When it comes to sell­ing houses, leave it to the pro­fes­sion­als

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

ev­ery­thing them­selves, in­clud­ing val­u­a­tion, mar­ket­ing, view­ings and ne­go­ti­a­tions. The idea was to cut out es­tate agents and there­fore save on the fees.

“A great idea”, I hear you cry but it met with the univer­sal in­dig­na­tion of Lord Sugar and his lieu­tenants, who in­formed “Cloughie” that it was dead in the wa­ter.

So, why was this idea so bad? To an­swer that ques­tion, let’s con­sider the role of the es­tate agent in sell­ing a prop­erty.

Agents have a huge breadth of knowl­edge of house val­ues in an area. True, any­one can look up house val­ues on Right­move but this may not be the price that was fi­nally achieved, which could be less or more than the of­fered price. It is im­por­tant to pitch the val­u­a­tion just right; too high will put peo­ple off and too low is likely to leave money on the ta­ble. You must also know when to ad­just the price if in­ter­est in the prop­erty is low and it does not sell. There are huge va­garies be­tween one house and an­other, mak­ing val­u­a­tion a science not an art.

Agents in­vest heav­ily in and use a range of mar­ket­ing tools to sell a prop­erty, in­clud­ing pro­duc­ing par­tic­u­lars, brochures, agent’s web­site, sub­scrib­ing to prop­erty por­tals like Right­move, ad­ver­tis­ing in news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines as well as PR. In pro­duc­ing mar­ket­ing lit­er­a­ture we pho­to­graph the prop­erty, we mea­sure each room and all out­side space and we write the de­tails about the prop­erty. We also have an ex­ten­sive data­base of prospec­tive pur­chasers, whom we know only want a spe­cific prop­erty, area or street, thereby a home can be sold “off-mar­ket” with­out some­times ever be­ing mar­keted.

At first glance this maybe some­thing that any­one can do but when one thinks about it are you, the ven­dor al­ways avail­able? Will you be there when the prospec­tive pur­chaser can view your prop­erty? Af­ter all you may both have work or other com­mit­ments. Would you col­lect prospec­tive view­ers and drive them to your prop­erty? Would you be able to ad­vise them on ideas for im­prove­ments? Would you have thought about an “open day” and be able to or­gan­ise one. There is more to view­ings than meets the eye and that’s with­out the agent ad­vis­ing the ven­dor on the finer points that would make their prop­erty more saleable.

The sharp end of any sale and the time for a cool head and wise words. Not easy when some­one is emo­tively in­volved with sell­ing their own home, a prop­erty you may have had for many years and may nat­u­rally have a strong at­tach­ment too. It would be all too easy for stub­born­ness and a lack of clar­ity to cloud a seller’s judge­ment at this stage. In the same way as a so­lic­i­tor may take the heat or emo­tion out of ad­ver­sar­ial pro­ceed­ings, so an es­tate agent is re­moved from the emo­tion and is able to stay calm and think clearly in a po­ten­tially tax­ing sit­u­a­tion. The agent also sees the sale through to com­ple­tion, a time when dif­fi­cul­ties can oc­cur.

So apart from the knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence that an es­tate agent brings, they more im­por­tantly also re­lieve the ven­dor of the stresses and strains of deal­ing with the sale. They may even sug­gest dif­fer­ent meth­ods of sale such as ten­ders, best bids or even auc­tion to get the best pric. The role of the es­tate agent is there­fore more in­volved than many would think. So use a sea­soned pro­fes­sional and not an ap­pren­tice.

Richard Smailes is a di­rec­tor of Feather Smailes Scales, Har­ro­gate.

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