selling a house

Selling a house with an agent

Posted 16/11/2016

When it comes to selling your home, the process is going to be complex, time-consuming and expensive. These three things are a given. Cutting a high street estate agent out is becoming more accessible, but there are many things lost by doing this.

Mark Hayward, from the National Association of Estate Agents, says: "Selling the house is the easy bit. Much more difficult is dealing with the offer, checking the chain, and talking to lawyers.” It is this sort of service that continues to set them apart. Here we will look at using an agent and the alternatives. 

Why use an agent?

Buying and selling homes are likely to be the most important transactions people will make throughout their lives. There are a number of benefits and advantages to using a bricks and mortar estate agent, including:

  • Expertise and knowledge of the complete process.
  • Local experts - this is one of the biggest draws. Through using award-winning agents who have been based in the area for a number of years, they will know how to sell your home to local people and other bits like catchment areas, transport links and so on.
  • Flexibility - it may seem a contradiction but in this instance technology can be a negative. With a high street agent, they will have people who can arrange and do viewings with buyers.
  • Constant communication - By having a branch to pop into or a specified manager to just one call away, it is easier to know how the sale is coming along.
  • Valuation - again, being local experts, they will know what a house your size - in a certain area - will sell for and be able to get closer to a tempting price for buyers.

A trusted, local agent still gets the nod from more than three quarters of sellers. It is also important not to look at pricing too closely because a cheap option might lead to less marketing activities than normal and get three or four valuations so you can compare and contrast how each agent is to deal with - and who is being realistic! 

Should you use more than one agent?

Frequently, people will use a single agent - especially to start with - and this *can* save money. Sometimes, sellers can get a quicker sale by using multiple agents. By putting your house on the market with three or more agents acting at the same time, the process is likely to be more frenetic and lead to higher fees. 

How much does it cost?

High street estate agents charge a percentage fee - 1.8% + VAT according to a Which? national average. At Preston Baker, our fees are bespoke dependent on the services chosen, such as our acclaimed Property Launch. The benefit of this, compared to costs with online agents, is that it is payable following sale completion. 

What are the other options?

Zoopla and Rightmove get a disproportionate amount of traffic from house hunters, and to get on there you do need an agent - but they can be online ones where a flat fee is charge whether the property is sold or not. By not having experts on the ground that understand the area and market means that there is added risk here. 

A recent BBC article told the story of one online seller who had no viewings in 10 months and still had to pay the £798 fee. Another said “He drew the plans up incorrectly and his valuation was £75,000 north of what we sold it for. We ended up just forgoing the money and going with a High Street agent."

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