We are all guilty of choosing the cheapest option at times when making consumer choices, (who isn’t interested when something, on the face of it, looks like a bargain?) however, when it comes to property - arguably your greatest asset - you have to think very carefully about how and why you instruct an agent. The agent’s fee should not, in our view, be the deciding factor. There are many important elements to consider if your chosen agent is to achieve the outcome you want or need. For the majority of customers, this is to sell or let their property to the right buyer or tenant at the highest possible price, in the desired time frame with the least hassle. The agents that offer you cheap fees will have to make cuts in their service, which in turn will be detrimental to you achieving your goals.
It is easy to put a For Sale or To Let board up; finding the right buyer or tenant and getting the best price for your property requires hard work and dedication to the job. It requires marketing your property to the widest possible audience to maximise interest and achieve the best price for you; it requires a knowledgeable agent who is on hand to listen, advise and guide you throughout the process - from preparing your property to go on the market to the day when the keys are handed over.
It requires effective feedback on viewings, on-going advice and recommendations. It requires an agent who truly understands the needs of you as a seller or a landlord; who knows the local market inside out and exactly who is looking for a property just like yours and what those buyers’/tenants’ needs are so the agent can highlight and match the features of your property to the customer in order to achieve the best price.
It requires skilled negotiation to overcome objections. Once the sale or let is agreed it requires regular communication, reassurance and hand holding throughout the process in order to keep the transaction together and moving along within the desired time frame and with the least possible hassle to the customer.
Recently, some customers have come to us feeling disillusioned that their property has not yet sold or let having instructed an agent to whom they have also paid the fee upfront. Or they have opted to use the agent with the cheapest fee and the agent has not delivered on any of their promises. They express concern or sometimes real anguish, that not enough is being done by the agent to market the property. Another concern is that some agents are charging additional costs for ‘extras’ which means the real fee you pay ends up considerably higher than originally quoted.
Martin Robinson, National Sales Director at Hunters says, “It is important for sellers to understand that choosing an agent who charges low fees, often up front, is not necessarily going to produce costs savings, nor get you the best price for your property. An agent who offers a ‘no sale no fee’ will offer a much more comprehensive service and be able to add value at every stage from valuation to completion. This often means achieving a higher price for your property and therefore works out much more financially beneficial for the seller. In addition, a good agent will reduce the stress and take over full management of the sales progression process.”
Martin continues, “We believe that a good estate agent should work on a no sale, no fee basis. Simple. At Hunters, our agents are trained to understand the importance of delivering excellent customer service and don’t charge if they don’t deliver. But we don’t expect you to take our word for it, 96%* of our customers say we get it right and we’re very proud of that.”
For the lettings market, we know that fee is not the most important factor when choosing an agent. Carrie Alliston, Head of Lettings at Hunters comments, “In a recent survey, nearly 70% of Landlords cited having referenced tenants as top priority when selecting an agent to let their property. Speed of getting the property let and trained staff were quoted as second and third priorities.”
Letting out a property can be a legislative minefield with increasing and ever changing rules and regulations that agents, landlords and tenants have to abide by.
Carrie added, “Almost 80% of Landlords said they turn to their letting agent to make sure their properties meet new legislative requirements, so it is vital that you can rely on your agent to be compliant, regulated and fully up to speed with the industry standards. Failing to do so can result in heavy fines for landlords and problems in continuing to secure successful lets.”
*On average 96% of Hunters customers who responded to our Customer Service Team between Jan-Dec 2015 said they were happy with our services.
*Hunters Landlord Survey 2016