May 9, 2016
Property gossip August 2016

One of estate agency’s fundamental tasks is to secure the highest price that an able purchaser will pay for your property in a given market. In an ideal world, we would have a hot-line to Camelot who would feed us with a regular supply of lottery winners prepared to pay ridiculous prices for modest properties. Unlikely, but we’re working on it!

In the real world, most estate agents operate using certain procedures and protocols that have been employed for decades, if not centuries. In addition to the somewhat archaic system of property transfer we have in this country, there are traditional elements of the sales process that have become “the norm”.

Examples of these include the way in which viewings are conducted and how buyers and sellers are treated, both of which could do with a concerted makeover nationwide. The most obvious example is the way in which prices are maximised. As an industry, estate agents in this country have facilitated a culture of offers below the asking price, which is surely counterproductive to the seller’s primary objective.

Promoting offers below the asking price encourages sellers to quote ambitious prices in order to accommodate low offers, which in itself can reduce the number of viewings. An estate agents reputation thrives best, not on a culture of satisfied clients, but of delighted ones, and we find this is achieved when we submit offers in excess of the asking price.

There are several ways of achieving this, using well-proven and highly strategic marketing initiatives. It would certainly be un-commercial of us to detail these here, but when the time comes for you to sell, we recommend you question your agent as to the strategy behind “quoting an asking price” and/or how they have arrived at their suggested pricing strategy, and how they will methodically achieve the very highest price the market will pay.

In recent years, demand has been so high that the use of an open day was often the best way to go, allowing a number of people to view your property on the same day. Whilst the market is showing signs of change, an open day, or viewing event, will still prove successful.

Something we have found strange is how badly buyers are treated. Quite often we hear stories of agents who tell everyone wishing to view a particular property, to turn up within a one hour timeframe, who are then left to walk around bumping into each other whilst a very junior member of staff acts as a doorman, showing very little interest in anything or anyone.The plus points for the agent are obvious. Only 1 hour is used up, usually fulfilled by a junior member of staff, and the seller receives an offer so everyone is happy…. or are they?? We have found that giving each viewer a specific viewing slot, of say 10 or 15 minutes, works much better and through feedback we know this enables potentials buyers to focus on their viewing and ask questions about the property.

Some open days / viewing events take up the best part of a day; however, isn’t it better to give everyone a chance to properly view the property and take everything in? There’s a lengthy period of time between the viewing and an exchange of contracts – plenty of time for a change of mind if the decision to buy was a rushed one, with no time to look at everything in detail and ask questions.

Many of you may remember around 2 years ago the “sale by tender” craze, if you click on this link you will see our blog on the subject and the feedback we received from the buying public, which goes to prove that an agent should (always) listen to buyers.

At the height of the “sale by tender” period the most common question we were asked was this: “are you doing sale by tender on this property” – in many many cases it was only when buyers were reassured they would not be asked to pay a fee that they agreed to book a viewing.

In any type of market, the more people who view a property will surely help to maximise the achievable price so it seems counterproductive to put people off from wanting to view.

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