- What do you think people should look for in an estate agent?
A successful house sale can depend largely on the success of the relationship between the seller and the Estate Agent. Both parties need to work together during what can be an extremely testing time. A successful relationship will require mutual respect, trust and on-going communication from both parties.
Lewes Estates helpful tip; look for an agent that is currently marketing properties within your property's price range as they will already have potential buyers viewing in this price bracket.
Lewes Estates helpful tip; Unscrupulous Agents may advertise properties on their own website that they have sold but how do you know how current this information is? Count up the sold properties on the leading property portal Rightmove for an accurate assessment of the leading selling Agent in your area.
- What kind of marketing should you expect your estate agent to do? Online and offline
Statistics issued by the leading property portal Rightmove prove that the majority of house buyers do their research online. In today's fast moving environment your Agent must have an extensive online presence. Mobile devices require an 'app' in order to view information with ease and an Agents' website should be formatted to display correctly on a tablet. Optimisation of a website is key. If your agent does not appear on the first page of Google it is unlikely potential buyers will find their site...
Beware of Agents pushing their 'network of offices' or their 'London presence'.
Lewes Estates helpful tip; identify a Lewes based property that is advertised with a Lewes Agent. Contact one of the Agents other offices - particularly London based offices - and decide for yourself whether these satellite offices are able to 'sell' your property...
Vendors still value local newspaper advertising. In truth this forma of advertising is difficult to qualify and the results hard to quantify. A presence in the local paper mainly functions as brand awareness.
1 in 3 properties is sold from a board. You may not like the idea but for sale boards are not solely for the purpose of promoting the agent. We invest in you on a 'no sale no fee basis' invest a little in us and give yourself the best possible chance of achieving the best price for your home.
- How can a seller gauge whether something's going wrong (e.g. how few viewings should worry you? What about if you get lots of viewings but no offers?) What can you do to rectify the situation?
Having already discussed the necessity of a good working relationship between seller and Agent (see point 1) what must be established at the outset is the 'selling/marketing strategy' that is to be employed. The selling/marketing strategy is almost always dictated by the set of circumstances within which the property is being sold.
Assuming that a property is marketed at the Agents recommended asking price and subject to fluctuations in the market, regular viewings should be expected.
Lewes Estates helpful tip ; An Agent should be able to advise on the following statistics for their office;
Average number of viewings for a property that has been marketed for 4/8 weeks
'Viewing to offer ratio' against which you can often ascertain how the marketing of a property is being received.
'Offer to agreed sale' ratio
Remember if a property is put to the market with an asking price that exceeds the asking price recommended by the Agent, one might be lucky and achieve a sale at this inflated price however one cannot expect to be inundated with viewings!
There are many variables to consider when gauging the performance of a property and the best way to ascertain whether something is going wrong is to arrange a face to face meeting to discuss the marketing of your home with your Agent.
Lewes Estates helpful tip; here are just a few things to consider;
Ultimately ask yourself whether the selling/marketing strategy agreed at the outset still suits your requirements...
Are you aware of your competition? What has recently sold in your area and what else is on the market that viewers will also be looking at?
Are you as amenable as possible to viewing requests?
Do you read the Sunday papers? Buyer's confidence levels peak and trough in accordance with negative and positive press reports on the state of the economy...give some weight to variables outside of our control and factor these into your decision making.
- Can you give us any helpful tips to prepare your home for viewings?
Lewes Estates helpful tips;
Make sure your home smells clean and fresh!
With smaller properties it is best to leave the agent to it. Too many bodies in a small space is very off-putting for viewers
Put internal and external rubbish bins out of sight
Clear your hallway and the space just inside your front door
Pull back net curtains
Tidy your garden
If you have off street parking, leave it clear and make sure your agent knows to offer the viewer the option to park here for the duration of the viewing.
- Any tips to thinking like a buyer and viewing your home from their perspective?
Most sellers are also buyers! Don't assume your buyers will settle for any less that you will!
