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AIBU to ask your advice on selling a house for the first time?

(31 Posts)
ItsThatBeverleyMacca Sat 21-Jan-17 16:13:47

We're first time sellers, bought our current place in a cheap area of the north east in 2014 for £95k. We've done some work on it but the area isn't fashionable, and it's been valued at £100k. This is in line with what we expected. What I'd like some advice on is agents' selling fees - we've read 1% plus VAT is usual, but the agency we liked have said their 1.5% is good value and a couple of others on the phone wouldn't give us their fees over the phone, so I assume we'd have to speak with them all individually.

Is 1% usual or are we being tight? grin Has anyone used the online agents like Purple Bricks? Anything else to bear in mind? Any advice gratefully received!

Foxyloxy1plus1 Sat 21-Jan-17 16:23:34

The last time we moved in 2014, it was 1.5%. No idea about any of the online agents. We've never used them, but have had most success and less hassle with smaller local agents, usually about six branches. Our experience has been that they give a more personal service, but a reasonable coverage. With Rightmove etc, that matters less of course, but there are still those who go into agent's offices.

I'd imagine you'd need to look very carefully at what the fixed fee ones offer for the money. Reading the small print is vital. You're usually locked into a deal for a specific time and have to give quite a bit of notice if you want to leave them. I would choose one that offers a service where one or two people in the office know your house well and can point out features and answer buyers questions. The large chain agents have someone to answer the phone, someone to make bookings, someone to do viewings. They don't , in my experience, do joined up thinking. We've had poor experiences with viewers turning up and no agent, no feedback on viewings and viewers and agents turning up when we specifically said no, because of lack of communication.

TheCustomaryMethod Sat 21-Jan-17 16:23:44

I don't think 1.5% is unusual, but the only way to be sure you're getting the best deal is to shop around - perhaps ask for 3 different agents' quotes. Don't be too swayed by the agent that suggests the highest asking price - look at the overall service they're offering.

The last couple of times I sold a house, I went for a fixed fee which included conveyancing - this worked out cheaper than paying separately for conveyancing plus a percentage of sale fee, so that might be another option to consider if any agents in your area offer this service.

witwootoodleoo Sat 21-Jan-17 16:31:34

I've always negotiated on fees and never paid more than 1% plus VAT and I've sold three properties in five years alone

ItsThatBeverleyMacca Sat 21-Jan-17 16:34:17

Thank you smile We've got one agent calling back on Monday when their valuation person is back in the office, so we can get some idea there, and I'll try another couple of agents too. Round here they mainly seem to be local ones and we do like the one that quoted 1.5% (we bought this house through them) but just wanted to check this wasn't too high.

It's really hard when you don't know anything about something so important - we're the first out of our friends to sell a house, and both mine and DH's mum last sold a house years and years ago and can't remember much about it, so we don't have anyone we know we can can ask for advice!

ItsThatBeverleyMacca Sat 21-Jan-17 16:37:50

Thanks witwoo, that's good to know, I'd rather pay along the lines of 1%! With the house being relatively cheap anyway, if we had a big sales fee to pay it would eat into what we'd put into it.

IamtheDevilsAvocado Sat 21-Jan-17 16:38:29

Also many of these prices ARE negotiable... Especially of you make it easier... For example a pal had a significant discount in fees as he said he would show people around

ItsThatBeverleyMacca Sat 21-Jan-17 16:55:26

I am actually making notes! Thank you. The people we bought this house from showed us round themselves, perhaps they got a discount for that.

DJBaggySmalls Sat 21-Jan-17 17:00:55

It sounds obvious but ruthlessly declutter, deep clean, and dont have any strong odours - not even nice ones like baking bread or coffee when people view.
It wants to look like a blank canvas so people can project themselves on to it.

Troubleinstore Sat 21-Jan-17 17:09:50

A friend just bought a house marketed through Purple Bricks - she thought they were brilliant and couldn't do enough for her, but I know they offer a fixed price deal (not sure if they do a percentage one too)
I have just recently been to view a property and asked them to let me know if there were an offers on it, as I wanted a second viewing with my partner a week later. I called back to book 3 days later and it had gone. I mentioned about the offers and asked why they didn't let me know. They said it was very popular and sold very quickly. (I was prepared to go above the asking price too!)
My point is if you agree a fixed price the estate agents have no incentive to get the best price for you as a seller, as they have got their money anyway. I asked the estate agent how did they know I wasn't going to offer a higher price? they just mumbled something un-audible.
I loathe to pay over the top, but would also want the best price I could get for my property.
I am led to believe estate agents push to sell if they think it will complete a chain for themselves.
Not sure if helpful but food for thought.

