Wednesday 3 February 2016

When Selling Your House... Part 2 Estate Agents

Picture from here 
This is purely from our own personal experience and I am sure everyone out there has had different and very unique experiences.  This is ours and you should get as much information as possible before selling your most valuable asset.  

Estate agents used to be necessary to selling your house.  Some people dislike them, us, we do still use them, I've found their personal touch, to me, meeting them and building a rapport of great advantage, to our end goal of a sale.

We did try selling through an online company once ourselves, but living in an area where there was a lot of shift work I could never be home during the day to show people the house.  This did not suit us at that time.  In saying that, the last 6 of our houses have been bought by people, that I have shown around the house.  lol  maybe I should be an estate agent?  joking, I would be like Kirsty Allsop, "Knock this wall down, push the kitchen out... ".  Never say never but I doubt we would go that route again.  Nothing wrong with it, I have 3 friends who have sold through purple bricks, and all are very happy with the sevice.

Having a quick look today and what we have been told previously, High Street estate agents will charge you anything from 5% (the most exclusive estate agents), to the ones trying it on at 3%, the normal being 1.5 ot 1.7%.  When we have people around, we wait for them to look at the house and let them value the house.  We have 4 come and appraise the house for us.  In our previous location we returned to the same estate agent, actually the man himself as he moved from the estate agency and went to a new one.  We felt that we could trust him to push for people to come around and then to gather any possible opinions if there was anything that put a buyer off and that we could sort out, and to not harass for an offer but give them enough time to think about an offer.

Some times we have been harassed as soon as we got out of the door and then what felt like every 2 hours for our offer.  It puts you off.  

As we knew that estate agent and that we always price our houses keenly, we haggle and the last 3 houses we have paid 0.75%.  Each house sold - under offer the first week, 2 on the first day, one on an open house at the nearest weekend to when we had it put on the internet and the last one, sold to someone who had seen the house the same day we viewed it to buy, but didnt feel they could tackle all of the work.  The sign went up and they contacted the estate agent.  Each time they hadnt even printed the brochure.

  • point one is therefore, find someone who you feel has some rapport.  
  • point two haggle over the fee, if you really think your house will sell straight away, I dont think there is anything wrong in haggling.  What is the worst they can do?  Say no?  Got to be worth it right.  I know it is un-British to talk about money, but every saving is needed.
You have chosen your estate agent.  They will email you a proof of the house particulars.  Now this, PAY HUGE ATTENTION TO.  Get that?  HUGE ATTENTION.  Do not read it on the screen, print it out, it is easier to find spelling mistakes and you can scribble all over it adding or taking things away.  

Things to add in, catchment areas to good schools, there bang, your house just went up in value and desirability.  What else?  Closeness to parks, these are important to people with children and dogs.  Views?  get that in there.  Lots of people want to grow their own food even if it is a token veg bed, get that in there.  Make a list of good things.  If you know that your house is in an area of retirees, mention closeness to Dr, hospitals, on the level and bus stop x amount away.  Also important is to include "has a spacious 5 car drive", if you have a driveway, high light this.  And make sure your listing on the internet includes that you have "parking", that is a selection button, that people can click on.  You dont want to miss out.

Now, pictures.  Pictures tell a thousand words.  The pictures will be both on your particulars and also on the internet.  You are selling to an audience who may not even be in this country.  We found this house whilst we were in Thailand.  Pictures should show how big the rooms are.  There are tell tells when they have been adjusted or if they have used a fish eye lens - the walls will curve at the sides... 

You are free to take your own pictures if you think yours are better than the estate agents.  Your estate agent may even offer the service of a professional house stager and photographer.  This will be worked into your fee.

Small box room or bathroom, take the door off, to take the picture.  Yes, I really just said that.  

Remember how I said to clean in the previous post on selling.  Clean some more before the pictures are taken.  We have all seen the houses online, where there is washing on a radiator, plates at the side of a sink.  Kids toys all over the floor.  One or 2 toys in the picture of a play room sets the scene.  Little Jonny's toys all over a small lounge floor, equals that there is no room in the house.  

