Selling your house is a big deal. It involves a large sum of money for starters. And when something involves a lot of money, you get services and people wishing to become part of that situation in order to earn for themselves. Some services are value for money, some aren’t. It’s for the customer wishing to use those services to choose. But how easy is that?
What I find is that when I go out and see a potential customer to value their home, if they’ve already had estate agents come round, they’re fairly unsure of themselves and how to make the decision. Each agent will have been adamant that what they’re saying is right and the potential customers is at great risk of losing loads of money unless they go with that particular estate agent. Or the agent has told them they’ve got the perfect customer and they will pay loads of money for their house etc. etc.
After talking through with said customer about the house sale, what they want to do and the options or my recommendation for going about achieving that, they become more relaxed and understand their options better. They can see through the sales pitches and make a decision that is right for them, which is of course selling with Mr Green 😉
If I go out and see a customer first. So I’m the first agent in the door for the valuation, I still will go through the same things with them and talk through the process and give them information for making the best decisions for themselves. That then makes the further valuations a far easier process as they know what to ask and how to see through that sales jargon.
So, you’ve picked your three agents for valuation. What now?
Get in the right mindset. Agents are not miracle workers with magic potions and magic customers. Sure, they’d love to sell you a dream, but if it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is. And if an agent is selling a miracle service, question why they’re having to say that. There will be a catch, so look for it.
So what’s the most important information that you should be making a decision on?
1. Do you think you would trust that specific person you’re speaking to to look after your interests throughout the sale? The valuation is carried out by the most competent member of staff at a firm, so if you’re not 100% sold on their best member of staff, what are the others going to be like?
2. What’s the contract tie-in? Ask this early. I find this a good barometer for how seriously you take them. If the agent has a long tie-in (generally corporate agents have the longest) then they will probably move you past it. Great tactic for them, but push them on it and ask what the average tie-in is. If they still won’t answer it, ALARM BELLS should be ringing. It’s a simple question.
If the agent tells you he will sell your house in a week. And they’re utterly confident of that; then why on earth would they need an 8 week contract? Chances are you will be told about this magic buyer they have and that they will definitely go for it, but you have to sign their contract first, which just so happens to be a 20 week contract. Honestly, I’ve seen so many people fall for this trick.
3. A key part of selling a home for the best price is to market it as well as is possible. It’s all well and good being on 10 gazillion websites that none of your buyers use (Rightmove is KING in this area by a million miles), but how’s it going to look in the places that are important? Are the pictures going to do it justice? Have you ever seen a picture of a McDonald’s cheeseburger that doesn’t actually look really, really good? It’s not necessarily about overdoing it with your home, but you’re going to pay an agent thousands of £’s in commission. The highest quality photography and highest quality brochure should be as standard.
4. Who will do the viewings? Firstly, never do these yourself. It just isn’t worth it. Also, you don’t want the clueless office juniors doing them either (no offence to office juniors). The person doing the viewings should be the person that values your home. The person you built the rapport with and trust.
5. You want an agent that is focussed on selling your home, not focussed on selling their other services to potential buyers when going round eg. solicitors and mortgage deals. Your home has to be the number one priority. You’d be surprised to find it often isn’t.
6. What’s the cost? This shouldn’t be too high on your priority list, mind. Just make sure it’s good value and you’re dealing with high quality people.
A few things that really don’t make a blind bit of difference to your sale.
1. How many offices an agent has. It really doesn’t matter. A lot of them are in direct competition with one another, so helping one another is very low on their list of priorities.
2. The London office address for advertising. You know the one, where they say your home is advertised in Mayfair too as part of a scheme. That may have been good 30 years ago, but total waste of time now.
3. How long they’ve been in business. People move on, become disinterested after time etc. so just go with what is put in front of you right NOW.
4. Office. Doesn’t matter one bit. So long as the agent provides all of the above. And they have a kettle if you plan on popping in.
If you’ve got any questions or queries in reference to selling or buying a property, anywhere in the country, simply ask. I’m always happy to help.