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  • FIRST POST
    • Marcus
    • By Marcus 21st Apr 04, 6:42 PM
    • 14Posts
    • 238Thanks
    Marcus
    House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    • #1
    • 21st Apr 04, 6:42 PM
    House Selling - Money Saving Tips 21st Apr 04 at 6:42 PM
    Greetings all. I’ve been using this site for a while now and have managed to save us a small fortune. Years ago I was an estate agent so I thought I’d see is I could write some bits and bobs in relation to my experiences in the hope that it might save people some cash.

    Selling Your House

    Methods to Save Money

    1) Agents Fees
    a. All Estate Agent Fees are negotiable. First, check through the local property paper. See which agents get the most business. Are any members of the NAEA. Busy agents who are members of the NAEA would be my first choices. Select the best 3 or 4 agents and phone them up as potential buyers. See what service you get over a week or so as a buyer - that way you’ll get an idea of how they will market and present your property. A good proactive, busy and well managed agent will still have time and resources to post/email you details and phone you with new properties.

    Then get them all to Value your property. Tell each valuer that you have other valuations (BUT NEVER TELL THEM WHAT VALUATIONS OTHER AGENTS HAVE GIVEN YOU - AS THEY’LL MANIPULATE THEIR OWN VALUATIONS) and that you are looking for a fee of 1% with no lock-ins. Most agents will try to lock you in - so that if you instruct them to take your property off the market you will not contractually be able to re-market with another agent for up to 8 weeks (especially with corporates). Make sure you get this down to 1 week after written notice. If you are locked in and you then sell your property through another agent you will get sued for the fees.

    Agents are sales persons - they will give you great reasons to lock you in and charge you more... but they also need your business - thus you have the power to ask for and get these things.

    b. Once your property is up for sale keep an eye on your agent - mystery shop them ie call them up, give a false name etc. and tell them you are looking for a property that matches your own property’s description - see if they push for you to view your property - are they positive and energetic?

    The Duel/Multi-Agency myth.
    If you become unhappy with your agent’s efforts it may be time to sack them or go multi agency. Tell an agent that you wish more than one agent to market your property and they’ll try and push up the fees to staggering amounts (2.5%+!!).
    Tactics - tell your current agent that you wish for other agents to market your property. Tell them that you’ll keep them as an agent only if they will keep your fees at 1%. If they will not, then sack them (you should only be locked in for a week). I’ve never known an agent not to back down in this situation - they’d lose potential business if they let you go.
    Now go to some other agents - probably the other agents on your original list - and tell them that “my agent has agreed to let me go multi-agency and my current fees are 1% - would you like to also market my property at 1% multi-agency?” You can guess what the answer will be...

    A 1 % saving on the average cost of a property in the UK (currently £150000) will save you £1500 before VAT.

    Duel Agency means you’re marketing with 2 agents - multi agency means you’re with more than two. Agents will try and charge you more for either of these - especially in the case of multi.



    2) Solicitor Fees
    During you initial enquiries with estate agents, ask them for several recommendations each of good conveyancers or solicitors. You don’t just want the name of the firm, but also the name of the specific solicitor/conveyancer. Remember, some agents will have ‘arrangements’ with some solicitors and some will even have their own - so be warned. A good rule of thumb would be to approach solicitors (by name) who have been recommended by different agents - although some solicitors will have arrangements with more than one agent.

    Phone the best solicitors and ask for written confirmation of their charges. Take note of how they treat you - do they speak in plain English, are they friendly and do you get their details as promised the next day. And once again - their fees are negotiable - there’s no reason not to ask your favourite contender to shave £xxx off of their fees if you have evidence of more competitive quotes from other solicitors... they may say “no chance” - in which case you need to make a decision as to whether or not the extra charges are really worth it.

    A solicitor can make or break deals for you so shop around. It’s very hard to change solicitors once they start the conveyancing process for you... and it will cost you!

    And finally - avoid fee busting corporate conveyancing firms - they will most likely slow down the conveyancing process - these are normally call centre and internet based firms. They can save you as much as £500... but as stingy as I am I would never use them.



    I hope this is of use to you and I hope that my info is still correct.
    I’ll see if I can write something for buyers when dealing with agents and the like.

    Regards
    Marcus
Page 1
  • laminki
    • #2
    • 21st Apr 04, 9:56 PM
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    • #2
    • 21st Apr 04, 9:56 PM
    cheers Marcus.
    • MSE Martin
    • By MSE Martin 6th May 04, 12:56 AM
    • 8,116 Posts
    • 42,310 Thanks
    MSE Martin
    • #3
    • 6th May 04, 12:56 AM
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    • #3
    • 6th May 04, 12:56 AM
    Just a quick note - in the 'post of the month awards' someone has already nominated this post as they saved £700 simply from having read it!
  • bosey
    • #4
    • 6th May 04, 12:07 PM
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    • #4
    • 6th May 04, 12:07 PM
    that rocks mate ;D I will be selling my house soon and had no idea about agent shenanegans. I'll let you know of the results!

