Planning to sell via an estate agent? False promises, delays and broken chains may scupper your plans.
Immediate property sales are often promised by both high street and online estate agents, mainly as a way to convince you to sign up so they can secure your business, but often the reality is not quite as rosy.
Traditional high street estate agents v. online estate agents
Each type of estate agent has its pros and cons. Our team have been buying and selling property for many years, and we’ve worked with a whole gamut of property professionals (including many ‘un-professionals’…), so we’re well placed to present the arguments for each of the options available. Whether you’re looking to sell a house, bungalow, flat or maisonette, the choice of agent will affect your selling experience and the eventual outcome -whether it sells at all, how quickly it sells, fees levied and how much money you ultimately make on your property.
High street estate agents
A high street estate agent is a more traditional way to sell your house, but you are dependent on the staff in the branch being available.
- Office hours only – They will generally work strict office hours, often 9 am to 6 pm latest – therefore they do not have the ability to answer calls around the clock.
- Proactive matching service – High street agents will contact prospective house buyers on their marketing lists to attempt to match them up with suitable properties such as yours.
- Viewings arranged for you – They will arrange suitable times for the buyer to view your property, ensuring a representative from the estate agent company is also present to guide the client and introduce all aspects of the property.
- Fees and charges – High street agents can charge as much as 3% plus VAT for selling your property, but only get paid when the property is sold.
- Staging and presenting the property – Estate agents often advise sellers to consider staging their house with different furniture, vases, accessories and aspirational lifestyle elements in order to achieve a faster sale. You could spend thousands on interior design with no guarantee of selling your house quickly, or even at all.
Online estate agents
Some online estate agents offer additional benefits which you won’t find from a traditional high street branch, however, the drawbacks are usually the lack of personal attention you’ll receive.
- Extended opening times – they are often available to answer calls and messages outside business hours, sometimes via live chat, or alternatively, an automated chatbot may guide you to the appropriate information on their website or FAQs.
- No assistance with viewings – With online estate agents, you may have to do conduct viewings yourself.
- Fees and charges – Some online estate agents also charge upfront fees – non-refundable of course, with no guarantee of a sale.
Benefits of selling your house via an estate agent
- Accessibility and high street presence – Traditional estate agents offer the convenience of being able to just pop in while you’re out shopping or on your lunch break. However, if the shop is busy at the time, you could find yourself drinking coffee and clock watching without any real attention.
- Relationships and outreach – Geared towards matching the houses on their books with potential buyers, you will feel reassured that an estate agent will be constantly trying to find someone to buy your house. The downside of this is that the buyer may be fickle, non-commital to the process, or loose in specifying their requirements. To this end, many sales fall through prematurely.
- Marketing and photography – Estate agents spend money on quality photography to allow them to showcase the features of your property when advertising in the shop window, their website or mail-drop leaflets to local residents. Increasingly popular are the 3D videos and interactive house tours you see posted online, which allows a thorough virtual inspection without leaving your house. You’re not getting it for free, though – it comes out of the fees you pay and this money will be wasted if they don’t sell your property.
- Negotiation skills – The job of an estate agent is to negotiate between buyer and seller to find the middle ground on wants and needs, barter on price to suit both parties and make the deal. This is great if you feel too anxious or lack the confidence to do this by yourself.
The Property Saviour team includes several skilled negotiators who have bought and sold houses, commercial buildings, land and investment portfolios all over the world – we’ve cut through the red tape, overcome the legal hurdles, sorted the land registry issues, evicted the squatters, resolved the planning permission bungles and successfully sold properties that had no chance of selling via traditional methods.
Disadvantages of using an estate agent to sell your house
Estate agent valuations v. RICS valuations
If you have invited an estate agent to give you a valuation, ask them if they are members of Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). If you instructed them to perform a RICS valuation, will their current valuation match the RICS valuation? If they hesitate to answer these questions, you have a good indication that they will have overpriced your property.
