9 CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK THE ESTATE AGENT WHEN THEY ARE VALUING YOUR PROPERTY
by Richard Gabriel & Jonathan Parkinson
ON AVERAGE, WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE ASKING PRICE DO YOU ACHIEVE?
Unfortunately, many estate agents will deliberately over-value a property in order to win the client. If they are able to demonstrate impressive statistics regarding final sale prices compared to original asking prices, then they will want to shout about it. However, if they are unable to give you this figure then we advise you to be concerned. We’ll guarantee that most agents you interview WON’T know the answer to this question. Feel free to put US to the test.
WHAT’S YOUR AVERAGE TIME TO AGREE A SALE?
If an estate agent replies with a vague answer like “normally quite quickly” then again alarm bells should be ringing.
The average time for property to remain on the market in the UK is 66 days. Any figure considerably longer than this should see you striking that agent off your list. Any quicker and they could be a good option.
Look for the agents SOLD boards and not their FOR SALE boards. Don’t choose your agent on how many FOR SALE boards they have. Quantity rarely means Quality.
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF SALES DO YOU AGREE, EXCHANGE AND COMPLETE FIRST TIME?
This is probably one of the most important questions that you need to ask potential estate agents. They should want to demonstrate that they carefully consider how to agree each good quality sale and aren’t tempted to simply close the deal as quickly as possible.
On average, national statistics show that a massive 36% of agreed sales fall through before completion. Therefore, you need to think carefully about the potential cost to you in terms of time, money and stress if your sale falls through in two months time.
DO YOU OFFER FREE PHOTOGRAPHY – SHOT BY AN ACTUAL PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER?
With virtually all buyers turning to the internet to search for property, it is now more important than ever that your estate agent presents your property in the best possible way so that it stands out in an active market.
Estate agents agree that most enquiries are generated from online marketing however very few agents actually invest in high quality photography.
DO YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE PREMIUM PROMOTION PRODUCTS AVAILABLE FROM RIGHTMOVE?
Few homeowners are aware that all estate agents have access to a heightened level of property promotion on the major portals such as RightMove and Zoopla – promotion which makes an individual property more visible to potential buyers.
In our experience, few agents invest in premium promotion products because it costs them more money and ultimately narrows their profit margin.
IF MY PROPERTY ISN’T UNDER OFFER WITHIN 4 WEEKS, WHAT WILL YOU DO?
This is a crucial question. Statistics from RightMove indicate that 70% of interest in a property comes in the first 2 weeks of marketing.
It is imperative therefore that your estate agent has a longer term sales plan and will actively keep your property ‘fresh’ rather than allowing it to stagnate.
DO YOU ACCOMPANY ALL VIEWINGS?
Many property owners are happy or even prefer to carry out viewings themselves. This is never advisable for the following reasons.
Firstly, you are paying an estate agent for this service. Buyers will be attracted to your property so you shouldn’t be expected to carry out viewings.
The estate agent is the trained sales expert and should know precisely how to pitch a property.
Buyers are likely to be more honest with an independent third party (the agent) but may feel obliged to be polite to you as the homeowner.
Property owners tend to say too much. A first viewing is an experience which usually appeals to emotions, with logic playing a bigger role in subsequent viewings. Often the only question a buyer will ask during the first visit is “Can I see myself living here?” The last thing they need is the owner describing every little detail about the house.
A good estate agent will want to give exceptional service. This naturally means that they will want to conduct all viewings personally.
WILL YOU ACT AS MY ‘BUYING AGENT’ TO HELP WITH MY NEXT PURCHASE?
Your estate agent is the property expert, the professional with a whole host of ‘insider’ tools and knowledge which they will use effectively in order to successfully negotiate an excellent purchase price for your house.
In our opinion however, that’s only half the battle. The other half comes in helping to get the keys to your next house. This includes supporting you with negotiations. By placing your agents between you and the person selling the property you want to buy, we can assure you there will be benefits, not least the potential of which can be significant cost savings.
This task involves the agent drawing upon all their skill and knowledge to help you negotiate the best possible price and terms for your next house.
HOW DO YOU INTEND ON MARKETING MY PROPERTY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Let’s face it, social media is huge. Your property can only benefit by being promoted through this platform.
Firstly, the value of your home isn’t determined by the agents opinion. It is determined by the buyers, so you should choose an agent who you think is going to maximise the value of your property and discuss the marketing price with you, based on everything we’ve mentioned so far.
Secondly, the fee is (or should be) irrelevant. As long as you choose an agent you trust and feel will do the most to help you achieve your end goal, the fee actually becomes less important. REMEMBER : THE CHEAPEST AGENT IS THE ONE WHO ACHIEVED THE HIGHEST PRICE FOR YOUR PROPERTY, NOT THE ONE THAT CHARGED THE LOWEST FEE.
Many clients have told us : “Even though I trusted Agent 1 more and could see their marketing was of a higher quality, I went with Agent 2 because they charged less and I thought it would save me money.” Ultimately these same clients were forced to change agents and reduce their price, costing them money and time.
Marketing costs money and this is essentially why the majority of agents don’t bother. Those with the lowest fee’s just simply cannot afford to provide this kind of service and therefore cannot promote YOUR property to the best possible standard.
If you would like more information about our sales, negotiating, marketing and other services please feel free to get in touch anytime on 01254 234242