who is incompetent? Be strong.
3. Always ask for a date for something being done.. Don’t annoy your solicitor, but it’s very easy for them to say “Yes, that’s going to be done….” but then give absolutely zero time-scales whatsoever and then when you call back, they’ve still not done it. Say “When is that going to be done by?” Then you can ring on that date and check it. You can lose weeks if you’re not careful.
4. Do be prepared to walk away if the goal-posts move. I’ve found that unless you’re really good at being a middle-man, it normally ends with the nicest person making all the sacrifices in a property sale. Be fair, but be strong. And if you’re having your pants pulled down, pull them up and walk away. What you’ll probably find is that with a strong but fair attitude, nobody will take the mickey.
5. Keep calm and communicate. Probably the hardest to do. It can be very stressful moving house. But the more you talk, the happier you’ll feel. Stay up to date with what’s going on.
If you are currently selling and want some advice on how to get your sale completed please do call or drop me an email.
Mr Green Estate Agents