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(An article by Mark – Estate Agent Dad)

Personally I find estate agency enjoyable, frustrating, illuminating, thought provoking, depressing, exciting and just about every emotion in between, but and it’s a big BUT, never dull!

If there was any such thing as an average day, it would start with a review of the previous day and a discussion of the appointments for the day ahead, well actually it would start with a cup of tea as I get in earlier than my colleagues, I would then follow the morning meeting with viewing feedback, either that which was obtained at the appointment or by phoning the previous days viewers and then calling the vendors with, preferably, constructive feedback. After this I will prepare for my days market appraisals, commonly known as ‘Valuations’ this will take approximately half to three quarters of an hour per property, which is why it can be a little frustrating when people cancel 10 minutes before hand. Finally collect up keys and details and about 10.15 head out the door. I normally head back into the office at about 3pm to do paperwork, return calls etc. Then about 4.30 back out on end of day appointments.

I thoroughly enjoy being on appointments, I like to find out about people, why they are moving, their story, obviously you get people who don’t open up, but generally a bit of charm and cheek will get me a smile and a story, this is the great part, getting tea and cake at peoples homes is very, very nice, getting offers is great, tying up sales is brilliant, then…well then it is time for the more frustrating parts.

Sales progression, poor surveys, factory conveyancers, fall throughs, all of these are the frustrating parts of the job, the need to find time for it, rather not do it but needs must part of the job, the back office bit which leads to the part for which we get paid…exchange of contracts.

Exchange, happy days, sad days, coming to the end of relationships with both buyer and vendor (or at least a hiatus until next time) all there is left to do is hand over keys and get paid.

Oh and the headline, I wear M&S machine washable suits as I go to property with lots of pets and kids, visit  building sites, unloved property, probates and repossessions. I have been sick on, sat on by cats, dogs and kids, had porches fall off houses, got locked in and locked out, climbed in and out of windows and over fences.

Finally I drive a Nissan Micra, but that is a whole different story!

By Mark – @EstateAgentDad a Secret Estate Agent – follow him on Twitter daily!

Suit – by Michael Cooper (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Car – By Liftarn (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

If you need advice on styling, selling or buying property and would like to discuss working with me … my main website can be found at www.propertystylingcompany.co.uk. Contact can be made through this wordpress site, by email or by calling 07789 488446.
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Should be easy to find an estate agent shouldn’t it, after all there are a dozen on the high street; they are in the property paper and they are always putting flyers through your door telling you they have a buyer for your home… just call this number for a free valuation.  So yes, it is easy to find an estate agent, but, the right one for you, that may be a different matter.

I have heard it all, from the potential vendors point of view, ‘‘you all do the same thing, so long as you put it on Rightmove I will be ok’’. ‘‘I chose them because I found one through them’’.  ‘‘I bought from them, so just as easy to sell through them’’ – Don’t get me wrong these are all valid reasons.  However, I believe people should put a little more effort in before they even invite the ‘valuer’ through their door, after all this is probably your biggest asset.

Not all agents are the same, just as not all clients are the same; it is potentially a very stressful experience selling your home.  You need to trust and have faith in your agent so; may I suggest some ground work? Don’t just pick three at random, put the groundwork in then invite round three agents from the firms that seem to most closely match your needs.

  1. Mystery Shop. Register with all the agents as a buyer, by phone or in person. How are you treated, were you made welcome, did you feel comfortable with the person, did they take your details? Were they knowledgeable? Did they ask if you would like to make a viewing? What are the details like, floorplans, lots of colour pictures? Or, are the details single sided toilet paper, were you bombarded with attempts to get appointments to see the mortgage advisor, book a valuation? Basically, did you feel you were treated as a person or as a target? How you are treated is how your potential buyers will be treated, don’t forget we buy from people we like!
  2. Email in requesting details. Do you get a response? If you do, how long did it   take?
  3. Check the websites and press.  Do you like their ads, good pictures, wording? Try and choose an agent who appears to mainly deal in properties like yours, no point putting a £150,000 property with an agent who mainly deals in manor houses, and vice versa. If you choose a matching agent they are more likely to have existing clients on their books looking for a home like yours.
  4. Talk to people, ask about their experiences.  Would they use an agent again, did they feel they communicated, whilst you are at it ask about solicitors, you pay them a lot to you know.

