Not that we don’t love our jobs, but when we’re at dinner parties we’re tempted to lie and say we’re bailiffs or politicians just to be a tiny bit more popular!
Still, we’ve spent enough time around other agents to be able to decode some of their more common pronouncements. So here’s a handy guide to what your agent might say, and what they really mean…
“I’m confident that we can get you [insert eye-boggling number here] for this house”
Yes, estate agents are always confident – even when they’ve just given you a number drastically higher than what anything similar has sold for in your area. Do you think they might just be trying to entice you with impressive numbers?
Prepare to have your expectations slowly and painfully managed downwards over the next few months, and watch how hard the agent tires to get you to accept the first half decent offer you get, which will take far longer than they said it would.
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
“We sold one just over the road last week, so you’ll want to go with us so we can bring round all the people who missed out on that one”
Maybe that really is a bonus, but you shouldn’t feel like you have to go with that agent. After all, given that 97% of people use a portal like Rightmove or Zoopla when they’re looking for a house, don’t you think those disappointed buyers might have an alert set up so they know when another property comes on the market anyway?
And wouldn’t you want to have access to the whole of the buying market rather than just a handful of buyers that missed out on a similar property? How can you be sure you’ll get the best price like this? But if you want a fast sale (which is certainly not the best price) – go for it!
“We’ll get it sold for you within 4-6 weeks, no problem”
OK, so the agent will want a 6 week exclusive contract then. Oh, they want sixteen weeks, and they’ve hidden a sneaky clause that means you need to give an extra month to cancel it? Something doesn’t quite add up…
“Let’s put it on a little bit higher, and we’ll say we’re open to offers – we might get lucky”
We’ll explain later this week why this is the exact opposite of what you should actually do.
“It’s just unlucky that we haven’t had an offer yet – we’ve had plenty of people through the door”
Sure, but were those people all qualified buyers who were interested in a house like yours, or were they just dragged around on the way to seeing something else to get the numbers up and so you think they are working hard?
“We’ve a cluster of offices and they are all linked so we have access to literally thousands of buyers”
But most people look for their property on Rightmove and Zoopla, and they have already pin-pointed where they want to live. And if you are looking in Croydon, you probably aren’t looking in Brockley, and certainly not in North London. They say it because people fall for it.
“I know we’ve only just started marketing, but this is a strong offer – I’d advise you to take it”
Every so often you will get an offer on the first day. Or maybe you’re in a rush, and your agent has a quick cash offer that you feel you would be unwise to turn down. But remember that an extra £10,000 for you often translates to an extra £10 on your agent’s payslip, so maybe they just can’t be bothered to do any more viewings…
If it takes another week or two to sell your property but nets you another £20,000, wouldn’t you rather have the extra cash? If you don’t necessarily need it, it would make a great savings policy for your children or grand children, so getting the best price should be a high priority.
“Our local knowledge means we’ll get you the best result”
Right, and that’s because buyers when searching for a property they’d like to view, only search out local agents and then test them on their local knowledge before booking a viewing?
Errr, no, they don’t. In fact, buyers don’t care at all who is selling it. What they want is a friendly person on the end of the phone who can politely answer any questions and arrange a viewing for them at the property they just found of Rightmove or Zoopla.
Acquiring local knowledge these days takes 10 to 20 minutes using everybody’s favourite resource, Google. Becoming great at sales takes a whole lot of practice and is usually the culmination of many years of experience. Getting the best offer price for a property has everything to do with your agents sales ability, and the incentive to do better.
Faced with the prospect of dealing with all this nonsense, you might be wondering if you can just skip it all and sell your house yourself. If you want to, you absolutely can – and in this series we’re going to give you a load of tips about marketing, pricing and negotiation to help you if that’s what you decide to do.
But of course, we wouldn’t be here unless we believed that estate agents had their uses – they might just not be the uses you expect. So in the next email, we’ve set ourselves the mammoth task of convincing you that, if approached the right way, working with an estate agent can make you more money and cause you less stress.
Will we succeed? Well, we’ll see you in a few days to find out.
(And in the meantime, if you need a word of advice about anything to do with the sales process, just give us a call –the numbers at the top of this page).