Don’t get caught out by the antics of estate agents in their quest to earn a buck. The tactics of some stoop very low indeed and are often illegal. Immoral certainly.
Here’s one to watch out for.
You decide to move. You may well invite a number of estate agents along to provide a ‘FREE NO OBLIGATION VALUATION’ in the hope that this will arm you with a benchmark to consider what you can afford to buy and how much the process will cost.
So you’re thinking ‘price information’. However the agent is thinking ‘foot in the door’. An opportunity to spend time face to face persuading you to sign up with them.
In order to help things along, the agent knows that perceived price achievement is important and that he/she is no doubt competing with other agents that will also be visiting. And so, in a ruthless move to flatter you in to choosing their services, the agent cynically adds a chunk to the figure that he/she considers your property is worth.
But surely this will prevent the agent from achieving a sale and will result in them not earning that fat commission?
You would think so, except for the ‘sole agency agreement’. A sole agency agreement is used by just about all traditional estate agents. In simple terms it is a lock in, a contract that ties you to that agent regardless of how they perform and for up to 16 weeks in some cases. 8 to 12 weeks is usual. Then, once you are handcuffed in, the pressure to reduce your asking price will begin.
The result? Your budget for your ongoing purchase may need to be revised. The home of your dreams that you may already have found is jeopardised. And you waste weeks and weeks in the hope that you will find a buyer at a price that is higher than the market will stand. Stress levels increase unnecessarily. And that’s why some 70% of properties marketed by high street agents did not sell last year, say Rightmove.
Our solution to avoiding estate agents dirty tricks? Take a look at this website, HM Land Registry, which published the SOLD prices of every property sold that you can then use to compare to your own home.
Then price realistically with nothing to fear from getting it wrong. Because the market itself always finds the right level regardless of the tricks that estate agents employ to hoodwink you.
The internet has multiple other resources too, for instance Net House Prices, Zoopla etc. These empower you to cut through the industry flannel that is so typical and so dangerous.