It is all a ques­tion of achiev­ing the dif­fer­en­tial when sell­ing

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Tim War­ing

RATHER than pre­dict­ing the mar­ket or re­flect­ing on the gen­eral eco­nomic un­cer­tainty, I thought it would be log­i­cal to con­sider some of the more prac­ti­cal as­pects of the es­tate agency world as we head in to the au­tumn; tra­di­tion­ally the sec­ond most pop­u­lar sell­ing sea­son of the year.

I was told this week that I was “an hon­est es­tate agent” and it got me think­ing. Why does our pro­fes­sion get such a bad press?

What a lot of in­di­vid­u­als for­get is that we are only agents and not the prin­ci­pal to a prop­erty trans­ac­tion. As with other pro­fes­sional ad­vis­ers, we can only rec­om­mend and, ul­ti­mately, we act on the

Buy­ing and sell­ing prop­erty does not al­ways bring out the best side in peo­ple’s char­ac­ter.

in­struc­tions from the party pay­ing our fee.

So what does this mean for York­shire’s es­tate agents?

Buy­ing and sell­ing prop­erty, es­pe­cially res­i­den­tial prop­erty, does not al­ways bring out the best side in peo­ple’s char­ac­ter. If an agent is told to keep a prop­erty on the mar­ket af­ter an of­fer has been ac­cepted, then they can­not stop this hap­pen­ing.

So, if you are the buyer the sim­ple so­lu­tion is not to mess about and waste time. You should chase your so­lic­i­tor and lender and get the pa­per­work sorted. Let’s be hon­est, with most prop­erty now be­ing reg­is­tered ti­tle, it should not be that com­pli­cated.

If you have an is­sue af­ter sur­vey, be­fore ca­reer­ing in with a re­duced of­fer and the seller be­com­ing wound up say­ing they’ve been messed about, ask your­self how bad is the prob­lem?

If it was al­ready your house, would you be wor­ried or would you take it is as be­ing part of the par­cel of own­ing such a house? Again, let’s be hon­est, if the build­ing is 200 years old, a bit of damp and the odd bit of soft tim­ber work is prob­a­bly in­evitable.

Un­like other coun­tries in Europe and in the US, where bro­ker­age is com­mon and trans­ac­tional fees are charged at about four to five per cent, in the UK it is stan­dard prac­tice to pay an es­tate agent some­where be­tween one and two per cent for sell­ing a house.

We north­ern agents tend to charge less than our south­ern equiv­a­lent for rea­sons I have never quite un­der­stood. Maybe it is some­thing to do with the weather. Se­ri­ously though, if you do want to sell your house, can I sug­gest that in the present chal­leng­ing cli­mate you should be pleased to pay the sales com­mis­sion given that if an agent does not sell, in real terms we lose money.

View it as a pretty good in­cen­tive to en­sure that your agent is work­ing hard to find you that elu­sive buyer. It should be a team ef­fort be­tween you and your agent. You should be work­ing to­gether, lis­ten­ing to the ad­vice given and the agent should also help you to man­age the in­evitable stress that re­sults from the whole buy­ing and sell­ing pro­ce­dure.

So what am I driv­ing at? Well, it’s not a buy­ers’ mar­ket at the moment, nor is it a sell­ers’ mar­ket. Fun­da­men­tally, it’s like any other mar­ket place where the prod­uct (in this case a rather ex­pen­sive one) is worth what some­one will pay.

If I am can­did, it seems that a few peo­ple have for­got­ten this sim­ple fact of life. It’s not the agent’s fault if a house can’t achieve what an owner thinks it is worth, it is what the mar­ket place is telling you it is worth.

If you buy and sell in the same mar­ket, surely it should be a ques­tion of achiev­ing the dif­fer­en­tial, not sim­ply se­cur­ing a spe­cific sale fig­ure. Per­haps if there was more wide­spread ap­pre­ci­a­tion of this sim­ple logic then we could see a lively au­tumn hous­ing mar­ket in York­shire. Time will tell.

Tim War­ing is a part­ner of Knight Frank and heads their es­tate agency team in the North of Eng­land.

FOR SALE: North­ern es­tate agents tend to charge less.

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