    Thanks a lot for that
    • Marcus
    • By Marcus 6th May 04, 1:05 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 238 Thanks
    Marcus
    • #5
    • 6th May 04, 1:05 PM
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    • #5
    • 6th May 04, 1:05 PM
    £700! That's put a big smile on my face.

    Well done Haggy and good luck bosey.
    Haggy - I'd be interested in the details i.e. where your mate made the savings.

    Regards
    Marcus
  • Haggy
    • #6
    • 6th May 04, 2:43 PM
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    • #6
    • 6th May 04, 2:43 PM
    Hi Marcus

    Basically the chap at work got lots of valuations, picked the two agents that he liked the best and were the most professional.
    One refused to adjust the fees at all, maintained that as a big corporate he wasn't allowed to. The other dropped by 0.5% with a short tie in.

    Guess who got the business.

    House then sold ultra quick anyway, so it looks like everyone came out a winner.

    Thanks again.
    • Marcus
    • By Marcus 6th May 04, 3:10 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 238 Thanks
    Marcus
    • #7
    • 6th May 04, 3:10 PM
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    • #7
    • 6th May 04, 3:10 PM
    That's great. Playing them at their own game - haggling.

    That's a good point about the coporates - although they can pack a punch on the marketing side (advertising at least) they are less flexible when it comes to negotiating fees (which is a good indication that they can be rigid on other matters). Staff often have 'policies' they must follow.

    So during your hunt for good agents I think it would be a bad idea to pick just corporates to play off against each other. Much better to get a good mix.

    Regards
    Marcus
  • rushnowt
    • #8
    • 6th May 04, 3:33 PM
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    • #8
    • 6th May 04, 3:33 PM
    Cheers for the tips Marcus.

    I've been wanting to sell my house for some time now but worried about the charges involved.

    Could you please advise me though would it be better to sell my house in need of decoration etc i do need a very quick sale or do the work first before selling, i dont mind taking slighly less for the property but dont want to lose £1000's because of it. the house needs a bit of titivation however it is perfectly livable in just not had the money to finish off a few of the jobs. ???

    Thanks in advance

    Debs x
  • Layla
    • #9
    • 6th May 04, 4:46 PM
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    • #9
    • 6th May 04, 4:46 PM
    Thanks Marcus for this really useful information. I have passed this information on to my sister who is currently trying to sell her house.

    The info you mentioned for buyers would be excellent. I have had lots of problems with estate agents when trying to buy a house, as I am sure, have many others. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!
    • Marcus
    • By Marcus 6th May 04, 6:20 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 238 Thanks
    Marcus
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    Greetings Rushnowt.

    In my experience decor makes only a little difference to the end price (within reason). However, decor does make a big difference to how quickly you sell.

    On the first point - if a house needs new carpets, decorating, tiling and the like then you and the agent can reflect this in the market price. So if your property requires £2000 worth of work (which is a lot) then you may price the property accordingly - or even better, not reflect this in the price but to use the difference as a bargaining tool if you get offers.

    For a quicker sale you need a clean, bright and fresh house. Painting darker rooms with warm neutral colours is good. Removing living smells is good (all our homes smell a certain way that we'll not notice - especially if you smoke or have pets).

    If I were selling my property now I would:
    Paint any tired rooms warm and neutral colours
    Tidy up the garden front and back
    Have a complete spring clean (especially windows)
    Leave some nice smellies about

    Have the house viewed at its brightest time of day.
    Have the house viewed at the quietest time of day (if necessary).
    Make sure any building projects were complete (shelves, tiles etc).
    Leave fresh flowers out.

    If an Agent does the viewings whilst you're out then I'd leave a radio on low (classic fm maybe).

    If it's you doing viewings then show before dinner, tv off, and as few of you in the house as possible.

    Regards
    Marcus



    • Marcus
    • By Marcus 6th May 04, 6:31 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 238 Thanks
    Marcus
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    kopicbloodaxe
    I was writing the above when you sent your link. Some good 'top ten tips'.

    I would seriously weigh up the pros and cons of spending vast amounts on home improvements. It's a lot of money with no certainty of a return. My view has always been that all you need is a light, fresh canvas for people to project their own. So good tips.

    Marcus
    • Marcus
    • By Marcus 6th May 04, 6:33 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 238 Thanks
    Marcus
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    Layla

    I'll write something up in the next few days for buyers - I'll put my thinking cap on

    Regards
    Marcus
  • carmoney5473
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    Hi Marcus!