Whatthefudger Sat 21-Jan-17 17:28:06

I'm a Conveyancer and I know that the agents atm are desperate. I see so many different fee scales from the same agents, from the savvy younger couple who shopped around who paid less than 1% to the older lady who paid 2.5%. These are properties for around the same price with the same Estate Agent. There is always room for negotiations. I would say 1.5% is on the high side in the current market and no fee is set in stone. I would dig your heels in and get them to knock it down to 1%. Good luck

foxyloxy78 Sat 21-Jan-17 17:46:10

They will do 1%. Negotiate. They will go with it to secure your business

Violetcharlotte Sat 21-Jan-17 17:53:17

Hi OP I worked as an estate agents for a bout 10 years so hopefully I can help ( was 12 years ago but I'm sure things haven't changed that much!)

I'd advise to go with the agent you like. 1.5% was about average in my day. I know there are agents that's charge less, but I do think you get what you pay for. Moving house can be incredibly stressful - finding a buyer is relatively easy usually, it's progressing it to an actual sale that's tricky. Some agents refuse to do any sales progression and leave it all flints solicitors, you really need them to be chasing the chain, calling all the other solicitors and agents involved to check what's going on and making sure everything's in order, particularly if it's a long chain. In my view that's how the agents really earn their money. I'd say go with your gut instinct and choose someone you like and feel like you can trust. If they help make your move easier it'll be worth the extra money.

witwootoodleoo Sat 21-Jan-17 18:00:09

Personally I would never use the conveyancers that are linked through the estate agents. We've bought and sold quite a bit and have always found that where people in the chain have used these kind of conveyancers they cause delays. They often have people with no legal training doing the work loosely 'overseen' by a solicitor. They tend not to have the experience to get things sorted quickly and easily. I always use an independent solicitor that comes recommended.

Also ask any solicitor to agree that all correspondence with you will be via email. If you get an old school solicitor that insists on writing to you it adds a lot of time to the process as they'll typically dictate a letter, there will be a delay whilst it is typed up, then time in the post, probably comes when you're out etc. It can easily add 3 or 4 days to each communication.

Agree with PP ruthlessly declutter. Make sure it doesn't look like you've run out of room or storage as this will tell buyers that the same will happen to them. Present your house like a show home. Air it thoroughly every day. It's a pain but it will sell quicker as people generally don't have much vision when they look round houses.

Giddyaunt18 Sat 21-Jan-17 18:22:46

I'm not selling but if I were I'd look into PURPLE BRICKS as no commission apparently. Good luck.

emsyj37 Sat 21-Jan-17 18:57:39

We have our house on the market currently (north west) and DH negotiated a 0.75% plys VAT fee with the first agent we saw, which all but one of the other agents readily matched.

MadameJosephine Sat 21-Jan-17 19:22:31

I've just put my house on the market (north east) with Pattinson's and have gone for a fixed price deal at the moment which will work out at 0.85% + vat if I take the lowest offer I'm prepared to accept. They've got 12 weeks to sell it and then if they don't I can cancel and go with someone else. There's a lot of competition at the minute, I've had 2 letters from other estate agents trying to persuade me to go with them so I'm sure negotiations can be made. Whereabouts are you selling?

Foxyloxy1plus1 Sat 21-Jan-17 19:42:28

We put our house with a particular agent and they didn't sell it and weren't at all helpful. This was late 2013. Last week they phoned to ask if we were still selling.

So yes, they're desperate for business, so you can probably negotiate.

PolarBearGoingSomewhere Sat 21-Jan-17 19:49:27

We sold ours a couple of years ago. We paid 1% and showed people round ourselves (we're in the Midlands though and in 12 or 14 house viewing I have been shown round by the agent once, and that was when the vendor was on holiday!)

I also secured a "no exchange no fee" deal which meant that even if we'd have pulled out at the last minute we wouldn't have had to pay. Another agent's fees were payable if there was a "proceedable offer" so check carefully.

There is usually a 12 week period where you have to keep it on the market and you can't go with another agent in that time, although if you're desperate to sell and use two agents from the get go you can pay two sets of fees.

MatildaTheCat Sat 21-Jan-17 20:00:50

Selling at £100k means that at 1% there isn't a huge profit for the agent so sell yourselves. Ensure the house is clean, de cluttered and looks easy to sell. Offer to do viewings and have a clear plan as to where you are going as a short chain is easier to complete on.

