Why do estate agents’ charges vary so much?
The traditional estate agents
Traditionally, estate agents were based locally with a strong knowledge of their immediately-surrounding property market. Part of the value of the their service was guiding sellers on the value of their property, based on the prices of those in the nearby vicinity. They had knowledge of what was being bought and sold in the local market and relied upon people either ringing their branch or calling into their high street shop to talk to them. They coordinated with solicitors, buyers and others in the chain to look after your sale and keep it on track.
Industry standard was that shop-based local agents’ fees were based on the percentage of the value of the property, therefore the more the agent achieved for the property the more they were rewarded for their efforts of a good sale. Being prepared to take the risk of your sale not completing and not getting paid, was reflected in the charge of significant percentage-based fees, because where there is risk there is usually reward.
The advent of on-line estate agents
Then along comes the new wave of agents! Taking advantage of how the internet is changing how we interact with one another, removing the need for high street offices and replacing them with a slick website supported by an app. They put sellers in control of their own sale.
With property sales information so readily available on the internet, anyone can see what everyone has paid for their property within a few weeks of the sales. Therefore, the perception of value in this once professional local knowledge is less, because anyone can find it out. There is also less value in the need to understand what buyers in the local area are looking for. What matters in this scenario, is getting your property onto the internet and buyers will find out what they need for themselves.
Marketing too, is standardised, and all key components are there. Fair play to these online agents, their national advertising campaigns and high-profile sponsorships have totally changed the perception of what an estate agent does and their fixed fees present home sellers with a transparency of costs they never had before.
However, in my experience, as a specialist boutique estate agent, they have also achieved something else, and that is to distract home sellers from one of the core, vital roles that traditional estate agents provide, which is known in the industry as ‘sales progression’.
The missing service
Sales progression is what takes you right through to completing the sale on your house. It is not often realised that, on the one hand, estate agents are in competition with each other, wanting to be the one you choose to sell your house. But on the other hand, once your buyer is found, you’re then in a chain with whole lot of other buyers and sellers, requiring estate agents to work together to progress all those sales, including yours.
It’s not easy. It’s takes experience, knowledge and understanding to smooth the bumps in the road and keep your sale on track. In our experience, online agents will sink into the background when it comes to sales progression, leaving it to the seller to pick it all up. It’s a role that is amazingly stressful, with a lot of emotional involvement on your part.
The bottom line is that if you’re paying a low fixed fee, the level of support you’ll receive throughout your sale will leave a lot to be desired. For some this will suit; seeing the sale of their property as a business transaction is easier for some people than for others.
Our love of certainity
But in my experience, people crave certainty, especially in a property-selling scenario, which is one of the most uncertain experiences you’re ever likely to have. Yes, estate agents need to embrace changes in technology, and need to provide a more customer-focused service with transparency of costs. But this also needs to be supported by strong professional knowledge and understanding.
You deserve a service that discusses not dictates what value a property will be marketed for. You deserve help and advice on how to achieve the best value for their home. You need sales strategy which guides you to a successful sale. Eye-catching marketing tailored to the individual strengths of their property, stopping buyers as they scroll through the portals. And you need to be able to contact your professional advisor outside normal office hours.
Finding the way forward
Anyone who has been through a house sale will tell you that the support, focus and dedication to negotiating the strongest deal and taking their sale from buyer to completion is completely invaluable. Someone to take away the stresses and lift the emotional strain that comes with selling your home away from you so you can get on with other aspects of your life is fantastic.
Boutique estate agents like myplace completely recognise this need for personal support and is the essence of the service we provide. We build much-needed trust and assurance into the whole house-selling process. We are available seven days a week, in whatever manner suits the seller and their buyer best, and we pride ourselves on this total support.
Remember at myplace we are here to make your life easier, including the choices you make even before you put your house on the market. If a chat would help, then we’re here anytime. Drop us a message, or give us a call, whatever works best for you.