Managing your own property sale without the aid of an estate agent is not for everyone. Despite massive potential savings in fees and VAT, the major attraction of employing an agent for many people is the perception that they will take care of everything.
This includes tasks such as drafting professional property particulars with photos, promoting the house to the market (particularly getting it listed on Rightmove.co.uk), handling enquiries from buyers, vetting purchasers, accompanying viewings, negotiating a sale and steering it all to a successful completion.
Some agents will do all this brilliantly. But the reality for many sellers is that they still end up devoting a lot of their own time.
This starts when you invite three or four local agents to value your home, and then appoint one of them whilst fending off aggrieved calls from the unlucky runners-up. Then before your house goes on the market, you will need to check and if necessary amend the draft details.
More time will be spent taking calls from the agent to agree times for viewings, and possibly being present for viewings and answering buyers’ questions, followed later by long discussions with the agent about viewers’ negative ‘feedback’. When an offer is forthcoming, more time needs to be devoted to negotiating the agreed sale price via the agent. There then follows a period of weeks or months anxiously chasing the agent and the solicitors trying to ascertain how far the sale has progressed. That’s a lot of hours of your precious time.
A good agent is one who manages the whole process on their clients’ behalf, and regularly communicates with them. But in many cases it could be simpler to deal with your buyer direct. Communicating on a one-to-one basis is usually easier than a ménage à trois. A triangular relationship means prospective buyers phone the agent who then phones you, often leaving messages for which calls need to be returned.
The really time-consuming part of the process is conducting viewings, which is why most agents try maximise profitability by getting sellers – their clients – to handle this themselves as much as possible. So the estate agent’s role is reduced to simply booking suitable times for buyers to visit. Sometimes to reduce costs weekly group viewings are arranged instead of individual viewings.
It’s also widely assumed that agents will ‘do the paperwork’ and look after the legal side of things. But agents have no legal qualifications and staff are often unqualified and low paid, and in some cases the quality of service can be poor. So it’s perfectly possible for agency tasks to be undertaken by private home owners – because in many cases you end up doing much of this anyway.
Our next blog – coming soon ……
Selling privately (continued)
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