Look out for that com­pet­i­tive edge when choos­ing an agent

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Tim War­ing

THERE is a wide se­lec­tion of es­tate agents op­er­at­ing across York­shire and, for any­one think­ing of sell­ing it, must be a daunt­ing task de­cid­ing who to trust with what is prob­a­bly the most im­por­tant of per­sonal as­sets.

The most sig­nif­i­cant is­sue is se­lect­ing an agent who has the com­pet­i­tive edge, some­one who will find you a buyer in the cur­rent un­cer­tain eco­nomic cli­mate. As such, surely it’s a ques­tion of ap­point­ing the agent who you be­lieve is go­ing to se­cure you the best pos­si­ble price, not sim­ply the agent who will charge you the least.

So how does one de­fine “the edge” that I think is so im­por­tant to a suc­cess­ful agent at the present time?

While by no means de­fin­i­tive, per­haps the fol­low­ing forms a use­ful checklist for you to con­sider:

Does your agent have ac­cess to the widest pos­si­ble mar­ket place on a lo­cal, re­gional and na­tional ba­sis? How do they at­tract and re­tain po­ten­tial buy­ers? Does the agent have strong, read­ily iden­ti­fi­able brand­ing, as well as a pro­file that will help to max­imise the price of the prop­erty you are sell­ing? It’s not just a ques­tion of the name, it’s how the brand is per­ceived, cul­ti­vated and pro­moted.

Does your agent have ac­cess to the ex­ten­sive range of mar­ket­ing tools that are avail­able in the high-tech world that we now live in? Not for­get­ting, of course, that tra­di­tional as­pects of mar­ket­ing such as sale boards, news­pa­per ad­verts and even word of mouth can be just as ef­fec­tive. Web­site listings are now taken as stan­dard but what about the likes of iPhone app down­loads or a web­site that can be per­son­alised to suit your own search re­quire­ments with­out hav­ing to wade through listings of un­suit­able prop­er­ties? There­fore it’s all about ap­peal­ing to the largest group of pos­si­ble pur­chasers through the var­ied routes to mar­ket that are at an agent’s dis­posal.

Will your agent have the nec­es­sary ex­pert knowl­edge in terms of val­u­a­tion and pric­ing?

What about un­der­stand­ing the psy­chol­ogy of why peo­ple buy and sell houses, along with an abil­ity to deal with the associated stresses and strains that will un­doubt­edly arise?

Hav­ing as­sessed how an agent might per­form on your be­half, per­haps it also begs the ques­tion as to whether cur­rent buy­ers and sell­ers can also have a com­pet­i­tive edge that could run in their favour?

For buy­ers, you might think it’s ob­vi­ous, namely do they have the funds?

If you think you do, will any lender you use be will­ing to ver­ify this to a sell­ing agent? If not, it’s likely you will lose your ne­go­ti­a­tion strengths and cred­i­bil­ity with the agent and their client.

If you have “the cash” can you eas­ily prove it? I’m sure a lot of agents will con­cur that it’s not un­usual to find dur­ing due dili­gence that one per­son’s def­i­ni­tion of cash tran­spires to be an­other per­son’s mort­gage.

If you say you can ex­change con­tracts in a cou­ple of weeks, have you ac­tu­ally checked your so­lic­i­tor is able to work to such a timescale?

For sell­ers, you have ev­ery right to be op­ti­mistic on price, but this does need to be bal­anced by a sense of re­al­ism.

Whether one likes it or not, the mar­ket­place is ul­ti­mately the fi­nal ar­biter on price, what­ever you may per­son­ally think your house is worth. There­fore do not put your­self at a dis­ad­van­tage from the out­set. Do lis­ten to the house doc­tors, they do gen­er­ally know what they are talk­ing about. So if you present your house ap­pro­pri­ately, do en­sure your agent has fully ex­plored the mar­ket, used all the sales tools that are avail­able and if you are for­tu­nate to have more than one per­son in­ter­ested, per­haps you can use this “com­pet­i­tive edge” to your ad­van­tage.

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