Beds should be made, I iron the duvet cover whilst it is on the bed again to make sure it is tidy.  Valances for over the divan box.  They were invented for a reason, they look a damn sight better than those dingy material covers they staple to the frame.  Its like underwear, cover it up. (Remember, you are selling your most valuable asset, pretend you are a shop, everything should be ready at any minute for someone to view. )

If you have a large garden, make sure it is tidy and get at least 2 pictures of it, if something is mentioned in the particulars, for instance a summer house or green house, get a picture of this in the wider view.

One for the men.  Although most people say that women are the drive behind moving most of the time.  you still have to get the men interested.  If you have a garage or a workshop, make sure there are pictures of these inside.  both angles.  Make note of cupboards or if you have specialist electrics in there.  I saw one on the internet that Posh Boy was most impressed with and it had a special consumer unit for a kiln and an air compressor. (higher voltage? I am sure someone out there knows more than me about that).  

I think that is enough for now and you get the picture.  Leave nothing to chance that because you love/loved your home that someone else will see through all of the clutter and bad pictures.  Up sell your house.

Have I missed anything?  If so, please leave a comment I will add it to the end post of this series.


lovelygrey said...

Great post. Would take your advice if I wanted to move - which I don't! Just renovating my bathroom and it was my own suggestion to the planners that the door was rehung to open outwards instead of into the room. It has made a world of difference with regards to usable space. Pictures on my blog next week when I don't have a building site in there! x

Sol said...

hey Lovely grey, thanks. cant wait to see it!

northsider said...

Think you have got the backbones of a book there Sol.

I believe you don't need qualifications to be an estate agent. Is this true?

You sound very experienced and have you ever thought of starting your own estate agent/house search business? All you need is a website. Thanks for the advice.

Sol said...

Hi Dave, a book, oh my god I knew I had written a lot I am trying to be concise it just isnt happening. I feel very strongly that people can make more of their home and sell it well and fast to get the best hoped for price. I am quite passionate about peoples homes. and feel once you have decided to move and divorced yourself from it, it messes with your happiness.

No you dont need a licence or anything like that to sell houses, although you do need to be a member of an association. I cant remember what it is called, I think that association offers a qualification. In most other countries you have to have qualifications.

This is our 14th house. I move countless times as an Army Brat as well.

it would probably suit me to be a person who helps find people houses like Kirsty and Phil. And then help them renovate. I would love that job. Maybe then we would stop moving! NAH!!! lol

You need help selling your house, be sure to give me the nod Dave! Always fancied a holiday in the South of Ireland! 2 birds one stone

Patricia (La Chatte Gitane) said...

We have sold plenty of houses over the years and none has been on the market for long.
I agree with all the points you are making and especially about photos. Photos are your calling card for the house. They are the first thing potential buyers will see and they are what lure buyers in to request a visit. They should be top notch and not taken with a wide angled lens.
However, the point you made in your last post to remove all personal stuff is something I don't necessarily agree with. I understand potential buyers don't want to see a gazillion family photos everywhere (which I never have on display anyhow), but you can strip all character from a home and end up with a showhome that looks cold and overly staged. Books and artwork stayed firmly in place when we sold and lots of other personal touches, which makes a house warm and inviting. Clutter of course, is an entirely different matter.

Euch! Don't your hairs stand on end when you see houses being presented with photos of laundry (dirty or clean) everywhere. Or a picture of the loo with the lid open. Sheez !

Patricia (La Chatte Gitane) said...

And I also wanted to add that we always worked with estate agents, as I don't want to show people around my house. It is just too personal and I believe a good agent is worth his/her money. They are not allowed to take the photos though. That's my job. ;)

Sol said...

Hey Pat, thanks for your comment some good stuff in there, I will be adding the comment as pictures in the final post in this series.

Books is a good point. When I see houses with no books in at all I struggle to see if the people are MY type of people.