Now invite your chosen three round…

  1. If they ask you for your thoughts on value before giving their own, say you invited them round for their opinion, it is ok to discuss it after they have committed.
  2. Have they brought comparables and evidence, are they relevant to your home? Or, have they just dragged out a big sales file telling you all about their great services and how fabulous they are? It is ok to be proud of your firm and yourself (I am) but I would rather see genuine thank you letters than a pre-printed mission statement.
  3. Do you feel comfortable with the person, are they knowledgeable, do they ask about you, your reasons for moving, do they listen or is it one big sales pitch! When they leave are you relaxed and more informed or are you just glad to see the back of them?
  4. Ask about their terms and conditions, including fee, fixed or percentage, agency period, dis-instruction period, how much for an epc. People always seem to worry about the fee, then sign up to a 20 week contract; this can be a much more costly mistake.
  5. Meet with all three agents before making a decision, don’t forget if they persuade you to sign up on the day you have a 7 day cooling off period (check their T’s & C’s) Make your decision after weighing up all the pro’s and con’s, sometimes the most expensive agent is the one for you, and sometimes the cheapest one may be, or even the one in-between, but, if you have done your homework hopefully you have found one to trust and that is far more important!

There is far more I could say about the actual valuation/appraisal itself, but, I will save that for another day.

Estate Agent Dad

Huge thanks to Mark for taking the time to write this article and share his knowledge and insight.  You can follow him daily on Twitter @EstateAgentDad

(images from idea go’s & jscreationzs /freedigitalphotos.net)

If you need advice on styling, selling or buying property and would like to discuss working with me … my main website can be found at www.propertystylingcompany.co.uk. Contact can be made through this wordpress site, by email or by calling 07789 488446.

Thinking of buying (or selling) a property in Devon?

Yesterday, I was on another of my frequent trips to Exeter and picked up a copy of a new publication ‘Devon Homes and Living’. May 2011 £1.50

Naturally it’s full of houses for sale (who’d have thought?!) and whilst you’ll have probably seen most of featured properties on the web, it does contain quite a few interesting articles.

Days out in Devon, a brief description of the local areas and a smattering of  interiors/gardening news are interspersed with the obligitory adverts but of course this month, as featured on the cover, there’s also a double page spread on Kirsty and her Devon homes including ‘Meadowgate’ (available to rent for upwards of £2000 pw!).

I’m not sure I’ll be buying the publication every month but, if you are into property I can highly recommend curling up in a quiet sunny corner, with a cup of tea and a biscuit, whilst leafing through this property paper.

If you need advice on styling, selling or buying property and would like to discuss working with me … my main website can be found at www.propertystylingcompany.co.uk. Contact can be made through this wordpress site, by email or by calling 07789 488446.

Spring Clean!

So you’ve decided to put the house on the market – (or you may even be considering letting) you’ve thought about which Agents you’ll get to value and you are itching to get the For Sale sign up.  BUT WAIT… Want to know what the number one turn-off is that could scupper a decent valuation and a quick sale?…..

GRIME!

You know what I mean – you’ve seen it yourself when you’ve been viewing properties.  And probably rushed out with lots of excuses as soon as you could…

  • Grease in the kitchen, up the tiles, over the cooker.
  • Sticky carpets that cling to your shoe and look as though they’re 30 years old and….. smell accordingly.
  • Dirty bathroom tiles with other peoples ‘skin and hair’ clinging to them, ugh… dare you lift the toilet seat?
  • Overflowing cat litter trays!
  • Sticky handprints on the wall.
  • Flithy windows you can’t see in (or out) of.
  • Dark, dusty corners and cobwebs hanging from the light fitting.

You want people to relax when they are viewing your property, imagine themselves living in it – not feel desperate to leave in case they catch something or rush home to jump in the shower!  Unless your house IS a show home (and there are some people out there), would it receive a gold star of approval when viewed through the critical eyes of a viewer? – think about it.  Would you really want your agent to have to apologise for the ‘state’ of your home everytime they conducted a viewing?

As time becomes a scarce resource for many, it’s easy to let dust and grime build up. When was the last time you wiped down your skirting boards or cleaned around your light switches? (Please don’t come and look at mine!)

That’s why having a thorough clean BEFORE your Estate Agent and your first viewers arrive is SO important.  You might already have a cleaner, but they’re just ‘keeping on top’ of the dusting and vacuuming.

What you really need is a whole weekend devoted to Spring Cleaning tackling the cobwebs, removing grease from inside and outside of those cupboards and freshening up the bathroom.

Wiping down the paintwork can be as effective as redecorating but without the mess!

Better still, why not employ a team to deep clean your property whilst you’re at work and come back to what looks like a new home?

You’ll be impressed and so will your potential buyers!

If you need advice on styling, selling or buying property and would like to discuss working with me … my main website can be found at www.propertystylingcompany.co.uk. Contact can be made through this wordpress site, by email or by calling 07789 488446.

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