February 19, 2016
Property gossip August 2016

Many people think that agents’ property particulars are designed to give a comprehensive overview of a property that is on the market. We believe this is not strictly the case, and that their role is to encourage people to inspect a property that might be suitable for them.

Too often the agents’ particulars focus on extensive flowery descriptions of the property, instead of sticking to the information that matters most.

Our knowledge of buyers suggests that people simply want to know enough detail about a property to decide whether to rule it out or decide to view it. Too much detail at such an early stage is unnecessary and can actually be counterproductive. Some detail on the other hand is deemed essential to many buyers and we always listen to what people have to say on this subject.

No-one is likely to purchase a property on the strength of the particulars or portal description alone – they just want to know what the property is like, where it is, how big it is, what condition it is in, how much it is, and whom they should call for a viewing. As long as this information is provided, supported by good internal and external photographs, along with floor plans and perhaps a property video, the viewings will certainly follow, subject to correct pricing of course.

Some information can also lead to an unwitting breach of Advertising Standards legislation if reference has been made to something which is incorrect, such as a window that appears to be double-glazed when it is in fact single-glazed. Sellers and landlords alike should be careful to ensure their agent markets the property correctly and accurately. Check and then check again before signing off on any marketing material.

Staying on the theme of signing off on paperwork, do pay attention when being asked to sign an agency contract. We have come across some alarming contracts in our time and whilst it’s important to sign a contract, so it’s clear what the agent is contracted to do, we would recommend you check the small (and large) print so as to fully understand what you are agreeing to.

If asked to sign a “sole selling rights” contract, ask the agent why this is necessary and what the differences are between this and a typical “sole agency contract” – it’s a fair questions so don’t be afraid to ask. Be sure to establish how long you are tied in for and clarify what is required from you in order to end the contract. Just because it says 4,6,8 weeks it doesn’t always mean you are free to change agent after this time. We have recently come across a few estate agency contracts that appear to “capture” the seller for 6 months!!!! I mean come on, really? do they need to hold to ransom in this fashion?