Second Agent Syndrome
I have done it loads & loads of times and unfortunately I have had it done to me a few times as well. A property goes on the market with an agent. It doesn’t sell so the vendors put it on with a different agent, drop the price by 5% or 10% and it sells with the new agent within a week. The new agent looks great and the first agent is left thinking if you had done that with me then I would probably have sold it!
As normal high street estate agents our job is to secure you a buyer for your property and to get you the best possible price and we don’t get a penny of commission until your property is sold so that can focus the mind somewhat as you can imagine. If you are using an online agent and have paid an upfront fee then I am not sure what their incentive is to sell your house but that is a blog for another day! As such most agents will err on the side of optimism when pricing your property in order to try and get you that best possible price.
As I have always banged on about in these blogs, the trick is to work with your agent and listen to what he or she is telling you (or at least should be).
Firstly, when you are initially thinking of putting your property on the market, get a few valuations to compare. If all the agents say the same price then it probably is. If, as is usual in Leigh on Sea, the prices vary widely, then take a step back and think before you start marketing. It is human nature to think that your house is going to be worth millions but the agent should be able to justify the price he or she has valued it at with evidence of other similar local properties that have sold recently. They should have experience of what the local housing market is currently doing and any trends that might be happening. If you think that their estimate is hugely optimistic and basically just too high then it probably is. Also if you particularly liked an agent and thought you could work well with them but you wanted to market your home at a higher or lower price than they quoted, don’t be afraid to voice that opinion. They wont bite and will be happy of the instruction and do their very best to sell your property either way. You will be working very closely with this agent trying to sell your most valuable asset so you have to start the relationship on the right foot and know that that agent will be doing their utmost for you and that you can approach them at any time with suggestions, queries or even complaints.
Once the property is on the market you will agree a sale within a couple of days and everything will be brilliant and you will believe that your agent can walk on water.
But what if it doesn’t? This is when your agent really has to work for you and, no offence, but you have to listen to them and what the market may be telling you. As I have said, pricing in Leigh on Sea can be extremely difficult with all of the individual properties we have and it is very much not an exact science based on opinion. That saying, it is is still a very popular place to live and there are plenty of people who would love to live here. Unless your property is falling down or you have murals in every room of Game of Thrones then there are buyers for everything and anything in Leigh on Sea and if your house hasn’t sold within a few weeks then, sorry to say it, but it probably boils down to price. You have marketed it too high.
Your agent should be keeping you posted if this is the case. They can produce statistics from online marketing of how many times your property has been viewed and searched, and he or she can tell you if it is above or below average. They should be telling you how often they are advertising the property in the local press and circulating the photos online so that it stays fresh in peoples searches and, of course, they should be giving you clear, concise and constructive feedback from any viewings you may have had. If they don’t like your murals then you may have to consider some white paint but if all of the viewers have said ‘nice house but too expensive’ then you may have to do something about it.
If your agent is not doing any of this then by all means you should try a different agent or at least ask their advise. Beware though if you have signed a 14 or 16 week sole agency agreement with your first agent you may not be able to move agents for some time (by the way we don’t tie you in to a contract at Scott & Stapleton).
If your agent is giving you these stats, feedback and general advise then they will know pretty quickly if they need to adjust the price. Usually within 2 or 3 weeks. They will give you examples of other properties they have sold since yours has gone on to the market and any new ones similar that have come to the market for more or less money that they think compare to yours. They will also give you advise on how much you should drop your price to make a difference. For example if your property is on the market for £310,000 and has not sold within a few weeks then there really isn’t any point in dropping the price to £305,000 unfortunately. It is not going to jump out and be noticed by anybody new that hasn’t already seen it at £310,000. If you drop it it to £300,000 however then it should open up to a lot more people that are only looking up to £300,000 that didn’t see it before.
House buying is usually as aspirational thing and most people stretch themselves to the limit of their budget but they always look in price regions and whether that is looking up to £50,000 or £1,500,000 if you property is on the market for just over one of these thresholds then it may be being missed by the very people who will probably end up buying it. Look on the rightmove property sight and see what these prices ranges are before you start marketing. At the lower prices they go up in stages of £10,000 but the higher up you go the wider the gaps and over a million they go up by £250,000 so if you are lucky enough to have a property around that region it may be worthwhile marketing at £1,250,000 rather than £1,275,000?
In summary, if you honestly feel that you initially had the correct advise based on evidence and experience from your agent when you put your home on the market with them, they continued to give you feedback and advise once your property was available but unfortunately didn’t sell straight away, then take their advise and continue to work with them and consider reducing your asking price to secure a buyer. If however you think your agent was wildly optimistic and just priced it to get your home on the market and you haven’t heard from them since it went on with any feedback or advise then you have to move agents and may have to consider something drastic when it comes to your new marketing price. Sorry.