This guide is available at Martin Kemps, Aylesbury.
When you are considering moving home, it is important that you make an informed and considered decision on who you should appoint as your agent. Here is our informative guide to what you should be asking and the answers you should be getting.
- Your first port of call should be an agent’s online reviews. Are they current, what do they say? If the reviews are old/outdated, then ask yourself why. If they are a mix of good, indifferent and poor, then what does this say about the agent and their approach to providing a consistent high level of service?
- Once you have selected 3-4 agents, who you consider appropriate for your home and your circumstances, invite them for a market appraisal and try to schedule them one after the other. A market appraisal is not a valuation. Valuations can only be carried out by RICS surveyors. You are asking for an appraisal of what each agent thinks they might achieve, for you, in the current climate.
- When the chosen agents are in your home, make sure you are in control of the appointment. The agent will try to push through their agenda, regardless of what you say, or ask, because that’s how they have been trained but it’s important, for your own piece of mind, that you are in control.
- Have a set of questions ready. There are online guides from Which and other consumer bodies. Make the questions relevant to what you want to achieve. And don’t be afraid to ask the same question again if you feel the original answer wasn’t satisfactory. A good agent will have the confidence to sit back and answer your questions.
- This is, arguably, your biggest asset. You want to know it will be in good hands.
- When the agents have been, and gone, you will be left with a mix of information to digest. Examples of brochures, where they advertise, their service agreement with you, the suggested marketing price and, of course, what they charge.
- Making the decision to appoint an agent should not be rushed and, at no time, should you be harassed by those agents into making a decision. Take your time. Question yourself. Ask why there is disparity in their fees and pricing structure, ask why one agent advertises in different places to another, ask yourself whether you have total faith in one or all of them and, most importantly, ask yourself “what will I get for my money?”
- In any climate, it is always important to get value-for-money, but that should not be at the expense of time. Your time is precious. By choosing the wrong agent, you could find your time being eroded because you are chasing them, leaving messages, sending emails and, even worse, chasing your own sale with solicitors. Time is money, so ask yourself whether the agent you choose will save you time or cost you time.
- Once you have settled upon an agent, the next steps are important in laying down the groundwork for your future relationship.
- Firstly, do not sign an agreement longer than 12 weeks (with a 2 week notice period). For one, anything above 12 weeks is legally unenforceable and for another it shows a lack of competency on the part of the agent. At some point in their pitch to you, they will have told you how many buyers they have and how quickly it will sell. Therefore, if they are that confident, they won’t need too long to sell it.
- Before you sign an agreement, get a written undertaking from the agent of their service level. A good, reputable agent will not care a jot about providing such a document because they will be happy to be held to account. The written agreement should cover such things as feedback, reviews, updates, marketing strategy and accountability.
- Never sign the agreement in their office. By doing so, you forfeit your cooling off period.
- Once you have signed the sole agency agreement, make sure you get a copy. At this point, you should establish a file for all paperwork relating to the sale.
- Now that you have appointed an agent, you need to appoint a solicitor. DO NOT choose an online conveyancer. They will cost you weeks and, as we have said, time is money. Choose a solicitor the same way you started with agents. look at their reviews. Ask friends and family. Most importantly, keep it local. By appointing a solicitor now, you will save an initial 4 weeks once you accept an offer and avoid your buyers being tempted by other properties.
- Now the process is under way, what should you expect.
- Your agent should adhere to their side of the agreement. You have a written contract that says they will perform in a certain way. If they fail to do so on a regular basis, you have every right to terminate the agreement. Do not waste time “giving them one more chance”. Time is money.
- If your agent performs as they should, the process will take its due course. There is no calculation or program for how long it might take to find a buyer. The most important thing is that your agent is working hard on your behalf, that the communication is good and that their marketing strategy is generating quality enquiries. One test is to ask a friend to make general enquiries about houses within the price range of your home and see how much effort the agent puts into selling it.
- Once you have a buyer, the offer has been accepted and solicitors instructed, this is where your agent really earns their money. Remember, they won’t get paid until you move, so they should be working doubly hard to get the sale over line. Again, communication is key. Who is doing what? Is someone lagging behind? When can I, realistically, expect to move? If you’re in a chain, there is a chance that you will be dictated to by other parties in the chain. Don’t let that happen. Your agent should be fighting your corner. After all, you’re the one paying their commission.
- Finally, you exchange contracts, set a completion date and then move. Just remember that when the dust has settled and you’re in your new home, that you give your agent a worthy review.
So that’s it. A simple, effective guide to moving home. Who knew it could be so easy!
Just remember. It’s your home, it’s your most valuable asset and you want the best price and the best service.
For award-winning advice and service, call Martin Kemps 01296 422171 or email firstname.lastname@example.org