    Great posting and perfect timing for me!

    We've just had a couple of estate agents in to find out a) how much they think our house is worth and b) just what we do need to do to it before we sell (we knew it would need some magnolia and white, plus finishing off some things that just never did get done before...) We'll get more valuations once we are done because there is a huge difference in the valuations so far.

    The first said £400-£425k the second £475-£500k. Is it normal for there to be such a big discrepency? (There really are too few houses like ours available at the moment for me to make a guess.)

    As for fees they are starting at 1% and 1.25% so should I be pushing them done from there? I'm assuming I should.

    The first agent (the one with the lowest price), persuaded me to let another of their clients view early - because they are not accepting an offer on their house because there's nothing for them to move to. Would this have influenced his valuation? At the time I thought it fair - it was only when we got the second that I had any doubts.

    Thanks for any comments

    Caroline

  • archived user
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    A gratuitous plug that may save you thousands!

    Marcus et al,

    Insert from Martin: I'm afraid you were right the plug was gratuitous and has been deleted after complaints received. Please see the site rules at the top of the page.

    Hope that helps,

    Clive
  • archived user
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    Anyone thinking of selling or buying a house get a book by JOSEPH BRADSHAW called THE DIY GUIDE TO HOUSE BUYING SELLING AND CONVEYANCING (published by LAWPACK) its a laff, really informative and written in layman's terms.We have used this book to sell and buy four houses (so have friends) and have saved a fortune on Estate and Solicitors fees.
    It also great for refrence with example legal forms and how to fill them in etc. checklists etc. and points out all the scams/excuses so called" proffesionals" use when conveyancing property.
    A real eye opener.
    Think it is abour £9 well worth it Amazon had it and WH SMITH.
    • terrierlady
    • By terrierlady 6th May 04, 9:28 PM
    • 1,721 Posts
    • 539 Thanks
    terrierlady
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    good one Marcus another thing to watch is dont go with the agent that gives you the best valuation, after a few weeks of not selling he/she will be back to ask you to drop the price in order to get a quick sale......bet the price suggested is level with the other two valuations then.
    • Marcus
    • By Marcus 6th May 04, 9:29 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 238 Thanks
    Marcus
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    Greetings Caroline

    The first Agent may be a worry - a question you must ask yourself is did they under value the property so that they could complete the other clients chain? Or maybe to help out a friend.

    The second Agent may be a worry - did they over value in order to get your business? Did they know you had another valuation.

    These are really cynical questions and you can’t really answer them... what you can do is get more valuations (as per first post). You could also do a little homework and see what similar properties are doing in the area. Like you say it can be hard to do this if you have an unusual property.

    I think 1% is a good fee - but you want a lot of good work for £5000 + vat.
    You can always ask for a fixed fee.

    Regards
    Marcus

    PS - By allowing a viewer to view your property the agent could claim that you’ve verbally entered a contract with them, regardless as to whether you’ve signed anything or not. You may want to write to them stating that at this time you do not wish for them to market your property, but may do in the future. Ask for a written reply. I’m not sure of the legal ground here but it was something I was very aware of as an agent.
  • carmoney5473
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    Hi Marcus

    Thanks for your comments. I was having just the worries that you said. I will get the other 3 potential agents in once we are ready to go on the market (in about 4 weeks now). It seems reasonable to get them all since I've had such a range from the first two.

    I think I made it clear that I wasn't committing to any agent before I let the viewing happen. I also informed him of the other agent's valuation and he was visibly shocked, the next day he said maybe the market had moved on (he said it'd gone ballistic), but he still didn't think we had a half million pound house to sell.

    I'd be surprised too.

    But we'll see

    thanks very much

    Caroline



    • sablade
    • By sablade 6th May 04, 10:34 PM
    • 397 Posts
    • 187 Thanks
    sablade
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    The only trouble with not having a say 4 week lock in is that many agents will not spend too much of their own money marketing your property by advertising if you want to take it away from them quickly,

    I used to work for a local newpaper we charged £600 per week per page for estate agents.

    I think when you pay an agent you are probably paying for all the other time wasters that he earnt nothing from but paid out on.
  • archived user
    Re: House Selling - Money Saving Tips
    WEBSITES TO MARKET YOUR OWN HOME
    Ive had my house on with two agents who both fail to return calls and when I did a mystery shop and asked them to send details of houses within the price bracket I was selling at, sent info on houses £25-£30k above which didn't include mine.
    So thinking of DOING IT MYSELF. Does anyone have experience of advertising their own house on one of the house selling websites where you pay a fixed sum and do the work yourself? eg houseweb.co.uk
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