Regular blogger Chris at Agency Negotiation talks about what to think about when you come to selecting an estate agent
Planning. It applies not only to package holidays and the best parties,but to most aspects of moving home. You’ve found a property that you like and can afford,so the next logical step, unless you are a first-time buyer, is to sell your existing home. Hopefully for a premium price and within the time constraint of acquiring your next home.
Let’s just pick up the phone and invite Solihull’s best known estate agency around to value our home. (Free valuation on offer as we have been repeatedly told by EVERY estate agency – we get it). After all, they’re the most well known, seem good at selling homes.What possibly can go wrong?
What can go wrong is that you could possibly NOT sell your home for the price you expect and the price that the estate agency was so confident of achieving for you when they came to value your home. Nice people, very polite and they really loved our home. “No trouble selling, we have several buyers looking for a home just like this”. The unfortunate truth is that every estate agency is in business to make money, often as quickly as possible since they have overheads to pay including rent, rates, staff wages and advertising. Their prime responsibility is to the business and this can, in some instances, influence the negotiation efforts ( you won’t get a better offer) or the valuation ( I’m positive we can get more for your home than other agencies).
So, whilst the market leading estate Agency at first might appear a safe bet, it can pay to consider alternatives. The planning required in choosing an estate agency should, however, begin several months before picking up the phone. Most people are instinctively ‘information gatherers’ and this process should be paramount to maximize the value of your most valuable asset. It can begin with simply comparing various estate agency advertisements in the Observer or News. Obvious things to look for? How many properties are featured on a full page advertisement. If the page has 20 or so homes, the agency isn’t advertising each property, they’re promoting themselves. Look how many instructions we have and remember our name next time you need to sell your home. In effect, that’s what they’re saying and that’s not doing the best, or even near best, for those clients. Advertising targets people’s visual, verbal or kinesthetic preferences and if you need a magnifying glass to see the picture or read the description, there is very little chance that you might feel this property could be right for you. Worst offenders for this type of advertising are the big corporate estate agencies such as Dixon’s, Burchell Edwards, R.A Bennett and Shipways. There would have to be other compelling reasons to appoint an agency that did not advertise your home to the best of its ability.
Obviously check out the prospective agency web site to determine whether they use plenty of good photos and have interesting property descriptions, rather than the usual bland walk-through prose. Many estate agencies focus their web site promotion on selling the property and very little on attracting vendors. Yes, there will be the usual corporate gush about how many awards they have won, how passionate (an over-used word in this sector) they are about selling homes and even bio‘s of their staff. In my experience they have mistaken me for someone who could care less that Glen has five years experience, loves to travel, has a passion for wine and is a WSET certificate holder (?). Just goggled it: Wine and Spirit Education Trust. That will help sell my home.
What they don’t provide, and most estate agencies are guilty of this, is information that will really help me make them the preferred choice. Information such as the agency sales plan if the property doesn’t sell in the first month, how do they handle buyers when the office is closed and how good are the negotiators at negotiating? All information that the agency might provide at the listing presentation, but it would be more helpful at the outset to enable you to determine which agency agency to invite rather than relying on brand awareness. One of the best examples of a modern, helpful and dedicated estate agency is Surrey based agency Perry Power (www.perrypower.co.uk) . On this site, you will find so much helpful information from an estate agency that is head and shoulders above anything available in Solihull and Birmingham.
In the next blog, we will be talking about how many estate agencies to invite, the essential questions to ask any estate agency in determining whether they are proud of their performance and whether they are really switched on to making your life easier during the sale process. Get it right first time and selling your home will be so much easier.
If you have any immediate questions on your existing or future home sale, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re here to help.
About Chris at Agency Negotiation…….