Choosing your Estate Agent should be an Investment
A client who recently sold her second property with us, left a very nice review on Google which finished with the line ” For me choosing an excellent agent is an investment that has paid real returns (twice) ” This sentence really resonated with me, especially as I have battled with two potential new customers this week over the fees we charge.
Let me paraphrase one conversation in particular:
Seller – How much are your fees?
MK – 1.25% plus VAT
Seller – You are joking right? That is way too much – XYZ agents said they would do it for £1500 all in
MK – How much did they value the property at?
Seller – £260,000
MK – Well, I am definitely the cheaper agent, as I believe I can get you £270,000 and even paying me 1.25% you will be still over £5000 better off selling with me.
I could go on, but the point I was trying to make is many customers get hung up on the fee, rather than looking at the bigger picture and how much money they are going to come out with at the end of the transaction.
A lot of the blame for this comes down on the industry itself. Over the years, agents have been terrible at marketing themselves and explaining what they actually do for clients. Therefore, the perception has been estate agents are all super slick salespeople in shiny suits, driving flash cars with no morals and just in it for the easy money. Everything has been free – free valuations, no sale no fee and in the absence of any perceived value, what other metric have house sellers had to use other than price?
The other thing is in other countries where real estate agents are highly respected, such as the USA or Australia and charge fees of upwards of 5% to sell, is they are licenced or qualified. In this country anybody can open as an estate agent without qualification or experience, although the Government are currently planning on introducing licencing for agents in the UK, but they have other more pressing matters to deal with at the moment, so this could be a few years away yet.
Price and Value are not the same thing
The lack of defined value, is why the likes of Purple Bricks and other such luminaries, sprung up. Purple Bricks were very clever, seizing on the public’s disdain for agents and highlighting, if not always totally truthfully the flaws in many agent’s service – their lack of investment in technology, 24/7 availability, high street premises costs, lack of transparency over fees and of course, basically telling people anybody can sell houses and we will do it at a fraction of the cost.
But as time has gone on and many of the new world players have bitten the dust, some even converted back to extolling the virtues of high street agency! others frantically borrowing from investors to stay afloat without any sign of providing a return on the investor’s money and the selling public increasingly coming to the realisation that you get what you pay for or once an agent has your money, where’s their incentive to fight to achieve the best price possible for you? The high street and other new models have come fighting back.
Agents forced to up their game
If nothing else Purple Bricks has made other agents up their game and really start to demonstrate their value to sellers, with improved use of technology, creating personal brands, investing in training for both the business owners and staff, demonstrating clear value on video and in blogs, more creative marketing on Facebook and other social media platforms and many agents doing tremendous work in their local communities. This has helped home sellers identify with the people involved and started to create a better understanding of what good agents really do for their clients.
But ultimately it come’s back to the giving sellers the best possible experience and putting the most money in their pockets at the end of the transaction. A low-cost budget agent will most likely find a buyer for your property but is there any real incentive to achieve a premium price and they are not usually too keen to manage the sale through to completion! For a good established agent, it is in the blood, doing deals and trying to maximise the return on every seller client’s biggest tax- free asset and managing the sale through to completion.
Selling and not just order taking
And it’s not just the money – if I get someone another £10,000 above what they were expecting to achieve, it’s worth £125 to me, which is hardly going to keep us in business alone, but it is just ingrained in the best agents, with unrivalled local knowledge, those who know the streets that a buyer will pay a premium for or the school catchments that add value to local properties and is in constant contact with their database of buyers, so when a property comes available they instantly know, who might pay a premium for the property as opposed to just waiting for a list of faceless Rightmove e-mail enquiries to come in! That’s not selling in my book, that is simply order taking.
If you were investing a sum of your hard earned money, you would get the best advice possible – not go to the cheapest online company and gamble with your money, so why would you not choose a top class property professional to look after your house sale, protect and maximise your investment and help you move home with the most money in the bank afterwards!?
If you are thinking of selling now or in the future in the Cheadle area and would like an informal chat or have any questions, please contact me on 0161 428 3663 or e-mail email@example.com
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