No sooner had your local regulated Estate Agent amended all of their promotional material to include the new Ombudsman Logo (as requested by them because the Logo was immensely important to the service the Estate Agent delivered) do we now have a new regulatory body which has superseded the Office of Fair Trading for all property sale compliance. Clients and Customers alike are now advised to visit the Citizens Advice Bureau if they believe they have been unfairly treated or even mis-sold property under new regulations. From last month the OFT and Competition Commission merged to form the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). This body now enforces, by law, consumer protection regulations governing house sales.
The most interesting part of this regulation would be the disclosure of information by the agent to a buyer regarding any information that is known that may affect a buyers decision. No more Caveat Emptor for the agents to rely on then! No more painting over the cracks or only attending viewings when the neighbours dog’s are asleep! Let’s be realistic about this…
It’s simple common sense and integrity that needs to be applied by the seller, the agent and the buyer.
What matters to one buyer doesn’t necessarily matter to another. Maybe our buyer owns a noisier dog. Maybe our buyer wants to buy a dilapidated property. As long as the price reflects it and the survey is agreeable then we are all aware and understanding. The protection is for the consumer against those individuals and agents hiding serious issues that the buyer should have been made aware of. If a survey reveals serious detrimental information and a sale falls through then of course, surely, any further sale must account for this knowledge. That’s common sense and a lack of themis what these regulations should be applied to.
I’ve been to a fair few weddings in recent years and one thing that they all seem to have in common nowadays is a professional photographer. The kind that turns up with lots of equipment, charges a high fee, takes literally hundreds of photos, steals the bride & groom for hours on end to take dozens of portrait shots, and even stays for the evening do to get snaps of everyone doing their bit on the dance floor. Why do all couples go down this route? Why do they pay through the nose for a professional when all of the guests have got their own digital cameras anyway?
Probably because it’s the most important day of their lives and these are the most important and memorable life photos they will want to cherish! Can you imagine the look of horror on the bride’s face if the photographer turned up and started taking pictures with his mobile phone?
Chatting to a homeowner recently I was astonished to find out that his Estate Agent had done just that. He turned up at the property and began photographing each room with his Motorola. If this isn’t acceptable at a wedding then how can it be acceptable when selling a property worth £00000s? The photos are THE most important marketing tool that homeowners have nowadays to help them sell their house. They MUST be taken by a professional who has the right equipment and knows how to use it! Poor photos will knock many thousands of pounds off the value of a house in the long run.
At Elizabeth Davenport, our photographers have the very best equipment and most importantly they have received extensive training in how to take good photos. This means that our marketing details are of a higher standard and our properties sell more quickly and for higher prices. Call us today for a free valuation on 02476 010105.
Last week we placed a prestigious property onto the market in a coordinated effort to achieve the very best price possible. Both ourselves and another Estate Agent met the client independently before sharing information in a considered meeting. We had contrasting opinions to the other agent about a few different aspects of the potential sale but the vendor, prior to the instruction had heard both viewpoints and wanted maximum exposure. Sometimes, if Estate Agents work together honestly, the client can benefit from a “Joint Agency” instruction. The problem is not many do because not many Estate Agents work well together.
This is very much a contrasting story to other “Multiple Agency” experiences we have witnessed. Thankfully due to our speed of sale, we have not seen others agent instructed after ourselves, but we have begun marketing at the tail end of another’s agency period and this has led to complications for our sellers.
Despite instructions from their clients to the contrary, these Agents have not removed the properties from their own websites, Rightmove or shop windows. The result of these practices in Coventry are that “Multiple Agency” simply confuses potential buyers and leads to unsympathetic and reduced offers at best. At worst the buyers look elsewhere entirely. What the client should remember is that if their home has been on the market without offers then something is wrong. When this is the case, a fresh pair of eyes and ears can be the start of a successful new beginning rather than a prolonged sense of disappointment.
Continuing to employ the Agent who hasn’t achieved what they promised to achieve really does does not solve anything. Thankfully the quality of our brochures, photography and I.T systems have allowed us to continue our number one ranking for Speed of Sale and Click Through rates during these “multiple agency” excursions and have seen properties that have sat unloved for many months sell for asking prices after multiple viewings.
The case for selling your property through an established locally based Estate Agent has been given extra credence recently with the announcement that TV’s Sarah Beeney had re-launched her “free to list” property portal as an “Online Estate Agent”.
