Estate Agents



When your home refuses to attract a buyer there are usually good reasons and some of them are within your power to influence. Frustrated sellers are now beginning to question the need to engage an estate agent and save between 1% -2% of the sale price in fees.

Taking this route in turn demands a fresh look at how you are presenting your home to the potential purchaser. What follows is a summary of measures gleaned from the painful experiences revealed by the market downturn.

1          Tidy up all outside approaches to the property, so that it looks inviting.  Don’t leave children’s toys, garden tools, washing lines, dismantled motor car parts lying around, tuck the dustbin away tidily and remove all forms of detritus, hedge clippings, dog dirt, etc.  It is only a rare kind of punter who will look to buy a student squat.

2          Embark on a clinical makeover to create a show home.  Create the feeling of space to counteract any feeling of claustrophobia such as is often perceived in old buildings with small windows. This allows the viewer to envisage how it would be used, rather than having your use imposed and which might not appeal.  Lighten dark areas by redecoration, tying back curtains, changing grubby carpets and erection of mirrors.  If your home looks clean and cared for prospective purchasers will instinctively feel that the property has been well looked after.

3          Above all de-clutter. Enhance the space appeal by removing excess furniture, hide away loose ornaments, knick knacks and forests of house plants. Avoid diluting your mission with personal information by putting away family photographs beyond a token few.  Strive to present a “clean-shaven” streamlined image that is not too fussy or flowery.

4          Activate a project time line to complete the achievement of the above preparations to ensure results not excuses before viewers plan to arrive – even though some might be no shows !

5          Target your market prospects and look at your property through the eyes of those you anticipate might be interested to buy it.  It is no use you deciding what your property is worth – it is only worth what someone else will pay for it.  And if you don’t give it maximum appeal you won’t sell it.

6          The great day arrives and you remind yourself you only need one buyer!  Remember your serious viewers haven’t just come to snoop and sniff your coffee so during their visit keep to the mission. Show them the best room first as, at the beginning of the tour, they will be inclined to linger and this will leave a stronger impression.  Let the viewers into a room first – don’t lead them so that their first sight is the back of your head ! When they see the magnificent space ask them ” What do you think?” or “How would you use this?”

7          After your initial show tour produces positive reactions you could do well to invite your visitors to wander alone.  This gives them an opportunity to plan how they might like to use the space if it is to be theirs.  While they wander you can go and put the kettle on !

So will you axe the agent ? That depends on how confident you are that you can measure up your home, photograph it, compose the details including outline floor plans, provide adequate advertising and generally be sure to keep on top of what is for most people quite an upheaval.  At least if you go ahead without an agent you can comfort yourself that what it costs you is offset by the saving in agents fees.

Liam Bunclark

11th March 2009