Sunday, 16 January 2011

Finding the right Estate Agent

A few months ago I set out to find the best way to market a large Barn Conversion I built and hope to sell.

With over 30 years experience in all aspects of residential property I felt I’m best placed to do viewings and negotiations with potential buyers.

Understanding the need to maximise presentation and appeal to the widest market I located a good Property Stylist, Helen Silver  to help me. I just needed to find the right Estate Agent to get exposure to the market via Zoopla, FindaProperty, RightMove and possibly Primelocation.

I asked friends, family, colleagues and contacts through Social Media and I talked to local and online Estate Agents.  What I discovered was not what I expected.

There was a gap in the market in Exeter, my area – no Agent really fulfilled my very demanding requirements so I wrote a blog  here This triggered a chain reaction and in no time I had a short list of potential Agents to work with – those who cared passionately enough to embrace the challenges and take time out to talk about it.  Two of them were Online Agents and two were High Street Agents with an Online presence.  All were persuasive and impressive and offered varying levels of service.

In the end I not only opted for a small High Street Agency in the best location of Exeter City with an Online presence but also started negotiations about working for them in 2011 to help introduce some of my suggestions.
These are a few of the reasons for my choice:-

1.  I learned that some Buyers don’t really want to meet the Vendor let alone negotiate with them. Others are happy to meet the Vendor but prefer to have preliminary discussions at viewing and negotiations with the Agent.  Vendors can be very emotional and defensive about their properties.

2. The Agent must be able to reassure people about any observations or issues raised in a viewing or survey – a Vendor doesn’t carry as much weight in the eyes of a Buyer and they might be suspicious of the advice and information supplied.

I have experience of this when a Surveyor incorrectly reported on a property I was selling. The Buyer wouldn’t listen to me even though I knew every nut & bolt of the building, they did listen to the Agent who came out to view the problem and report back that it was the Surveyor’s error. The sale proceeded and all was well.

3. The high street Agents had a network of contacts in the area (other Sales and Letting Agents, Solicitors, Accountants, Financial Advisors, Investors, Builders, Developers etc) and seemed better placed to know who is around looking for properties like mine. 

4. The smaller high street Agent was very ‘HUNGRY’ for my business, having more overheads to cover than the ‘pay upfront’ fee takers.  He also demonstrated a passion, enthusiasm and energy that I didn’t find in the larger Corporate Agencies.

5. An Estate Agent is under an obligation to promptly deal with any ‘emergencies’ that might crop up eg burst pipes, break-ins etc – even if you’re not contactable, if neighbours report something your Agent will have to respond.  I found the local Agent was better placed to deal with situations like this quickly.

6. Some Buyers still like to see the face of the Agent they’re dealing with and some prefer to work with certain agents they and/or their families know and trust.

7. I chose an Agent that has both Lettings and Sales offices as they can refer people from one side of the business to the other. If an Agent has a database of tenants they have a pool of potential buyers too.

I may still use one of the Online Agents alongside my chosen High Street Agent as I believe both have merit and the costs are not prohibitive, but the latter has my biggest vote right now.


sam said...

Great blog Jo. Just goes to show how when things aren't quite what you want - you can "make" them as you want. Postive actio - go girl!

Jo King said...

Thanks Sam

It' something we always told our daughter when she was doing her Sustainability Masters and she was frustrated by the lack of commitment so many large organisations showed to 'Sustainability' - we told her to 'get in there and change it' - so I had to lead by example didn't I?


james broad said...

It is really very informative. Thanks for sharing.

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