We’ve reached the last instalment of our Series: What Do Estate Agents Do? This week we take an in-depth look at how a good estate agent will generate offers, negotiate a deal for you and take some of the stress away when it comes to chain chasing and sales progression.
One of the most important aspects of your estate agent’s role is not only to negotiate a price (or ideally secure the full asking price of course), but actually to generate an offer in the first place! Too many agents simply see themselves as people who show buyers around property, hoping that an offer will be forthcoming as a result. It probably won’t!
Purchasing a property is potentially such a big decision that even if a buyer prefers your property to all the others they have seen, they may still feel reluctant to progress to the offer stage. It can appear ‘safer’ for them to keep looking – just in case they miss out on an even better property!
A good agent understands this and sees him/herself as a facilitator whose role it is to help the buyer make the right decision, that is genuinely in their best interests, which, without the agent’s involvement, the buyer might otherwise have had difficulty making. The agent will then use various techniques, including the use of open, closed, leading and closing questions to help the buyer arrive at that decision themselves.
The agent additionally understands ‘buyer remorse’, which is that niggling doubt in the back of the buyer’s mind that they might have made the wrong decision and can prepare them for this.
Of course, there is also a lot of skill in assessing the strength of the offer and whether to recommend acceptance. Do the buyers have their mortgage in place? Do they have anywhere to sell and if so, do they have a buyer yet? Are they committed to moving to this area and especially to your house? Are they also considering other properties? Are they likely to let you down? How excited are they about buying your property?
Negotiate the Deal
Good negotiation is a skill that adds real value to the service you receive from your estate agent. After all, it can be the make or break of a sale.
Many agents focus on ‘getting the maximum price’ for their client, the property vendor. So do we. However, we also recognise that the vendor’s main objective is actually to move to a new house! There is no point in losing a sale by trying to force an unreasonably high figure out of a buyer who might have otherwise bought the property. Or to agree a sale only to find the buyer later regrets it and pulls out. They might even proceed right up to the point of exchange and then reduce their offer (known as gazundering) leaving you forced to accept the reduction or lose not only your sale, but possibly your purchase as well!
Please don’t be alarmed! These are worst case scenarios, but not unheard of. The point is that good negotiation is being able to understand the objectives of buyer and seller alike and seeking to achieve the highest realistic figure for the seller with due regard to all parties concerned.
This does not just mean bartering, with each party nudging up or down respectively until some middle line is met. It means your agent using every available resource to justify your price in the context of current market conditions. It also means understanding the buyer’s perspective, their needs, preferences, finances and their flexibility in comprising over certain issues.
We are proud not only of the prices our well-trained negotiators are able to secure for our clients, but also of our very low fall-through rate, which we attribute significantly to ensuring that the right deal is struck from day one, with both parties feeling they have ‘won’.
Chain Chasing and Sales Progression
The adage that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link could not be more aptly demonstrated than in respect of property transactions in the UK.
Whilst a lot of agents focus on finding a buyer, which is obviously important, it is the quality of that buyer and their situation that will determine whether the sale is likely to proceed to a successful conclusion. But what if the buyers themselves have a property to sell?
Firstly, there is no point in accepting an offer from someone who has a property to sell if their own property is less saleable than your own. This would have the effect of reducing the saleability of your property to the saleability of theirs.
However, it may be that their own property is already under offer, possibly from a buyer who also has a property to sell to someone who is in the same position. See the problem?
When we negotiate a sale, we look very carefully at any upward chain before advising acceptance. This means following the chain until the strongest link is found – usually a cash buyer! (We check carefully when someone says they are a cash buyer, whilst many may have nowhere to sell, they might need to arrange a mortgage!) We then check the credentials of each linked buyer.
Indeed, much of our time in facilitating a sale is spent liaising with the other agents and solicitors involved in related transactions, who in turn will be liaising with surveyors and mortgage brokers. If one aspect fails, e.g. someone’s mortgage valuation is insufficient to support their loan, we’ll know about it quickly and will usually have a plan B up our sleeve, such as a backup buyer.
It may help to know, that at Arden Estates, once your property is sold, you will be handed over to a member of our Sales Progression team, who will become your main point of contact. They’ll be in regular contact with you, your buyer and the solicitors in order to be able to update you on the progress of your sale right through until completion, hopefully helping to manage some of the stress that could come with selling your property! You will also be able to track the progress of your sale from your phone or computer, so you know exactly where you are and how long it is likely to take.
So, there’s more to our style of estate agency than you might expect! We hope this series has helped you to understand how important each step of the process is when it comes to selling your biggest asset and how here at Arden Estates we will go above and beyond to deliver a five star service to our clients.
To find out more, or to request a free valuation, please call your local Arden Estates office today!