All of this will make it easier to negotiate and I would talk to several local agents and see who offers the best service and price. Remember, if they aren't earning much they may not out in much effort either.

And paint your front door! Apparently most buyers decide before they've even entered the property.

ItsThatBeverleyMacca Sat 21-Jan-17 20:10:05

Thank you so much everyone, really, it's so helpful. We do really like the agent we have been in touch with, but we're both a bit taken aback with the 1.5% as from our own patchy research we thought this perhaps should/could be lower, but I fear we came across like we had no idea what we were talking about. We decided not to sign anything today and get some more quotes, and some more advice!

madamejosephine we're just outside Gosforth in Newcastle - Pattinson's is one I have on my list to call on Monday smile

MiladyThesaurus Sat 21-Jan-17 20:20:17

If you're where I think you are, the local EAs will all insist on marketing it as if it's Gosforth regardless how obviously not gosforth it is. You'd think the around 40% of Newcastle was gosforth and another 30% was jesmond if you believed the local EAs!

We sold our house through Jan Forster, who will match another agent's commission. I assume all the local agents will probably do the same. We got loads of different agents round and the difference in valuations was nuts. (It actually sold for the highest valuation price the first weekend on the market).

There's a local online agent with really low fees, but they appeared to be crap and their valuation was 20% lower than we actually sold for (and even then the guy seemed to be implying the valuation was a bit pie in the sky).

TheWanderingUterus Sat 21-Jan-17 20:22:29

You can do a joint deal with agents where you only pay the one that finds you the buyer. A lot of agents are reluctant to mention it, but most of the houses on RIghtmove near me are on with at least one agent, one is on with five. We didn't realise until we were told by a rival agent.

The real work of the estate agent is after the offer so make sure you choose ones that are active and aggressive. Our sellers solicitors are like attack dogs, they phone every few days to check the progress of the sale and are also chivvying along the seller and her solicitor. Ours have been the same to our buyer, we received an offer on the 2nd Jan, his mortgage has been arranged, surveys and searches done and all questions from all three sides have been answered within 24 hours. It has been fantastic.

Photos are important, some statistics that most people only look at the first three on RM before deciding to click through further. We were on with one agent who put our dated and stained kitchen on as the first picture , and left off the garage/parking which was the major selling point. Parking is terrible in our area and garages are like hens teeth, he also left it off the particulars completely! We were very glad of the 14 day cancellation period and went with another agent. The man who bought our house saw it had gone on the market at first and dismissed it until he saw the garage on the second set of particulars. That's what he was looking for and he didn't even consider our house until he saw the garage as the second picture on RM.

We have sold now but once we were on the market we had 10+ calls from other agents, four letters and one agent knocking on the door unannounced. The housing market is quiet in my area and they were all desperate for our business. Lots of room for negotiation on fees!

Tons of our stuff is in boxes in the roof, this made cleaning easier before viewings and made our house look very uncluttered. Make sure you and your agent (if they are doing viewings) know about your house, when extensions were done, broadband speed etc. Some viewers have a LOt of questions and it's better to be prepared.

Start digging out any paperwork, building completion certificates, guarantees, manuals for anything you might leave behind etc. It will save time in the long run, especially if you need to get new copies of certificates. Get the boiler serviced if you can. When you get viewings make sure you put the boiler on so the house is warm and welcoming and they can see it's working. If you have road noise or noisy neighbours then quiet music can help.

In my area people avoid online agents and they have a bad reputation. This is obviously not the case for all areas, but I've noticed that only the really hard to sell houses are on with online agents, often at overinflated prices.

Good luck

MadameJosephine Sat 21-Jan-17 20:31:59

Just checking as I'm looking to downsize but I want to be south of the river. Good luck

ItsThatBeverleyMacca Sat 21-Jan-17 22:17:57

milady I completely understand, it's under the same postcode as Gosforth and only around a mile and a half from the high street there, but we certainly couldn't command Gosforth prices grin it's been a fab little starter home though and very handy in many ways for lots of amenities, but I'm due DC2 soon and we just fancied somewhere new with a bit more space. We've also been looking south of the river madame!

thewandering we did make it look lovely for the photos, interesting stats about the first 3 on RM! Paid to have the garden tidied and hedges trimmed, gave the inside a real spruce up. We've put a new bathroom in and carpeted most of it, so it looks clean and fresh in the amateur photos I've taken of it myself!

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