Posted by Angus Williams, Partner
Why should you avoid quick-sale estate agents?
The creation of online search portals for buying homes was a game changer for people looking to buy a house but it also changed the landscape for estate agents. But has this change marked an improvement in how we buy and sell houses?
A tide of volume-based agencies sprung up and the business model of agency had a new side. It was now possible to cover a large geographical area without any real local knowledge, relying on attracting clients with low commissions and then hoping that they could turn over enough volume to create profit. They could market themselves as everything an agent should be but for a low price. In reality that is not the case and often buyers and sellers find themselves frustrated at the lack of market knowledge, the inability to communicate with their agent and the general poor level of relationship service. A further wave of agents have recently come to life that will sell the idea of being able to sell your home faster than any other agent; this comes at a price.
In order to sell your home fast without any knowledge of the local market the only aspect an agent can play with is the price. If you sell any valuable product for less than it is worth, it will sell quickly. January sales, Black Friday – these are all examples of how quickly products will sell when the sale price is below their perceived value – homes are no different. People can be averse to paying fees to estate agents and will try and seek the cheapest option but that doesn’t mean they are better value and a bad agent could cost you many thousands of pounds through bad negotiation or advice.
Getting your agent to work for you
Of course it may be the case that a motivated seller would accept a lower offer in order to facilitate a quick sale but you should stay away from agencies that claim to specialize in selling properties quickly as what they are really saying is that they specialise in selling homes for less than market value – that doesn’t quite have the same marketing pull though does it? What you really want from your estate agent is one that can confidently say they will get the best price possible for you given your personal circumstances.
An estate agent should be your agent, they are representing you and your interests. In order to do that effectively they need to know you and what you are trying to achieve. Volume-based agencies do not have the time or desire to do this. They are not looking to build a relationship with their clients. They want to, and indeed need to, get your property sold and off the books as quickly as possible – achieving the best deal for you is not as important as getting the best deal for them.
Quick sales could mean lost opportunity
In order to get the property sold, they may advise you to lower the asking price far beyond what is necessary. Yes, it may sell fast but at what cost to you? Remember that they are gambling with your money, not theirs. Your home is the most valuable asset that you will ever own and it may have taken you a lifetime to accumulate the wealth to buy it. Don’t let a quick sale agent wipe out a huge amount of your life’s earnings in order to improve their own balance sheet.
Estate agency is more than just taking a few pictures, listing your home on rightmove or the equivalent website, opening the door and waiting for it to sell. The best agencies know that building a relationship with their clients is a long term prospect and takes more than just a one-off quick sale.
Go and speak to the well-known and long standing agents in your area if you want to sell your home, there is a reason they have been there so long and that is not because they look for quick one off deals.
If you would like to discuss the sale or purchase of a property, you can contact Tim on
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