Beeney’s website “Tepilo” had been launched several years ago with the strapline “Ditch the Estate Agent”. After 4 years of failure, the embarrassing about-turn meant that in effect she became an Estate Agent herself. Tepilo now charges £912 up-front to list a property and this is their “Best Value Deal” (this generously includes a For Sale board, photography, a floor-plan and a rightmove premium listing). The £912 is paid before you go on the market and is non-returnable if you don’t find a buyer.
Let’s think about it carefully. You hand over 912 (nine hundred and twelve) of your hard earned notes to an “Online Estate Agent” based at the other end of the country and they upload your property details to their website. You have already given them their fee so what is the resulting motivation for them to find you a buyer?
ANSWER: Big Fat Zero. You might as well put your money down the drain!
By contrast if you market your property through Elizabeth Davenport Estate Agents you get all of the above, PLUS you get professional bespoke brochures, accompanied viewings AND you get expert local knowledge on setting the correct asking price for your property. We will be highly motivated to find a buyer because that’s how we earn our fee. You don’t pay us a penny until the day the property is sold. Now that’s what I call a great deal!
Call us today for expert, honest, free advice on selling your property.
Every House Will Sell. Put quite simply, every property has a market value and can be sold in a matter of days or weeks. This may sound incredible, especially if you have been on the market for months (or even years) but it is absolutely true.
On Saturday this week we agreed a sale on another property that had been unsuccessfully marketed for many months with another agent. It was a lovely home. Definitely a property worth more than the square footage it presented, the house was certainly a difficult one to value. Many are. If they are then the key is to not let them “sit” on the agents books. The agent can’t be allowed to forget your property and just wait for interest. That interest won’t come. Proactive agents have the ability to engage new interest and they need to be on the ball to do this. We sold the house for a price the owners were happy with and the buyers were also delighted.
If a property is stuck on the market then it is for one of three reasons. Firstly, the vendor is not motivated to sell, secondly the property has not been marketed correctly (i.e poor marketing, brochures, presentation, lack of information etc) or thirdly the property is not being advertised at the right price. There is no other reason why a home will not sell.
Bad neighbours, busy roads, railway lines through the garden, poor decoration, old fashioned kitchens, not enough bedrooms, pink bathroom suites, unfinished extensions, holes in roofs, lack of parking, too many bedrooms, no heating system, poor location……………………….. THESE ARE NOT VALID REASONS FOR A PROPERTY TO BE STUCK ON THE MARKET. They are simply factors that negatively affect the value of a property.
So if you have a property that has been stuck on sale for a long time and you think it’s not selling because of the motorway at the bottom of the garden, think again. Look at the three reasons and work through them. Your property will sell with an agent who cares.
Sometimes when you meet the right people opportunities arise that enable your business to move in a direction quicker than you anticipated! George and I met Ian Shaw, an experienced financial consultant and we got on even before he explained the full capacity and opportunities his business offered. Ian has the ability to independently search over 5000 mortgage products for potential clients, many of which, due to his companies partnership with Legal and General are unique to their company.
Crystal Clear Financial Planning can meet our customers and those we introduce, at our clients convenience, whatever the time or location. The research and proposal of a suitable mortgage for our clients will cost nothing. Ian, together with Graeme Lewis and the director Darren Burdis all follow our companies “Client and Customer First” ethos. Buying a house is not about us and it’s not about them. Buying a house is about the customer and selling a house is about our client. We don’t want to push a mortgage in front of our customers.
We are Estate Agents (I tried to think of another title but I suppose I can’t completely reinvent the wheel!) and we have no interest in which mortgage product you choose. We simply want what is best for you. The way to do that is to offer you the ability to discuss financial matters with a truly independent expert who can listen, advise and satisfy your needs.
A common discussion with absolutely no rights or wrongs is the value of a “For Sale” or “To Let Board” at your home. “To Let” Boards are more straightforward as the emotional factor of telling your neighbours and the passing public that your house or a house you own is “available” is far less relevant. The percentage of owner occupiers renting there own home is obviously less than the number of investment properties on the market. The issue regarding security though may still be a relevant one. If the property you own is empty then does a board signal “Empty! Easy Opportunity”. Well, Ne’er-do-wells don’t burgle empty houses. So a Board does not a burglary make. These security issues are the most common negatives that a seller or buyer will concerned about, and quite fairly too.
