It is all a question of achieving the differential when selling
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.