Tag Archives: valuation

I was contacted by a gentleman in York, 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!

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

….when you learn from it, of course!

What was the first thing you did when you decided to put your house on the market? If you diligently booked three appointments with estate agents, to obtain three valuations, you are not alone. Most sellers do just that, then choose the agent who they a) like best, b) provided a valuation of around the figure you were expecting, or just above, and c) offered a reasonable commission. Sound familiar? Relax – they are all perfectly good reasons for choosing your agent. You may even be able to add to that list d) sold a neighbouring property and e) came recommended by a friend.

So when a year down the line your viewings have completely dried up, and your agent is no longer returning your calls, you’re left scratching your head, wondering what on earth you did wrong. Well, let’s look at the criteria a little closer:

a) Liking – of course, it’s very important that you like, and therefore usually trust, the agent you select to sell your house. After all, it’s probably your most valuable asset, so you need to believe that he is 100% on your side, and determined to do his best for you. But – and it’s a big but – it’s rarely the valuer who is selling your home. It’s the admin lady answering the phone, or the viewing rep showing your buyers round. That confident, professional, trustworthy chap who spent an hour with you and secured your contract, he’s off securing other contracts, not selling your house.

b) Valuation – a good valuer does his research; a great valuer reads your signals. Even if you don’t think you are giving anything away, some carefully worded questions will quickly ascertain your motivation and expectations. The more he wants your business, the higher the valuation will be, and the more he will charm and flatter.

c) Commission – you may have felt very pleased with yourself at negotiating with the agent and securing a great sale commission. But at what price? Is he incentivised financially to sell your house above his other clients’ properties? Is he going to try to cut corners on advertising, brochure and accompanied viewings? And perhaps most importantly, if he allows himself to be so easily beaten down on price, do you really want him negotiating with a buyer on your behalf?!

d) Sold a neighbouring property – try to discover the back story here; it may have been a fluke, a local buyer already interested, or a big drop in price. Remember – the sold sign is only part of the story.

e) Recommendation – as above, find out exactly what the agent actually did to deserve the recommendation. Maybe your referer’s daughter works there, or they own shares, drink in the same local, or (forgive my cycnism) receives an introducer’s fee.

None of these criteria were wrong. In fact, they are all very good reasons for choosing your estate agent. However, on their own, these checks are not enough to sign on the bottom line. If your house hasn’t sold, it’s time to move on. When you select your new agent, ask more questions, seek evidence, do some digging. You may also find my blog on 7 Questions to Ask Your Estate Agent useful.

After all, a mistake is not a mistake if you learn from it.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.