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Don’t Undervalue Your Home – You could be losing out of tens of thousands of pounds.

Mon 11 Nov 2013

This last week I have been involved in two situations where clients have contacted me, having received offers on their properties by local ‘trusted’ agents, wanting to know if they were selling at the right price and could I do any better for them.

Property Number 1

Mr H’s solicitor telephoned me. I have known this solicitor for a long time and have acted for Mr H before when I sold a flat for him around 5 years ago. The solicitor explained that Mr H has another flat which he had been renting out for over 20 years. He currently had an offer of £515,000 for his leasehold interest, would I call Mr H and see if there was anything I could do for him.

I telephoned Mr H in Cyprus (that’s where he is living now). He explained that he had been renting out the property through the same agent for a long time, he had decided to sell and the agent had presented him with an offer of £515,000, subject to contract. Would I go and visit the property and give my opinion of the value. Getting the keys off his ‘trusted’ agent proved a little difficult, however, once I had viewed the apartment I was of the opinion that the flat was worth at least £560,000 and he should be asking £575,000.

A few phone calls later and his buyer had miraculously improved his offer to £550,000. I still thought this a little low and showed a few buyers we had registered around the property. We received an offer of £575,000. The seller however, felt obliged to stick with his first buyer even though it was at less money. Fast forward 2 weeks and the solicitor calls me again, the first buyer wants to exchange contacts in 8 weeks and delay the completion for 3 months, are our buyers still interested.

I am happy to report that our buyer has agreed to exchange contacts in 2 weeks and has provided a non-refundable deposit to show his good will. The seller now has £65,000 more than he would have had if he had not spoken to us.

Property Number 2

Mr O emailed me from Malaysia. He has a flat near our office and his local solicitor has a buyer who has offered £550,000 for his apartment, what did I think. A quick look at our data base told me the minimum value for his property was £625,000. HE was a little put out that his friendly solicitor had miss-advised him and asked us to place the property formally on the market for £650,000. Again his buyer miraculously increased their offer to £635,000 however; having received a lot of interest in this particular property we have today agreed a sale at £650,000, earning an extra £100,000 for our client.

The above two examples clearly show the need to ring a few Estate Agents to get a true picture of the value of your property. Your friend/acquaintance may be in the business, may have had property dealing before, may have even helped you rent the property, but please do not rely on them to always give you the best advice. In the above cases, property number 1 did not even have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate), a minimum requirement for letting or selling of property, so his so called friendly agent was breaking the law. In property number 2 his agent friend had been under letting the property for 7 years and charged a full commission to the owner to do so, again without an EPC, electrical safety certificate and all the associated requirements for the letting of property.

This is not the first time I have seen this happen in my 30 years of Estate Agency; just calling yourself an Estate Agent is not good enough in these current times. Make sure your agent is a member of NAEA, ARLA, NAILS of RICS, make sure they belong to a redress scheme such as the Property Ombudsman and above all, check the facts, not the fiction.