10 May 7 Tricks of the Trade
When I first started working in Estate Agency and people asked me what I did, I’d smile and proudly tell them but it wasn’t long before I started to say that I work with people when they move house! The words ‘Estate Agent’ seemed to change the atmosphere; the sun went in and grey clouds came over.
I’m lucky enough to work somewhere with decent, honest values and a helpful, friendly attitude to customers. There are still some of the ‘old school types’ around though – the kind that cause those grey clouds – and here are some of the tricks they’ll try.
1. “You have to come on the market with us because we’re selling the house you want to buy.”
Firstly, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to!
Legally, your offer has to be put forward whether you’re on the market with the same agent or not, so don’t let an agent tell you that you have to be on the market with them to buy a property they’re advertising.
It’s possible lines of communication might be better if there is one less estate agent in a chain, but that depends on how long the chain is and how well the agent communicates in the first place. You won’t be able to use the same solicitors though so ask yourself, how much difference it will really make?
At Robinson Reade, we have a full time sales progressor and her job is communication! Her sole responsibility is to talk; to buyers, sellers, solicitors and other estate agents in a chain and make sure that everyone is kept fully informed of progress all the way to completion. She gets involved in chasing documents, finding out if queries are outstanding, whether mortgage offers have been received – there isn’t a lot more we can do to improve communication than employing someone full time to ‘sales chase’.
The main thing to consider though is ‘who will the estate agent be working for?’ Do you trust them to be able to work for both of you to get you the best price or will their loyalties be torn as they have two fees to protect?
2. “You have to use our mortgage advisor and conveyancing.”
Agents should not put pressure on you to buy extra services from them. They may know some perfectly good mortgage advisors and legal people to recommend to you but it’s up to you who you use and it will not affect your ability to buy a house.
It is perfectly reasonable though for an estate agent to ask to see proof of funds if you want to make an offer on a property. If you need a mortgage this is often called an agreement in principle or a mortgage promise. This proves that you are able to buy a property and when your offer is put forward gives confidence to the seller.
After all, we don’t want a sale to fall through 4 weeks down the line because you can’t get a mortgage. That would just lead to disappointment for you and the seller so it’s best to check that all out up front.
3. “We’re the market leader so if you want to buy in the area you need to come on with us.”
Robinson Reade was first set up in Whiteley and was the only estate agent in the area so sellers did come on the market with us! Whiteley was a brand new area, there was a gap in the market and Robinson Reade were the first to start working there. 12 years on and there is plenty of competition.
Isn’t the most important thing that you choose someone that you trust will work hardest for you to get the best price from the best buyer? Sometimes this might be the agent with less available houses as they’ll have more resources to put to work on selling yours! Our website shows our recently sold properties for you to look at. http://www.robinsonreade.co.uk/listings.php?sale=1&status=1
4. “I have someone in mind that would love your house.”
This line is often used to tease you to sign up on the day, a talented, smooth sales patter and you could be tempted to sign up there and then. Don’t do it! Listen to your instinct, get a second opinion.
All High Street estate agents have a database of registered buyers that might love your house, along with a load more that haven’t registered yet. Surely you agree that if the most amount of people are given the chance to have a look at your house you give yourself the very best chance of getting the best price.
If you did sign up on the day and regret being impulsive remember that, under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, you are able to cancel your contract within the first 14 days of signing.
5. “How about a one-off viewing, I could bring them round this afternoon.”
Unless you have the bailiffs at the door and are in a major rush what would be the benefit of that? Any agent can sell a house, only some take pride in getting you the very best price from the best buyer. And beware if you don’t have an EPC because it is illegal to market your property without one.
6. “ We’re doing a Special offer on our fee at the moment”
Don’t be tempted by a reduced cheap fee, the most important thing is the SALE AGREED PRICE. A good estate agent will fully market your property to make sure you get the best price. Thousands of £s extra on the sale is surely better than a few quid saved on the fee?
And don’t get me started on the internet only agents….. Just remember that’s all they are, internet ONLY agents, they don’t do anything other than list your property on the internet.
7. “Why don’t we try a ‘Test the Market’ price
Some agents will try to persuade you that your house is worth more than local market rates to get you to go on the market with them. But within 2 weeks of signing the contract they’ll be hassling you for a price reduction as they can’t get any buyers to view. Make sure an agent can provide evidence to back up their pricing of recently sold properties on the market. Going on too high can seriously damage the saleability of your property.
What you need, “what you really, really need”, is an Estate Agent, an independent one with a friendly team with lots of local knowledge who work hard – for you. Call in and see us or email us firstname.lastname@example.org