Wavering commitment and enthusiasm
Many estate agents are rewarded for simply getting new properties onto their books and are not usually in a hurry to sell your house fast and lose your ongoing business. They can get bored if there’s no movement and put their energies into another new and exciting sale. You’re left wondering what’s happening, chasing and feeling anxious while they proudly display yet another sold sticker on a property in their window.
Estate agent fees
High street agents can charge as much as 3% plus VAT for selling your property but only get paid when the property is sold. This delayed gratification often causes estate agents, especially the less-experienced junior negotiators, to become bored with any problematic property and seek other sales that offer the adrenaline high of a faster reward.
Unwillingness to take on risky properties
If the property needs improvements such as a new kitchen, new bathroom or a new central heating system, it will put off many buyers. It is the sort of property that we would love to buy. Do you really want to spend weeks or even months making for your property fit to sell? And then when you eventually do get it on the market, do you want to wait months to get an offer?
Can an estate agent really help you sell your house quickly when all they do is advertise your property online and wait for the phone to ring? We would rather give you the certainty of a quick cash sale through Property Saviour, so you can relax and move on with your life.
Estate agent contracts – sole v. multi-agency agreements
If your property is not likely to be a straightforward sale, for example if it has structural defects, damp or needs a dramatic renovation in order to be appealing, you won’t want to risk going with a “sole agency” agreement as you will be limiting your options to the one agency.
Multi agency contracts are often more suitable – you can advertise across several agents – however, they will each require a higher percentage commission as they aren’t guaranteed to complete for you or gain commission so they want more in fees in order to pay for their risk, time and inconvenience.
Lengthy sales and conveyancing process
If you want to sell a house fast with an estate agent, you may be disappointed as it can take between 3 months to 6 months. This will depend on whether the buyer has secured a mortgage offer in principle, whether the solicitors for both sides are proactive in their conveyancing duties, the bank’s appetite to lend in a changing market, and whether your buyer has fallen in love with another property in the meantime
Buyer affordability and Covid-19 uncertainty
The Coronavirus Pandemic has hit a lot of families quite hard in terms of income, financial stability and consideration towards sensible lifestyle choices. Some people who were thinking of moving before Covid-19 hit the world have become more cautious, whereas others have developed a ‘now or never’ mindset with increased risk-taking persona.
Nothing is certain – unless you sell to Property Saviour
The main takeaway here is to remember that nothing is certain in the property world and a buyer who thought they could afford your house may suddenly pull out of the chain after months of negotiations, leaving you back to square one. If you instruct Property Saviour to sell your home, there is the certainty of a fast sale as we are the buyer, we do have the funds and we’re happy to prove it.
Brexit impact on the residential property sector
Prior to the Brexit vote, many estate agents were able to call upon buy-to-let investors to buy properties, however, this landscape has now changed as landlords and investors are running for the hills.
Property investors are selling up whole portfolios because of tax changes, including no longer being able to write off mortgage interest as a tax-deductible expense and the imposition of additional stamp duty (SDLT).
There is still a lot of uncertainty around the changes Brexit will bring in the future as we adapt to new ways of trading and differing regulations.
Genuine cash buyers
As professional cash house buyers, we are not reliant on mortgages, therefore we can buy your property with great speed and efficiency. Our average completion takes just 19 days! This includes weekends too. Our fastest cash house sale took just 5 days!
We can exchange contracts in days
- You tell us when you’d like to exchange contracts
- We can provide proof of funds and exchange contracts in days
- We will complete – often in under 10 days
We pay your conveyancing and legal fees
If you choose to sell with Property Saviour, we can pay your fees – including legal fees too. You can use your own solicitors.
We're human and we care
We realise that our clients are often in a tough situation, worrying about the bills or struggling to keep the wolves from the door. If you’re in lots of debt already, you simply won’t be able to pay house selling fees and so the vicious cycle continues. This can have such a massive effect on your emotional wellbeing to the point where some people end up feeling hopeless, depressed or even suicidal.
Our team are very sensitive to the issues you will be facing. Be honest with us, that’s all we ask. Let us help you break free.