How to negotiate the perfect deal with an estate agent.

If you’re about to sell a property, this post highlights what your biggest risks are when instructing an agent and how to ensure you’re always at an advantage, not the agent!

THE single biggest and most costly risk when signing up to an agent is overpricing your property and being tied in to a long contract.  Why’s it such a big deal?  Well 12/16 and 22 week contracts mean you’re a bit stuffed if the agent doesn’t perform as they say they will (NOOOOOOO, an agent saying whatever you want to hear to get your property on the books?! Never!), especially when you consider that a property gets its best price within 4 weeks of going to market, 12 weeks and you’ve potentially got a lemon.

Sometimes an agent will actually lower the commission (based on you haggling) and increase their tie-in period.  If you want to move and they’ve got SOLE selling rights for 16 weeks, guess what? That agent will either sell it in 4 weeks for top money, sell it for low money as their marketing was naff or have it on the market for 16 weeks doing irrepairable damage to the image of your home as a potential buy.  If it’s number three, it’s near impossible to undo the damage.

ALWAYS get 3 agents round to value your home.  They may all say that they can do X, Y, Z that no other agent can.  Noncel’s (work it out) still tell people that because they helped form Rightmove that all their listings appear top… hmmmmm.  Ask for an example of this, I’d love to see it. 

NOBODY cares who your agent is.  Genuinely.  If you’re looking for a property, do you only go to the agents with the pretty names?  Where abouts do you look?  Online?  Have you ever not looked online as your main port of call for a property search?  If you see a great house/flat/bungalow, would you enquire to the agent?  Yes.

Commonsense leads to the point that the SINGLE most important thing when selling a property is that it’s listed everywhere online, it’s targetted towards the most likely buyer (that will pay most money) and that it looks fabulous with a description that is concise and gives a flavour for the property.

So how do you ensure your agents does what they say they will?  You make them put their money where their mouth is.

They’ve given you a valuation of £450k?  They must be pretty confident of that?  Ask them what they realistically think they can get you for it.  If they say at least £430k, then make their contract say you’ll pay them X% if they get over £429,950 and to more than halve their commission if they don’t.  If they SAY they can get you a buyer in two weeks, do the same thing, pay them really well if they do as they say and really badly if they don’t.

The contract is always negotiable and it generally starts at 100% in favour of the agent. If you’re confident and structure it right, you can make it a win/win for both parties. You get a great price for your home and the agent gets paid well for doing a great job. 

The confident agent will sign, the agent that is just trying to stitch you up won’t.  NEVER ever sign a tie-in for longer than 4 weeks.  You’ll risk costing yourself thousands and thousands if you do.  Be careful of the notice period too, some are 28 days!