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Choosing the Right Estate Agent
In Britain, unlike anywhere else in the world, anybody can set up as an estate agent - no licence or qualifications are required and some estate agents have little skill or expertise.
Being a large well-known national is no guarantee of good service either. Unlike supermarkets which sell exactly the same products throughout the country, the service you get from any estate agent is only as good as the people staffing that particular branch.
At Frosts, we pride ourselves on having an unrivalled team of professionals who have lived and worked in the area we serve for many years.
The selection of your advisors is critical - and you will be particularly reliant upon your estate agent. You will need sound advice as to values, you will need to be sure of the presentation and the marketing of your property and you will need to be assured that, once sold, your sale and any related purchase will be progressed efficiently to a successful conclusion.
It really is not as simple as choosing the agent who offers the lowest rate - this almost automatically leads to the lowest rate of marketing - or picking the agent who says he will achieve the highest price - this will almost certainly cost you time and money and cause you disappointment and anxiety.
Reputation and Standing
Is this a company of serious reputation and standing? Does this estate agency adhere to the highest standards of professional conduct? Do they have a code of conduct and carry professional insurance? .. Or do they just look and sound good?
Our reputation is second to none and we believe we are recognized as our area's leading estate agent.
As members of The National Association of Estate Agents, The Guild of Professional Estate Agents and the Ombudsman scheme, we have agreed to adhere to the highest standards of professional conduct. These organisations operate to a strict Code of Conduct in residential estate agency and are all committed to raising the standards of estate agents throughout the UK.
Trust and confidence
How do you know you can trust and have confidence in the estate agency you have chosen? As members of the three organisations described above, you can be assured that you are dealing with professionals.
Where will my buyer come from?
These days the mobility of the market is not only local, but regional, national and international - your buyer could come from anywhere. By being a Member of the Guild your estate agency is demonstrating a real commitment to local, regional and national and international marketing.
You will need to ensure your property benefits from the widest exposure - does your estate agent belong to an established and extensive network of sales offices to generate enquiries from a wider market place?
Guild Members are part of a 700-office national network, with over 4000 professionals working together to serve you better. The Guild is based in showrooms on Park Lane, in Mayfair, London, providing you with access to the lucrative London and international investor markets.
Does your estate agency present a marketing strategy that convinces you your property is presented to the widest pool of potential buyers and, thus, achieve the best possible price?
A little local advertising is of some use but a small part of a much larger picture. With their own monthly national magazine, a network of professional photographers and floor plan surveyors and dedicated publishing studios, Frosts and other members of the Guild are able to present your property professionally ensuring it reaches the widest pool of potential buyers, thereby creating the best opportunity to achieve the highest possible price for your property.
Did you know that over 87% of purchasers start their property search on the internet - the probability is that you did it yourself.
In addition to our own superb website, which you are using at this moment, Frosts as Guild members has its own dedicated website and in addition they have created a combined national site - property-platform.com.
This site presents a selection of over 30,000 properties nationally, is updated daily, provides location maps for every property and very useful local information.
Property-platform.com is promoted by Guild Members, advertised in the national press and is, increasingly, well placed on all the search engines that matter.
You could achieve a far better result buying or selling your home through a Guild Member.
The Guild of Professional Estate Agents is a body of over 600 independent estate agency offices, with over 4000 professional estate agents whose combined strength and experience helps in selling houses.
Each is carefully selected, are leaders in their local marketplace and are committed to the highest industry standards. You could achieve a far better result buying or selling through a Guild Member.
Risk of Over Pricing
We all want to get the very best price for our home, and so it's always tempting to ask just a little bit more for it. Unfortunately some less scrupulous estate agents are only too well aware of this and will deliberately over-value your home in order to get your instruction.
This does not mean, however, that you will end up with more money! Remember, buyers often spend months looking for the right property. They know an overpriced home when they see one, and will simply walk away.
Think about it - would you pay thousands of pounds more for something that you know is not worth it? No, we didn't think so!
All that happens, should you put your house on the market at far too high an asking price, is that it will languish there while other, more sensibly priced properties sell all around you.
In the end, you will have to bring the price down to where it should have been in the first place. Meanwhile, of course, you will have missed out on all that initial market interest.
Beware the estate agent who gives you a price on the basis of little more than a casual glance round your home!
A house is viewed most during the first four to five weeks it is on the market. So, getting the price right - right from the start, enables you to take full advantage of this initial burst of market interest, and gives you your best chance of getting the best price, in the shortest possible time.
There are a number of other risks associated with over-pricing:
- Buyers notice the amount of time a property is on the market, and may wonder if something is wrong with it.
- The huge amount of property information available on the Internet makes it much easier for buyers to become 'experts' on asking prices.
- Having your home on the market for an extended period can be very stressful because it can mean your life is on hold. Also, constantly trying to keep it in a suitable condition to be inspected by complete strangers can be inconvenient, to say the least!
