Look out for that competitive edge when choosing an agent
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.