What do I ask Estate Agents about when selling my home?

What do I ask Estate Agents about when selling my home?

Published: October 08th, 2019

Have you ever asked this question? Well it’s a good one! But if you ask friends and family, it’s normally to do with facts and figures….what’s the value? How much do they charge?

Whilst these are incredibly important, if you’ve been thinking about moving, you may already have an idea on value, and agents will charge anywhere up to 3% commission depending on contract type and services offered.

But this last point…”services offered” should be your key focus along with marketing, but we’ll talk about marketing another time. For now, let’s focus purely on service. From the experiences my clients have had from their previous agents there seems to be a lack of service in the industry and its all about sales. Yes, an Estate Agents role is to sell your home, and there are many sales techniques used to do so, yet you as the seller and/or as the buyer require a service. So, lets look a little more deeply into what services you may require.

At the point of valuation: Here, as discussed, you’d like to now the money side of things, what your home is worth and the costs involved in selling. But that isn’t it. Many people have said to me they asked their agent “is there anything I can do to help?” i.e. is it worth doing any work. Many will say either no, it’ll sell itself or they cite to decluttering, and take away or personal objects. This is where I sigh….(sigh done). Presentation of a home is a massive part of the service an agent should provide. Yes - decluttering is a part of it, but don’t take everything away or it feels clinical. You want to see someone is living in your home to have that homely feel. Like-minded people buy similar homes, so if you like then someone else will also be attracted to it. The number of times I hear on a viewing… “oh we’ve got that” is unbelievable!

Marketing: Of course this is expected, and there are various other blogs I have done on this, but the basics should be professional photography, professionally printed brochure, clear floorplan with measurements on it. Yes there is likely to be an extra cost to some or all of this,  but if you’re selling what is most likely to be your, or at least one of your biggest assets, spending a few hundred pounds on something worth hundreds of thousands of pounds is worth it. You wouldn’t find a Range Rover Sport being sold with amateur photos and a black and white printed flimsy brochure- so why accept this for your beautiful home.

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Viewings: Who will be conducting the viewings? Is it the person valuing your home or someone from the office who hasn’t seen it before? It’s not always possible to have just one person to do the viewings on your home, but there should be the set up that anyone who will be doing viewings will come round before your home goes on to the market so that someone in the office can answer questions to a potential buyer. Inevitably you will have the initial flurry of viewings if your home hasn’t been on the market before. The second thing is how long do they allow for viewings? Is it half hour slots in which case, try before you buy….go and do a viewing for yourself and see if 15 minutes is long enough to look seriously around a home, as they’ll need 15 minutes to get to their next appointment. I know many of my viewings average an hour whether it’s a 3 bedroom mid terrace or a 5 bedroom farmhouse. Buyers will often go round 2-3 times if they really like it, which means they rarely need to come back for a second viewing and you only have to prepare your home once! Finally, availability- do they carry out weekend viewings…Saturday and Sunday? This is when a lot of people are free to do such things. Many don’t do any, and some may do until 1pm on a Saturday but if there’s a family with children at gymnastics/swimming/dancing etc, they wont be free until the afternoon!

Feedback: When will this be given? There’s nothing more frustrating then spending hours getting ready for a viewing and then not hearing for days and having to chase up your agent. So why can they not leave a note, send a text/email or even call straight after. The joys of modern technology is a call can be made with a mobile phone, of which all agents should carry with them at all times, most agents will have in car facilities to do this safely whilst driving. Albeit there will be some black spot areas.

Offers or price reductions: Now depending on the viewings and feedback you are likely to get a call with either an offer or to discuss reducing your price. Firstly don’t reduce unless you know the marketing is the best it can be. One of my clients was being pushed to reduce her price so much so she took it off the market, as she felt the agent was working for the buyers and not her as the seller. We took it on at a higher price and sold it for more than the previous agent was marketing it for! Offers, there’s two ways to look at this, you either want as much money as possible or enough to make a move to your next home possible. But remember the agent is working for you, you are the client, the seller and above all its your decision. There are many techniques when putting offers together, not just of a monetary value, but time, work and much more.

Sale has been agreed: congratulations you’re one step closer to moving home. Ask the agent what their national timescale for their sales process is. The longer this is the more likely it is to fall through. The national average is around 14 weeks, with approximately 20-25% of these falling through. My quickest sale was 24 hours, but this is incredibly rare. Many cash sales where there is no chain can go through in 3-4 weeks and 6-8 weeks for a chain/mortgage purchase involved. In 2019 so far we have had 100% success in getting all our sales through solicitors to exchange of contracts in an average of 6 weeks and 3 days. This included chains of 7 and 9.  After the initial instruction of solicitor, the first two weeks are likely to be quiet whilst searches are applied for, but you should get at least a weekly if not twice weekly update, and closer to exchange it can become daily, and various times during those daily updates. It’s not just down to solicitors.

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Sale had exchanged: Yes! You’re on the move. Completion date is set, now the great agents will come and collect keys from you the seller, and pop out to meet the buyers at their new home when advised to do so by the solicitors. The last thing you need to be doing is running around to agents to drop things off, or if buying, picking keys up. You’ve waited for this moment to turn the key in to your new home. As an agent this is my favourite part. Seeing people start their new lives, their next chapter has now begun…it gets very emotional for all.

Now I wouldn’t expect you to get this with a large online agent or a 0.5% agent. But anyone charging 1.5% plus- absolutely you should be getting this. This is a service profession not a sales one.

Maybe you’ve experienced this kind of service with your agent- fantastic! Its great to hear others doing a great job…it really helps to improve the image of the profession.

BUT if your answer is, no, no, no, nothing like this who can help me? Then look no further, this is still only a snippet of what to expect, but if your intrigued to know more about services, oh and the gorgeous marketing we do…why not drop me a line at info@vjproperty.co.uk or call 01395 275556 to have a chat.

I look forward to speaking to you very soon.

Victoria