- Some buyers won't make a low offer for fear of insulting the seller - so they just go away without even giving you the chance to negotiate.
- Missing out on a sale may mean losing the dream home you want to buy. Or, it could mean you end up trying to pay two mortgages for a while!
- The longer your property is on the market, the greater the chance that something will need repairing leading to expense that could have been avoided.
- Last, but by no means least, mortgage lenders are not impressed by over-priced properties - so even if you do find someone willing to pay your asking price, there is more than a good chance that your house will then be down valued by the survey.
Your best chance for achieving the highest price for your home is to have it valued by an experienced local independent estate agent who can set a fair market price for it. Your home will compete successfully with other houses on the market and give you the best chance of achieving the best price for you.
Presenting Your Home
It is amazing just how much first impressions do count - many a property has been sold and many not before the prospective purchaser has even set foot inside the front door.
So take a little time - step outside your own front door and approach your own house as if for the first time .. critically! Try to look for things you have learned to live with, but which for some buyers are really negative distractions . the front garden should be neat and tidy, any rubbish etc stored out of sight, the path weed-free, a newly painted fence or freshly clipped hedge is welcoming and gives the distinct impression of someone caring!
As the for exterior of the house, a lick of fresh paint costs next to nothing but is proven as one of the most important factors in creating a good impression - clean windows with neatly painted frames also add a little sparkle. The front door is worth particular attention - we have seen property transformed by a new front door, it is what your potential buyers concentrate on whilst waiting for you to let them in.
Obviously in presenting your property, internally, it should be neat and tidy, all paintwork should be clean and free from cracks, stains and chips and should be touched up - but, in addition to the obvious, there are a number of simple but highly effective sensory tools you can use to create a pleasant ambiance.
Creating an exciting and saleable interior an be accomplished at surprisingly little cost.
...a little light on the subject
Studies have shown people react positively to properties shown under bright light. Even during the day leave as many lights on as you can, keep the curtains wide open and windows clean. At night switch on all lights, replacing any blown bulbs and dingy fluorescent tubes.
...the sound of selling
Classical music playing softly in the background can create an atmosphere of calm serenity - otherwise go for peace and quiet, avoiding loud noises, barking dogs, your children and the TV.
...the sweet smell of success
Smell has more impact than you might think. It can work either for you or against you. So if at all possible .
Scour kitchens and bathrooms with bleach, and use lemon oil or fine polish on your furniture to add richness.
Place fresh flowers strategically throughout the house.
For a delicious, homely feel, place a dish of vanilla in a warm oven to create the aroma of freshly baked cakes or bread. Freshly-brewed coffee has a similar effect
...don't colour their judgement
Colours should be kept light and neutral when selling your home.
The condition of your property
In our experience, a few small cosmetic improvements can have a big impact on the way buyers react to your home. You may not actually get more money, but a little effort can make all the difference in terms of attracting buyers - particularly in a very competitive market, or if you need to sell quickly.
Of course, there is no substitute for careful regular maintenance to ensure that a home looks at - or near - its best. Trying to make up for years of neglect can be very expensive! Nevertheless, small things can make a big difference in creating the right "feel."
Remember, first impressions really do count. Potential buyers will form an opinion about your home in the first 15 seconds - so it's important to ensure that it's a favourable one. The fact is, a house that suffers from an unmowed lawn, grubby peeling paint or stale, damp odours feels unloved and uncared for. Prospective buyers will be put off - which could end up costing you valuable time and money.
The key is not to try anything too big - otherwise you're almost certain to lose money. If your home needs a completely new roof, for example, then the most sensible option is simply to adjust the asking price accordingly. No buyer will pay £10,000 more for your house simply because that's what it cost you to re-roof it!
The show home effect
Show homes are designed to make a buyer "feel at home." To recreate the feeling of a perfect display home is almost impossible unless you are starting from scratch, but there are valuable techniques you can apply that will help create a similar atmosphere. When you enter a show home, an interior decorator has made sure of the following details:
- The colours are neutral
- The smell is fresh and clean
- The decorations enhance the home's features
- The only sounds are peaceful
- The details are perfect from the manicured lawn to the flowers in the entrance hall.
- Creating a lifestyle that sells!
You can dramatically increase your property's market potential by paying attention to detail, potential buyers need to visualise themselves living in your house. You are selling a lifestyle as well as a home.
In the case of pets, take particular care to clean and deodorise the areas they inhabit - potential purchasers may not love your pet as much as you do!
When showing your home to a prospective buyer, avoid having too many people present. Friends and family may be very well meaning but, in this case, less is definitely more!
Be polite, but don't try to entertain your buyers. They want to inspect your home - not pay a social call. Never apologise for the appearance of your home. After all, it is your home! Finally if you are asked questions, answer them truthfully and to the best of your knowledge, and never give people a hard sell - it simply won't help you. Let Frost's Estate Agents do the selling - that's what we're here for !!