The positives though can of course can be great. Desirable areas will lead potential buyers to drive around and research where they hope to live. If there is no “For Sale” board then they may not see your house. No matter how impressive the brochures and web details, no one should buy a home without seeing it in the light of day. A “For Sale” Board isn’t just helpful for the seller of course. It’s an immensely powerful marketing tool for the Estate Agent too. If your agents For Sale boards are faded, in bad repair or remain fallen down or broken, what does this say about them as well?
Some clients this week have raised the issue that previous Estate Agents did not undertake their own viewings and instead relied on the owners to perform them instead. On paper this opinion looks a fair one. Certainly when Estate Agents fee’s are as considerable as they are, the Agent should be doing everything possible to sell there Vendors home’s as effectively. There is no hard and fast rule in this regard though. I had a chat with my Mum about this as well and although they have always used Estate Agents to sell their houses, Mum always undertook her own viewings by choice (I’d like to state they haven’t moved since I have been in the business but watch this space!). Not only did she do this but my parents homes always sold very quickly.
You see sometimes, but not always, the owner can make an impression that the Estate Agent cannot. The Estate Agent can present in the third person how a family “could” feel in a house or what fun “could” be enjoyed in such a lovely home where the owner, if confident and willing, can present a “do feel” and “do enjoy” sensibility. This, allied with the fact that the applicant may well have viewed countless other houses by Estate Agents who simply opened a door and let you look, would present a much more attractive proposition to them. So the answer here is that if the seller is confident, comfortable and able, they can do as good a job if not a better one than even a good Estate Agent. If they are not, then the viewing representative employed by the Estate Agent must be knowledgeable, courteous, understanding and as good a listener as possible. This is how relationships develop and when your first meeting with an Estate Agent is through a viewing appointment, the Estate Agent is certainly responsible for making it a positive one.
A potential Client dropped into our Office yesterday and we had a pleasant chat. As a home owner and developer he certainly knew the trials and tribulations of the industry and offered an interesting perspective on the services many Estate Agents provide in the City. He was frank which made the conversation easy. The subject of Estate Agent Fee’s and the justification of them was his main area of concern. He expressed no loyalty to any Estate Agent in particular. As the service levels fluctuated so wildly and the fees they charged, even for below stamp duty properties, were often excessive, he kept trying new agents.
I explained, clearly I hope, how every business has a point which they cannot reduce fees or services below and the question to ask is not “How Much Do You Charge?” but “What Do I Get for My Fee’s”. It was certainly obvious to my guest that “Service” was his issue, not just “Fee”.
I showed him an array of sold properties, in our office and also the fees we charged. I showed him the brochures and floor plans that we invest in for each property, I discussed the way we undertake feedback whilst the viewings are taking place and he made it obvious that the fees we charged were way below the image we portray. “I’ll be certain to tell my family and friends”, he stated, “We just presumed you’d be a lot more expensive”.
What we offer is the very best presentation and sale of your home at a price that others may charge for a nonchalant service. When instructing an agent, ask not “What Price?” but “What Do I Get for The Price I Pay?”. We’d be delighted to show you and think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
For want of paraphrasing Roy Bartell, a marketing author and influential sales speaker of note, “Most people think “selling” is the same as “talking”. The most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job”. Well, this week, I think I’ve been victim of possibly
“listening” more than “talking”. Twice, potential sellers have been let down from securing there ideal home because they are not yet on the market. Twice, despite polite advice, have two vendors expressed there disappointment that the home they wanted to buy has been sold to proceed able purchasers.
At the valuation stage of my job and having explained and offered examples of why this scenario was likely to occur the client presumably thought “He would say that, he wants to sell my house!”. I think the mistake we see here is that of “generalization”.
The reality in retail, whether it be an Estate Agent selling a house, a Sales Advisor selling a Car or my Father selling Bedroom Furniture, is that the “seller” must overcome the customers preconception that all they want to do is “Sell!”. The “seller”, in this instance the seller of a service, must be aware that the customer (vendor) does not initially trust their intentions. Sometimes this is clearly valid. Many Estate Agents have targets to meet and bonus’s to earn whether they sell a house or not. At Elizabeth Davenport we do not earn individual commissions, we are not driven to achieve a high level of instructions to please the “management” or achieve a “target”. The only way we can earn is by selling our clients properties. The advise we give is genuine advice but on rare occasions it only reveals itself as truthful when what could happen, unfortunately does happen.