Turning over a new leaf this new year? Then why not consider turning over the keys to your house sale to a new estate agent?
If 2020 didn’t serve you well, we say out with the old and in with the new. After all, new year’s resolutions aren’t simply about taking up new hobbies and cutting back on chocolate; sometimes they’re about saying farewell to those things and people that aren’t helping you to progress.
Saying goodbye isn’t always easy. Familiarity is comfortable and it’s easy to find excuses to remain in a relationship that no longer serves you. Selling your home is an emotional process, and it’s understandable to feel some sense of loyalty towards the agent that, at first, felt like the right fit. Both of you, after all, felt certain they could sell your home.
Fast forward to now, where months later, perhaps even a whole 12 months later, the situation remains unchanged. You’re still trying to sell your home. You may even have missed out on your dream home in the process.
Five tell-tale signs
Still unsure about whether or not it’s time to consider switching estate agents? Here are a few tell-tale signs that you’ve arrived at that point:
1. Your agent is no longer proactive in contacting you.
Are you the one chasing your agent for updates? Have they run out of ideas on how to market your home? Do they have excuses and apologies rather than actionable plans for the future? If so, it sounds like your agent may have lost their enthusiasm for selling your home.
2. You’ve not had a viewer in a really long time.
You’re hanging by the phone waiting for news of a viewing. It’s been so long cobwebs are practically growing over the keyhole. The ready-to-roll cookies you’ve kept in the fridge especially for viewings are fast reaching their sell-by date – and so is your patience.
3. Apathy versus action
It’s easy to refer vaguely to ‘a shift in the market’ or it being the ‘wrong time of year’, but what you need from your agent is specifics. Actionable ways in which you can combat the void in viewings and lack of offers.
An effective agent must be proactive and not afraid to tell you the truth. If there is a glaring red flag indicating something needs a fix, they must be prepared to tell you.
4. They’re insistent you drop the price
Dropping the asking price isn’t always a bad idea. Depending on your circumstances, it might be the right option, but has your agent exhausted every possible other option first? Didn’t you agree this asking price with the agent at the outset?
A good agent won’t overinflate your home’s value just to get you onboard in the first place. If your agent is pressuring you to drop the price, you need to ask why? The honesty of their answer should be a good indicator as to your next step.
5. Similar homes are selling
Finally, take the time to do a little market research. Take a look at homes similar to yours in the local area. How long have they been on the market? What price are they asking? How many are under offer? How does their marketing – photography and copywrite compare to yours? If other properties like yours are selling like hotcakes, you’re entitled to wonder why.
Check your contract
If you feel you have arrived at a parting of the ways, the first thing you need to do is check the small print of your contract. When you signed up with your agent, you put your name to an agreement.
This may mean you have a notice period of anything up to 12 weeks. If you are under a sole-selling rights arrangement they are the only agent allowed to sell your home until the notice period is served. Even if you arrange to sell privately, you will still have to pay their fee.
A sole agency agreement (as opposed to sole selling rights) means you don’t need to pay the agent if you find a private buyer; the devil really is in the detail!
Study the suitors
You may feel you have an inkling of the agent you want to switch to after researching similar homes to yours that are selling. However, take your time. Study the online reviews: Google, Facebook, YouTube. Don’t rely on star ratings, be sure to read the comments.
What are people saying about this agent? Do they have strong local links? Do they know their area well? If a friendly neighbour happens to be selling with them, ask them for their honest appraisal.
It’s important you meet, or speak at length with, any potential new agent before signing up. Face to face will give you a good idea of whether or not you’ll have a good rapport in this new relationship. Be sure to compare their answers to your key questions (primarily: asking price, selling history on similar properties and fee) to the responses of your current agent.
Time to switch?
If the agent still doesn’t satisfy your answers, it’s simple; keep searching. However, if you’ve found an estate agent who ticks all your boxes, it’s time to begin the process of switching.
If you’re looking to begin your new year by switching things up, we’d be delighted to hear from you. For a frank, friendly and fruitful chat about how we can help get you moving in 2021, get in touch.