Note: this is a partnered post and consideration was received for its publication. Creative Commons-licensed photograph by Paul Mison.
House sellers can make terrible mistakes when dealing with property. These errors in judgement and holes in their knowledge can cost them thousands or tens of thousands of pounds and one of the most desperate is the use of a scurrilous estate agent. Regular studies into the behaviour of an average agent rarely show a positive side, simply because of commonly heard falsehoods such as these:
The art of the short property description is a skilled one. And some words and phraseology, while undoubtedly correct, just don’t sell (‘must sell’, for example).
So other, more effervescent wordsmithery is employed, such as ‘manicured gardens’ or ‘elegant’, even if the former is a patch of grass and the latter is about as dignified as an abattoir. The key lesson; don’t believe anything until you’ve seen it with your own two eyes.
“We’ve already had several people looking around the house already”
“We had another offer just after yours that was higher, do you want to match it or beat it?”
Two heads of the same beast, both designed to extract more money. They may not have had anyone even look at the property for three months or longer, but it just so happens that on that particular day a glut of visitors decided to book spots. Or bizarrely, table an offer a couple of thousands of pounds north of yours. Totally unproved, of course.
“You like this place, don’t you? We’ll get a good deal for you”
If they’ve picked up on the fact that it’s perfect for you, then they know that they can exploit your emotions, especially if you’ve spent some period of time searching before landing here. Some clients look at 40 houses over a weekend, others get excited by the first they see and don’t search any further – just be careful not to reveal your hand too early.
“Selling a home is too complex for a non-estate agent.”
It’s 2015. Knowledge on every process and step in selling a home can be obtained online, from advice on photography and writing, to templates of forms, to legal clarification. Companies such as HouseSimple.com can also negotiate and manage the entire process for you – it’s worth looking around before diving in.
‘The fffsss sound’
Estate agent David Pollock writes here about this sound that an agent might make, in the form of a sharp intake of breath, when a buyer puts in a low offer. Sometimes that one sound convinces the buyer that their bid is unrealistic or silly and they bump up the price, costing them several thousand pounds in the process.
“You have to get a mortgage with xx company for this house”
“…because I’ll get a commission that way” is the unsaid communication. Many estate agents have connections with mortgage companies and are keen to pick up a little slice of the transaction.
“We’ve searched all the mortgage companies and arrived at the best deal”
…which is coincidentally the same mortgage provider mentioned above. It’s very possible that they have scanned hundreds of lenders for deals, but not all of them will benefit the agent or broker.
Before signing up to a mortgage that could cost you thousands of pounds, have a quick search on the Internet, using exactly the same information you gave the estate agent. You might be surprised.