Why do 95% of home own­ers still use tra­di­tional estate agents?

New online estate agents claim to sell your house for a frac­tion of the cost. But is the en­tice­ment of a ‘cheaper’ fee cov­er­ing over pot­holes that carry se­ri­ous con­se­quences for ven­dors, asks Paul Rodgers, di­rec­tor of Hod­ders Estate Agents.

Staines Informer - - NEWS -

“THE first, cru­cial point is mo­ti­va­tion. With a phys­i­cal estate agent, you only pay a fee when they suc­cess­fully sell your prop­erty; and the agent will usu­ally earn more com­mis­sion for achiev­ing a higher price. There­fore, there is a mu­tual in­ter­est in se­cur­ing the best pos­si­ble re­sult. With many of the new mod­els, you pay a sig­nif­i­cant, up-front, non-re­fund­able amount what­ever hap­pens – for ex­am­ple, even if you never re­ceive a sin­gle of­fer on your home.

“Se­cond, sell­ing a prop­erty is much more than just putting it on the in­ter­net. Mar­kets are con­stantly chang­ing, and a good agent will con­stantly eval­u­ate the price and mar­ket­ing, based on the lat­est con­di­tions. This might in­clude the mood of the mar­ket and what is avail­able lo­cally. The best estate agent will utilise a wide va­ri­ety of per­son­alised tools, such as con­tact­ing their ex­ten­sive data­base, dis­tribut­ing leaflets, com­mu­ni­cat­ing via so­cial net­work­ing, and fa­cil­i­tat­ing ‘open house’ events. These el­e­ments can be cru­cial in gen­er­at­ing the best of­fer. Yet very few, if any, of the new online estate agents to date of­fer such ser­vices to their clients.

“The next key stage in sell­ing your home is qual­i­fy­ing the of­fer. Al­most a third of agreed sales fail to com­plete, and one key rea­son is that the buyer may strug­gle to ac­cess the nec­es­sary fi­nance. A lo­cal pro­fes­sional agent will have es­tab­lished the mo­ti­va­tions and fi­nan­cial sta­tus of the ap­pli­cant, thereby re­duc­ing the like­li­hood of dis­ap­point­ment and fur­ther de­lays and, there­fore, also of los­ing other po­ten­tial buy­ers who would have com­pleted the pur­chase.

“Ne­go­ti­at­ing the sale of your own home can be a tricky busi­ness. This is an im­por­tant and emo­tive sub­ject, and nor­mally the in­ter­ces­sion of a pro­fes­sional can turn an ‘in­sult­ing of­fer’ into an ac­cept­able com­pro­mise. Again, you need the help of some­one who can use lo­cal knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence, to­gether with in­sights into the rel­a­tive sit­u­a­tions and of the par­ties in­volved, to craft a mu­tu­ally ac­cept­able po­si­tion. “Cur­rently, one of the big­gest dif­fi­cul­ties in mov­ing is man­ag­ing com­pli­cated chains, which re­quire the involvement and some­times co­er­cion of many sep­a­rate par­ties, such as other estate agents and their so­lic­i­tors. Many lead­ing agents now as­sign their most tal­ented em­ploy­ees to pro­gress­ing pend­ing sales, even on be­half of the other agents in the chain who may not be so dili­gent. This can lit­er­ally make or break a sale and again, it makes sense to seek out an estate agent who knows all the par­ties in­volved – and who is strongly fi­nan­cially mo­ti­vated to com­plete the sale as quickly and ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble, not just move on to the next list­ing. Sell­ing and rent­ing prop­erty has be­come in­creas­ingly reg­u­lated, and trust and con­fi­dence flows from deal­ing with an in­di­vid­ual who can of­fer ex­pert and ap­pro­pri­ate ad­vice.

“The best lo­cal agents will em­ploy staff who have proven ex­per­tise and who have achieved recog­nised qual­i­fi­ca­tions in their par­tic­u­lar spe­cialisms.

“They are; there­fore, bet­ter able to man­age the myr­iad of prob­lems that nor­mally ac­com­pany any po­ten­tial sale or pur­chase – in­creas­ing the like­li­hood of suc­cess. Some of the newer mod­els em­ploy so-called lo­cal ex­perts who are in truth, nei­ther of the two, and so may fall short on of­fer­ing the help when you most need it.

“A lo­cal ex­pert could ad­vise con­fi­dently on lo­cal schools and catch­ment ar­eas, den­tists and hos­pi­tals, com­mut­ing times, po­ten­tial new de­vel­op­ments in the area, or sea­sonal fac­tors such as tourism and spe­cial events.

“When it comes to the move, there are many other ser­vices that the pur­chaser or in­vestor may re­quire; the more ob­vi­ous are a so­lic­i­tor, a re­movals com­pany, and maybe a mort­gage provider, but you may also want spe­cial­ist tax ad­vice, the name of a trust­wor­thy builder, plumber or elec­tri­cian, gar­dener, or in­te­rior de­signer ... or just a key hold­ing ser­vice and a lock­smith!

“The best agents will know lo­cal pro­fes­sion­als who are proven and trust­wor­thy. Their busi­ness is to a large part de­pen­dent on their lo­cal rep­u­ta­tion, and so will have built up a net­work of sim­i­lar ex­perts who can work to­gether to help their clients.

Mar­cus Whewell, CEO of The Guild of Pro­fes­sional Estate Agents be­lieves that the true points of dif­fer­ence are not tech­nol­ogy or en­tice­ments of low fees, but a proven net­work of lo­cal pro­fes­sion­als who are con­nected into their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, and are fi­nan­cially com­mit­ted to suc­cess­fully sell­ing your prop­erty.

He said: “You won’t find this on the TV ad­verts, but the really smart money will look for strong per­sonal com­mit­ment, ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise, great lev­els of ser­vice, and con­sis­tent pos­i­tive out­comes for clients.”

Hod­ders’ Paul Rodgers.

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