Lewes Estates helpful tip; De-clutter! An obvious 'buying signal' is when a viewer begins to talk about how their life will work in the property ie; 'Jessie can have this room...' It is harder to imagine one's life taking place amidst an array someone else's belongings!
- How can people balance up the cost of making improvements like refitting your bathroom
with how much extra this may/or may not boost the price you can attract?
Lewes Estates helpful tip; Despite a spate of television programmes advising on how to increase the value of your home we feel that this advice is misleading. Generally speaking renovations such as new kitchens and bathrooms will simply add the cost of undertaking the work to the overall value. Added to this one must add to the cost of undertaking the work, the tax already paid on earning the money to pay for the work!
One must also consider the fact that a kitchen that you choose to put into your house may not be the choice of kitchen for any potential buyer!
In our experience Lewes buyers would prefer to buy a property as is and undertake any renovations themselves to their own preference and specification.
That said renovations, updating and a general refresh may not increase the value but can certainly increase saleability of your property (making it more appealing than other similar properties that are on the market) and is well worth doing.
That said properties that have been exquisitely presented throughout can carry a large premium however this is not a selling strategy that should be assumed and pursuing this 'gamble' carries a high level of risk...
- How do you get the balance right with the asking price?
When advising as to the recommended asking price your Agent should be able to provide evidence of recent comparable sales in the area. This knowledge combined with the unique selling points of a specific property and competition by way of other properties for sale in the area is the way in which asking price should be ascertained. Timing to completion of the sale and the chosen 'sale strategy' (see point 3) should dictate whether the market is 'tested' in terms of marketing higher or indeed lower than the recommended asking price.
- What are the advantages of going for one estate agent as sole agent? In what particular circumstances do you think people particularly benefit from this?
We never recommend marketing with more than one Agent.
Lewes Estates helpful tip; Ask yourself how you view a sellers position when you see a property advertised twice on Rightmove?
- In what circumstances should people consider switching estate agents?
A seller should part company with their Agent if the relationship has deteriorated to such an extent that you are no longer working together to achieve a successful sale.
- Can you give us any tips on how to negotiate once you have a potential buyer?
Lewes Estates helpful tips;
Do not castigate your agent for putting forward a low offer...negotiations have to start somewhere and your Agent is legally bound to put forward all offers!
Give your Agent clear instructions - ideally in written form.
If you know or have met your potential buyer on a previous viewing/at the school gates make sure that conversations with them are consistent with the instructions you give your Agent. If you discredit your Agent you will remove the Agents negotiating credibility.
Do not undermine your Agent by liaising directly with your potential buyer once negotiations have begun. The most common reason for a buyer writing to or contacting the seller directly regarding negotiations is because the Agent is robustly defending the seller's position with regards to an acceptable offer!
- What signs should make you cautious about a potential buyer?
Prior to accepting an offer, enquire as to the buyers proposed Lender. Using a sub-prime lender MAY indicate the buyers ability to a mortgage.
A buyer who advises of a 'private sale' must be willing to offer details of the buyers Solicitor. In this instance the sellers Solicitor is advised to make contact with the buyers Solicitor prior to agreeing the sale.
- Which markets are doing particularly well, and which slow at the moment? (e.g. 2 bedroom houses with a garden in Lewes etc)
As a rule demand for property in Lewes in all price ranges usually exceeds supply!
- If you were going to give people one piece of advice about how to get a good price for their property what would it be?
De clutter and be as flexible as possible with regards to access for viewings!
- What are your predictions for the South East housing market for 2013?
It is anticipated that the South East Housing Market will see little in the way of quantifiable growth as the economic outlook remains challenging.
Areas like Lewes that are relatively less reliant on Mortgage finance will see a relatively quicker response to economic improvements over the next five years.
Towns like Lewes that are commutable to London will continue to benefit from a constant flow of housing wealth generated by the Capital and with a finite housing supply and a general demand that far exceeds this supply we at Lewes Estates anticipate high activity levels and continued stability within the local Lewes market and the surrounding villages.