Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Brexit. No apologies for using the word, because sadly, there’s no escape. The endless political shenanigans are having a significant, and not altogether positive, impact on the property sector. It’s all to do with uncertainty. In a world where the one thing we crave is a sense of security - of knowing where we stand - certainty is in pretty short supply. The property sector has clearly been suffering an attack of the vapours and has been reaching for the smelling salts.
The result of this general malaise is, as you’d expect, a ‘softening’ of the market. Brexit uncertainty has pushed the UK property market to its weakest level for many a year. Prices are either static or slipping back a fraction. Price falls have been most noticeable in London, the South East and East Anglia. In the South West, the North East and our corner of the Midlands, prices remain broadly flat.
So how about you? Are you looking to put your property on the market? You’ll find that, perhaps since last time you checked, the competition has ramped up. If you find yourself in the seller’s bear-pit, it’s more important than ever to price your property right. This will give you an early advantage and, when the time comes for negotiation, you’ll be in pole position.
How do you give your property the best possible chance of selling quickly and for the best possible price? Well, there’s good news. It’s true, achieving your goal won’t be easy. You won’t be putting up a For Sale sign after breakfast and agreeing a sale by tea-time. But, there are steps you can take towards achieving your target price.
It begins with selecting the right agent - and this bit won’t surprise you - an agent with local experience, expertise and an unrivalled reputation for customer service.
You’ll have heard the adage - ‘you get what you pay for’. This is never more true than in the Estate Agency sector. National chains and online-only estate agents may promise the earth? But can they deliver what their aggressive marketing campaigns and target-driven listers promise?
Certainly, until recently, when a ‘seller’s market’ prevailed, it may have been tempting for vendors to go for the agent that would offer the highest valuation and the lowest fee. But now that the market has turned the other way? Well, it’s a different story. Fixed, low agents’ fees may have instant appeal. But - what kind of service will you receive? How committed will an online estate agency or an estate agent from a national chain be, once they’ve signed you up on a lengthy sole agency agreement or after receiving your up-front fee? Will they be committed to getting your property sold quickly and at the right price? Or will they simply be focused on signing up the next client - banking their next slice of commission, earned from just listing your property?
Also, beware of hidden extras - possible additional costs for viewings, premium listings, photography, sale boards, portal listings (Rightmove, Zoopla, etc.), floor plans. All these and more can make the price you finish up paying, far in excess of the one advertised. Then there’s the VAT. Oddly enough, many agents fail to mention that this isn’t included in their advertised price.
Another big difference between estate agents is the level of service you will receive. In their marketing, many might stress that you’ll be dealing with ‘real people’. Funny that - because last time I looked around our office, that’s exactly who we have working with us - real people! What’s more, we’re real people who are local to Birmingham and who enjoy an intimate knowledge of the area - a knowledge that no online, call centre based agent could ever match.
An online agent may argue that their 24/7 telephone availability places them at an advantage over traditional estate agencies. Fine, but you’ll be dealing with a random call centre rep, rather than a dedicated consultant with an intimate knowledge of your needs and your property.
Do you really want one of the biggest transactions of your life to be handled by a faceless individual at the end of the phone? Call an independent estate agent at three in the morning and you’re unlikely to get a reply. But - instruct them to sell your property and you’ll hopefully enjoy a personal, dedicated and effective service.
In the world of property, word travels fast. No self-respecting, independent estate agent would risk their local reputation just to gain a quick sale. They have become ‘established’ for a reason. Working with a single focus, they are dedicated to customer service; committing to smoothing away as much of the house-selling hassle as possible - selling properties fast. And at the right price.
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