In this blog, I want to give you an insight into the questions you need to be asking so when it comes to getting your property valued.
Firstly, it's usually the estate agent who does all the talking and asking… for example...how much did the other agent value your home? If you’re happy with the price would you instruct me today? You should use our company because we have a large office and advertise on Rightmove.
I’m sure if you ever sold a property before these questions most probably ring true. Most agents try to ascertain what you are thinking or what information you have been given in order to agree with you so that the easy option is for them to then persuade you that they are the right agent for you. Few agents actually think outside the box and justify why they stand above the rest. Most agents focus on the fact that if they give you the highest price along with the most competitive fee they will win your business… and you’ll be surprised how many times that actually happens because hey if someone gives you the highest price and best fee why wouldn’t you go with them?!
In 10 years of being an estate agent, you’ll be shockingly surprised how many times clients come unstuck by choosing that option. So here are my top three questions to ask your agent on the valuation and the answers you need to hear from that agent for them to warrant getting your business…
1. How will you achieve the best possible price?
It’s all well and good an agent telling you they can achieve you £350,000 for your home but HOW are they actually going to do that?
Firstly, they need to be able to back up the price they have given to you by showing you comparable properties selling locally, whether that's with them or various other agents. This shows they have done their research on your property prior to attending and even better, if they can make direct comparisons between the properties like sq footage, plot size and condition shows that they have excellent knowledge of the area and will be able to relay this information to your potential buyers justifying and obtaining you the best price.
Secondly, ‘’we market your home on Rightmove’’ by saying this does not justify the agent marketing your property to its full potential by throwing it on Rightmove and waiting for the phone to ring or an email to come in. There are many ways to market property now and yes Rightmove is the one most people are familiar with when it comes to website portals. There are also other property portals that need to be considered like OnTheMarket and Zoopla. 98% of people start their search online but what happens if that buyer doesn't click on your property…? You’ve lost them. There are certain ways to make sure agents don't miss these buyers but that's for Modern Listings to exclusively explain to you on a valuation.
Your agent also needs to be proactive when it comes to talking to their database of clients, speaking to them when a new property comes onto their books, and matching them to your property for a viewing. Chasing up emails they have sent with phone calls. Good Old fashioned estate agency.
The way to get the best price for your home is to choose the most proactive, genuine, and dedicated agent. The one that has the most to gain from selling your property as they will work the hardest to achieve this.
2. What are your selling fees?
The million-dollar question…I will try to keep this short and sweet. It’s human nature to get the best deal because why do you need to give away more money than you have to?
With the exception of high-end properties, most agents do pretty much the same thing when it comes to selling your home, yet why if you have a £200,000 flat do you pay 1% plus vat, and if you have a £400,000 house you pay 1% plus vat. Now if you do the maths on that you’ll realise that if you own the £400,000 house you pay exactly double the amount as the £200,000 flat. Does the agent do anything extra to justify that cost? Absolutely not!! In all fairness, a freehold house is generally a lot easier to sell and the transaction goes through faster than a leasehold flat meaning the agent does more work for less commission.
So here is the million-dollar point… most estate agents have no idea how much it actually costs to sell your home. Their one goal is to get you on their books at the best possible fee.
There is a point whereby if the fee is too cheap, you won’t get anything for your money or you will end up losing thousands off the selling price of your home.
There is a balance to find the point where the fee represents a fair number that both parties are happy with and the agent has the profit in the incentive to work hard to get you the best price. Each agent will have different price points that depend on the set up of their business and what you get from them. But I can pretty much assure you that the large high street agency with 6 staff and 100 plus properties that offers you 1% plus vat of £400,000 won't get you anymore for your home than the smaller bespoke hungry one to one agent who offers a lower fixed fee package.
Ultimately it’s down to you whether you choose a commission-based or fair fixed fee agent but the fee needs to reflect what you want from the sale of your property and what the agent does, not how much they can make off your home.
3. How long is the contract?
Over the years I have had so many clients that want to use me to sell their home for my straight-talking approach but can’t swap over from another agent due to being tied into a ridiculously long sole agency contract. Normally, the agent that offers you the highest price for your home will usually tie you into the longest contract. There are some agencies that will lock you into a 26-week contract. Yes, that's 6 months!! The problem with this is that if you feel that the agent isn't doing what they should be you are stuck with them, often leading to you losing thousands of pounds on your home as you sit on the market. It often goes like this… highest price, lowest fee, longest contract… This is definitely the agent to avoid.
The single biggest thing I tell my clients is that you are employing the agent to sell your home, they're not employing you to be on their books. The power should be in your hands because if the agent has valued your property correctly and has the right marketing package for you then they don't need to tie you into a contract length. This is why I offer all my clients a 0-week contract so that they know I am working to the best of my ability to secure a sale for them.
Also, remember most agencies have a notice period of 2 to 4 weeks to ‘’wind down marketing’’ so if you signed a contract that was a minimum of 12 weeks with a 4 week notice period you've actually signed a 16-week contract. Emphasis on the word minimum. Should an agent insist on a contract length then 4 weeks is adequate to know whether the agent you instruct is the right agent for you.