So you want to move?.. where do you start?
Where do I start?
SO you have decided to take the first steps…
It could be that you have seen something you like? Had a promotion at work? … whatever the reason sometimes knowing where to start the moving process can leave you struggling to see the wood for the trees.
Well firstly, you need to find out what your home is worth… The thing to remember here. You need to separate the agent you are going to use for “marketing” and the agent for valuation. At this stage we are just wanting an idea of the market value of your home.
Here I feel it is a good idea to get a mixture of local agents in, there is no doubt that a local agent is going to know the area well. However, it is important to know who you are inviting round knows the area well.
It is worth picking at least 3 agents (3 is a good idea). Ensure they are local, doesn’t have to be high street, however local is important.
When booking, make sure you ask “who” is coming to see you, it is good to know who it is coming to see you, it is best to get them all in on the same day. It should only take an hour, maybe 2 max. so it is worth booking them 2 hours apart to avoid any awkward ‘meet and greet’ between agents. (I promise you, it can be awkward).
TOP TIP – don’t let the agents know you are having other agents round, you want to keep the agents focus on you and the property, not the competition.
There are several ways to work out the value, an average will be helpful, however DO NOT get dragged in by the highest figure given. Although sometimes It can be correct, it isn’t always. So please be careful here.
An easy way to get a ‘ball park’ figure is to take each valuation, add them together and divide it by the number of valuations you had.
So an example, if a property is valued by 3 agents at £340,000, £350,000 and £355,000. It would go: 340,000 + 350,000 + 355,000 the divide by 3, which gives an average value of £348,333.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an exact science, but we are just talking “ball park” figures here.
It is vital to see evidence on where the valuation came from, it is no good if the agent comes in, licks his finger and sticks it in the air, and then taking a wild guess. You need to see hard facts & evidence along with figures. So, ensure that the agent goes through this with you. Do not be scared to question or ask for this information as the agent.
Now, after all this we should have a rough idea of a value of the property. The truth is we are not going to know an exact figure until it hits the market, however it gives us a great idea!
Onto the Next step.
So calling round 3 local agents is a great idea on the valuation, but out of them three you ideally want to get a mixture of high street and hybrid.
Just so we can cover the difference.
High street – these offer a traditional service, more often than not have a high street “shop”. They are very traditional and focus on traditional methods.
Hybrid – these are often based in an office away from the high street, they focus more on modern methods of marketing which is a combination of traditional and online marketing.
Once they have delivered the valuation they will go into their “pitch” …. There is no getting away that this is a well-rehearsed, process for them to cover. This being said there is some main things you need to check.
Where – where do they advertise, who do they advertise to, how do they advertise and why.
The plan – Do they have a marketing strategy, (sticking it on Rightmove doesn’t count!) – do they have a plan if it doesn’t sell? If so, what is that plan? When are the milestones to watch out for and what action to take?
Fact – and figures, some of these are vital to make sure the agent is going to perform well.
you want to know the average:
-Time on market – this is the average time from a property being listed to being sold, normally measured in days.
– Asking price achieved – you want to know the average price achieved on the ORIGINAL asking price, and not the normal asking price. This ensures the agent doesn’t regularly reduce properties.
-Average process time – this is an average date given from the point of agreeing a sale, to handing over the keys.
– Average amount negotiated – this is the average negotiation from a first offer, to the final offer.
These are massively important to check that the agent knows the figures (they should know it off hand as well as carry evidence of this) as well as checking their efficiency as an agent.
Photos, floorplans etc – does the agent take the photos themselves? Do they offer a floorplan? Or do they get a professional to take the photos. It is a good idea to check out how the agent presents properties on the portals, after all. That is where most of the enquiries will come from. Are they presented well? Or are they awful, over exposed photos, do they look like the jolly green giant have taken them? Overall, is their presentation good? Or average? It WILL make a difference.
Marketing calendar – this is a proposed calendar from the agent on what they will be doing and when to do with your proposed marketing. This shows a plan AND organisation.
Viewings – MAKE THEM DO IT! – you don’t ask a mechanic to change the exhaust on your car and expect to get your hands dirty. Let the agent do them, provide them with a key and pop out while viewings are going ahead.
Contacts – how long is their “tie in” period, if its anymore than 2 weeks say NO! – you have a 2 week ‘cooling off period’ with every contract, the contract is there for the agents benefit only, not yours. If they are confident of their service why do they need to keep you in a contract? … Is it their job to ensure you don’t want to go elsewhere? Or their job to make sure you cant?
Notice period – at the end of each contract there will be a “notice period”. This is a period in which you need to give to the agent to cancel the contract. Is varies from 14-21 days. But adds weeks to the contract. It should be no more than 48 hours any longer indicate they need time to try and sell it if you complain, it shouldn’t get to that stage.
We offer a great questionnaire which is great to go through, drop us an email on email@example.com and message through out facebook page for a copy!
SO. Now you have heard the pitch. The next question. Fee
The main thing I need to make clear here, THE CHEAPEST agent isn’t the agent with the lowest fee. The fee is completely irrelevant unless you sell….Its great going with a low 0.5% fee, but if you don’t sell it is pointless.
Lets say for example you went with a £2000 fee, because it was the lowest. And the most expensive was double this.
If you sit on the market and do not sell, the fee is pointless. But imagine, if I said to you. If you gave me another £2000 you could sell within a week? Would you? ….. the answer is, most likely.
Don’t forget, an agent is worth what they charge. With a cheaper agent comes cheaper marketing, cheaper budget but also CHEAPER STAFF! …. Good agent cost money, a lot of money and as a result they have to pay more, great marketing is not cheap, its comes with a cost.
Compare it to any other part of your life, do you want the cheapest available option? Or the option which best protects you and has maximum benefits to you?
A good agent will often negotiate you more money, meaning they often pay for themselves in just their negotiation skills, It doesn’t always guarantee the most expensive agent will have the world best negotiators, but you can almost be certain the more expensive have a better all-round package to offer.
I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the fee, just check the following.
– If your sale falls through is there a fee to pay (the answer SHOULD be no)
– If you decide you aren’t happy and go elsewhere, is their any fee to pay (the answer should be no).
– Is the fee ONLY due on completion (the answer should be yes)?
– Is VAT included? (the answer should be yes).
Now before you “pick” and agent. You need to make sure a couple of things.
1 – have you got a mobile number for that agent, you don’t want to be calling the office and leaving messages for them if they are out and about. You MUST have a mobile number, it may not seem important, but I promise you, if you do not get one, you will wish you had at some point.
2 – sleep on it, it isn’t a decision to take lightly and you have to be sure you are taking the right path, if it goes wrong it ‘could’ be costly.
3 – ONCE you have slept on it make a list of questions you want to ask, then invite them round again. Its unusual to come out twice but it makes sure they are consistent with what they say, but it is much better getting everything done face to face. A good rule, if it takes any longer than 60 seconds to discuss, it should be face to face.
4 – BEFORE you sign ANYTHING! Read it, read it again, and read it again. Be 100% sure and clear on what you are signing up to. IF you don’t like it discuss it with the agent. I hear so many stories where people don’t read the contract properly, and unfortunately, they have nobody to blame but themselves on that situation. Be sure, before signing anything.
5 – book everything, the photos, the launch, first viewing day, everything, get it noted in the diary.
Once all of that is done, your ready to go!
If you have any questions, id love to answer them! You can get me on firstname.lastname@example.org