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Helpful Tips To Moving.

There are, of course, many considerations to bear in mind when it is comes to selling what is probably your largest financial asset. Should I sell or find first? Which agent should I instruct? How much should I ask for my property? How should I present my property to achieve the best possible price? All relevant questions with many answers, therefore the following is a brief outline of our recommendations.

Should I Sell or Find First?

This is a question commonly asked of estate agents. Our advice remains almost constant – find a buyer before finding the house of your dreams. To do otherwise nearly always results in disappointment. Most sellers will be unwilling to take their house off the market until you have secured a sale, which could result in you missing out on your dream property.

It makes sense to first establish what you can afford, and that the accommodation you require is available within your price range. Check the internet, local newspapers and speak to estate agents in your preferred area of purchase. If it looks encouraging, get your house on the market.

With the challenging mortgage market it is important that you know how much you can borrow before starting your search. Lenders have changed their lending criteria – so it is important to confirm this.

Which Agent Should I Instruct?

There are a many estate agencies selling property in this area. When the time comes to sell your home how do you choose which one to appoint?
A good starting point is to find an agent who clearly understands the stresses involved in moving and who accepts that you are likely to want to sell your home quickly, with minimal hassle and at the best figure the market will pay.

Local expertise: Buyers prefer to work with local experts whom they regard as “in the know”, so choose a well-established local agent that really knows the area, rather than a corporate national chain with token representation in the area.

Valuation: Beware! Some agents deliberately over-value in order to impress you to secure your instruction. They subsequently put pressure on you to reduce your price when the property fails to sell. Conversely, there are agents who may deliberately under-value your home in order to secure a fast commission. Whilst you are likely to achieve a quick sale, you may well be considerably worse off than if you had appointed an agent with a realistic valuation policy.

The issue of correct valuation is paramount. If your property is too expensive, it is likely to take longer to sell, and will possibly go stale on the market, resulting in a sale at a price that is less than you might have received had the property been correctly valued initially. Lots of stress and less in your pocket!

• Buyers buy by comparison. If your property is too expensive, it will be compared with “better” homes being offered at the same figure. It will also be compared with properties offering similar accommodation to yours for a lower price. Either way, your house is unlikely to sell for as long as these better-value alternatives exist.

It is therefore critical that you appoint an agent who quotes a realistic figure in relation to properties that have actually been sold, preferably by them and one who also has a working knowledge of current buyer activity in the area.

• Commission: Because some sellers are unaware of the differences between agencies, they have no alternative than to decide whom to appoint on the level of commission charged. This is often a huge mistake and is a bit like buying a car purely on price considerations. All cars go from A to B, but the vast price differential is related to issues of quality, reliability and the whole driving experience.

The same is true of estate agents. Some “cheap” agents simply cannot afford to provide a level of service that is either effective or makes the selling experience hassle-free. For example, they are often the last firms to provide adequate staff training, post-offer support or weekend cover, resulting in missed offers and lower prices.

If an agent cannot defend his own fee income, how likely is he to defend your asking price? The net amount in your pocket is surely more important than the percentage fees charged by any particular agent and, as with anything, you tend to get what you pay for.

• Enthusiasm: If an agent is not enthusiastic about your property – do not instruct them. A positive approach to selling your home is essential if buyers are to be inspired into buying your home.

• Advertising: Make sure you choose an agent who extensively advertises properties similar to yours in the local press. Chances are that that agent will already have a large pool of buyers who enquired about other homes that are comparable to yours.

• Internet: The internet is a valuable tool for the modern estate agent, but do not be impressed by any “hit” claims. All web-enabled agents are exposed to many buyers but how well do they qualify those buyers when it comes to discussing your home? It is very easy for a “buyer” to register a passing interest. It takes a well-trained agent to identify those buyers who have a serious and pressing need to move. Find out how easy it is for buyers to use the agent’s property search facility by visiting their website yourself.

• Property Portals: Over 80% of buyers use the internet when looking for a property. So you need to be sure that your property is found and promoted – quickly and easily. An agent might have a great website, and that’s fine, but do they subscribe to the most effective property portals, because this is how buyers are directed to your property when they search using the search engines such as Google, Ask Jeeves, Excite or Yahoo. Three of the UK’s market-leading sites are Rightmove.co.uk, , Propertyfinder.com and Primelocation. Good agents list their clients’ property on one of these, but very few list on all. But if you want maximum coverage leading to more buyers and therefore the chance to achieve the very highest price for your home, then you really should use an agent who subscribes to these major portals.


• Viewings: Does the agent accompany all viewings? What about evenings and weekends? It is incredible that so few estate agents provide accompanied viewings. Apart from the obvious security issues, only when agents accompany buyers around a property can they probe, listen and understand what the buyer really wants. Agents who develop a picture of the buyers’ preferences, in addition to those few key ones that were registered, tend to have a much higher viewing/sale ratio and do not frustrate their clients with unsuitable viewers. Our policy is to accompany all buyers around a property wherever possible.

• Independence: Some agencies are owned and managed by large financial institutions that make more money from selling mortgages than they do selling properties. This may not be obvious from the name of the agency, but check out who owns them before making a decision to appoint them. We are 100% independently owned, and our focus is on the sale of our client’s property, although we can help with finance in order to smooth your sale.

• Sole Agency: Beware of agents who try to lock you into long sole agency agreements. You may get stuck with an agent who has lost interest in your sale.

• After-sales Service: Some agents think the sale is done when a buyer is found, and many a sale has been lost due to poor follow-up or inadequate liaison with surveyors or solicitors. Choose an agent that sees the sale right through to exchange and completion.

• Communication: Too many agencies only communicate good news! That’s easy! Good agents are in regular contact with their clients and can advise the vendor or a buyer’s response following each viewing. They also have the guts to advise you when improvements should be made in order to improve your chances of selling at the highest price.

• Ombudsman: Anyone can become an estate agent in this country without any qualifications or minimum service standards! Agents who wish to demonstrate their commitment to consumer protection will be members of the Ombudsman for Estate Agents scheme, which has a rigorous Code of Practice. The Ombudsman is independent and impartial and can listen to any complaints and award binding financial compensation without the expense and hassle of having to go through the courts.The sale of your property is too important to entrust to just anyone. So we recommend you choose an agent who is a member of the Ombudsman scheme.

• NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) Membership
One of the most important aspects to consider is whether your agent is a member of the National Association of Estate Agents, which sets down a stringent code of conduct and provides extensive training for its members.

• Financial Services
Make sure you appoint an agency that has close ties with a stable and efficient financial services provider who can help buyers with their funding. This can be pivotal in clinching a sale and making sure that it sticks! For more information about mortgages please click here

Ultimately, you are best served by choosing a locally based agent who holds values similar to your own. One who has time to listen, one who understands your needs and concerns, one who can offer real, straight-talking advice and one who takes pride in his/her integrity combined with a passion for results.

Needless to say, Proffitt & Holt not only fulfils, but also goes beyond many of the recommendations outlined in the above. You owe it to yourself to make the right choice. So when the time comes to sell, choose wisely. Choose Proffitt & Holt – Don’t just take our word for this, click on our What Our Clients Say page.



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