We actually have a lot of pictures taken on holidays or our more extreme hobbies. I have shown people around the house and people stop at the picture and they say "oh that is such and such place isnt it". THey are trying to find some common ground with us, with out realising it. So they are mentally saying, this is ok, these people are like us. They go the same places. They need visual stimulus. I dont think I said to remove all pictures? I think that may have been someone else. I was saying get rid of all the stuff that you are hanging onto for no reason. lol we have a picture of our 2 index fingers. Weird, but it is from a time in Canada, where we werent allowed to take pictures of the heritage art. So to mark the time we took a picture of our fingers. it means nothing to anyone else. But I can remember exactly how the light came around the side of a totem pole, the smell and the mans voice telling us about First People. It is very moving. I will never remove that picture. Never. Its the first one to go up in a new place.

Also I suppose I missed out that taking your own pictures you know at exactly what time of day there is the best light. I dropped the ball on that one.

On the whole what I am trying to say is that you are selling a life style. You have to guage what demographic is going to be looking at your house. Our last house was hard, as we had downsizers and families who were upgrading to 3 beds. it was hard. But no worries it sold as soon as the sign went up. Good job to.

Estate agents can do a very good job if people arent good with any type of confrontation - as in haggling over the price. It is better for them to give the price to the estate agent and then relay that to you. Its a very un-British thing to talk about money and my friends all say they cringe at haggling and would rather pay the price, or walk away. So you just lost a buyer....

Everyone is coming up with such good things, I will be pleased with the final list on the last day. This is turning into a good series. I am enjoying it. I hope others are as well.

galant said...

I have really enjoyed reading your comments even though we have only moved once in our entire married life of 51+ years (and that was 30 years ago. No, one should've remove all identity from a home, but as you say, not overwhelm with too much personal 'stuff'. I always thought it was wrong to have loads of personal photos in the main living area, they should be reserved for the bedroom anyway, unless of course you have a grand piano to display them in silver frames! Annual school photos of the children from the first year to when they go to uni just don't cut the mustard, often dotted up the stairs like large postage stamps. I love the idea of removing a door to a small room before photographing it. Of course, viewers will spot the different right away, but at least the photo might've got them to your home in the first place!
Margaret P

Patricia (La Chatte Gitane) said...

Hi Sol,
No, I don't think you said remove all pictures, but to remove as much of your personal stuff as possible (or words to that effect).
About the too many family photos on walls, mantle piece, tables, sideboards etc. is MY point. I don't like it very much. Not only in houses for sale, but also in general. My mother for instance has them everywhere and I find it distracting and annoying.
Arty or creative photos are different. xxx...x

Sol said...

Hey Margaret, by taking the door off of the hinges you can take a picture of the bathroom with out the person taking the picture being reflected in the mirror.

Hey Patricia, lol I darent say this as people might not like it. But I dont like it when people have pictures of themselves naked and pregnant, posing like they are Demi Moore. That is really weird to me and it makes me uncomfortable. I dont know why it is just odd to me.

Harry Flashman said...

Here a broker expects a seven or eight percent commission.

You sure have had a lot of homes, Sol. Not counting the places I lived overseas, and those i rented, I have owned 3 homes. Been at this one up on the mountain since 1986, and I'm not going anywhere.

Sol said...

Hey Harry, that is a high percentage...!

Because of the house prices going up, and us being of just the wrong age, if we hadnt of done up wrecks of houses we would never have been able to buy a home or live in the area we want. The houses shot up in price so much that it makes it very hard to afford a home here. the average house price is about £200k so that is about $290k and the average wage is £26,500 a year. so that is 7.5 times the average wage. Hard work.

hope you are well

Happeninguponhappiness said...

If you are showing your own home, it's just as important that you are well presented. I know it shouldn't matter, but it does. If you look well cared for then people will assume you look after your home.

Sol said...

Hi Happeninguponhappiness, yes that is a very good point. I would think that is also part of the buying into the lifestyle...? THanks will add this one also

Chickpea said...

I also told people that we had super fast broadband to the house as this is important to some people. Several of the people who were interested in the house saw this as a necessity these days, so if you have it make it a selling point.

Sol said...

Excellent point Chickpea!

Jon said...

A wonderfully informative post. I will only add that it's important to remember that the estate agent is working for US and not the other way around. When I sold my house in Texas a year ago I felt intimidated by my agent. I was FAR too nice and accommodating, and as a result the experience turned out to be one of the worst disasters of my life - I not only lost money, but also precious time.

Sol said...

Hey Jon, that is another good one. thanks