I was contacted by a gentleman in York this week, who was selling his house for the first time in over thirty years. In a small 1920s close where most of the houses there had been redeveloped, his home clearly had huge potential and the local agents were falling over themselves to win the instruction. When he called me he had already had visits from six agents, and was thinking of using five of them, on a ‘winner takes all’ basis. He asked me what I thought. I of course, told him.
Firstly, with that amount of competition between agents, he couldn’t hope to get a sensible valuation. He confirmed this by telling me that the variation in valuations had been huge: £1.3million right up to £1.75million. How on earth could he have any confidence at all in any of them? My first piece of advice to him was to get an independent valuation from a local surveyor. This result doesn’t show in any public records; it’s simply a piece of private information between the two of you, so if he didn’t like the valuation, he could just ignore it. It would however give him some idea of the ‘true’ value of the home, albeit with a few thousand added on for marketing and negotiation purposes. Don’t forget that a surveyor is completely independent, I reminded him, with no agenda whatsoever other than to give you an accurate representation of the value of your house. For around £300, you will find his report a useful insight, I told him.
Secondly, it’s really not a good idea to ask five agents to sell your home. Your relationship with the estate agent you select is founded on trust and liking; after all, there will be plenty of obstacles to overcome along the way, and you really need someone on your side throughout this often traumatic process. Select the agent you like most; the one you really believe in, and that you won’t get irritated by over the coming months. Place your loyalty and confidence in him, and let him know you have faith in his ability to sell your house. Trust works both ways, and you need to do all you can to make his job of selling your house as easy as possible. Aim to be the best vendor you can be, and your efforts will pay dividends. If you think his valuation is too low, tell him. Do your own research and show him evidence that supports your viewpoint. He may well agree with you, especially if he is very keen to win your instruction.
The third point is that all that will happen if you instruct more than one agent, is that your property will appear multiple times on the property portals, which just smacks of desperation. And don’t even think about the battle over boards: your local authority will only allow you one, so how would you choose which one? You’d have all five agents sabotaging each other’s boards in the middle of the night!
In the case of selling your home, it really is about putting all your eggs in one basket, then being very careful not to break one!
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