by Mark Johnston
Choosing an estate agent can be fraught with risk, it is therefore vital that sellers look at a variety of agents before deciding on one.
Commission charged by agents varies between 1% and 2% of the property value, but sellers should try to look for a ‘no sale, no fee’ agreement. It is also worth finding out if you can move to another agent if you are not happy with the service they have provided, as being bound in to an unsuccessful partnership can be both frustrating and expensive.
Once a home owner has narrowed their choice of agents down to around 3, the agents should then visit the property and recommend an asking price. This is a chance to ask them how they plan to market the property and where do they advertise.
Viewings are also worth clarifying at this stage. A home owner may either wish the agent to show prospective buyers around the property or have them present when they show buyers around. Either way it is worth making sure agents understand exactly what you want.
Estate agents generally cost around a 0.75% to 2.5% plus VAT, depending on how well a potential seller can negotiate. Finally before signing up with estate agent check the small print.
Once a seller has signed a contract with an estate agent they should start to get the home ready for viewings to give the property the best chance of selling. Remember first impressions always count.
Home owners should give their property at least 6 months on the market before worrying about the fact it has not sold.
If the property is not selling, sellers should ask their agents why and what the feedback was from viewings. If a survey had revealed a problem that may have led to a buyer renegotiate or pull out of an offer, it would be worth considering getting the repairs done.
Other questions that might be wise to ask at this point are:
– could the agent ‘freshen up’ the property details?
– does the price need reducing?
Potential buyers are looking for a good deal in the same way the sellers are.
However once an offer has been received sellers should then be prepared to negotiate. Whilst haggling is frustrating it is part of the process of getting the price you need for the property.
It is worth remembering that the home owner does not have to sell to the highest bidder, a lower bidder may be better if they:
– are paying in cash
– already have a mortgage agreed in principle
– do not have to sell a property first
– are in a short chain
– can fit in to timescales better than other buyers
Once an offer has been accepted a home owner may also be asked to take the property off the market. This is entirely the home owners decision, but if they do decide to do this it is worth mentioning that if the sale has not progressed after 2 weeks the property will go back on to the market.
At this stage there is still no legal obligation to sell.
Story link - A Guide to Selling Your Property Part 2
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