What is the true value of a traditional High Street Estate Agent? – Tim Crowe

This is a question that more and more home owners find themselves asking in the light of a myriad of different opportunities for marketing properties for sale and for rental. Why should you pay as much as 1.5% plus vat of the eventual sale price of a property sale value when the same result could be achieved at a fraction of the cost by using an online agent. At first glance the traditional estate agent model doesn’t seem make financial sense let alone provide good value for money.

‘You get what you pay for’

I have worked in Real Estate for over thirty years now and have therefore accumulated considerable experience as to how best to achieve the results in the property world. It’s also true that the old saying of “you get what you pay for” applies to property marketing as with other things in life.

There’s a lot of preparation work when it comes to marketing property. A lot of the work that traditional agents do happens behind the scenes. The better agents will pull the strings and hold deals together by regularly communicating with the solicitors acting for both parties and by making sure that the lines of communication remain clear and open so that everyone knows exactly what’s going on. Professionals will speak to one an other but not to members of the public. Property deals can go quickly south when solicitors and key documents are not chased up. Its all about understanding who to chase up and when to do it, and only years of experience can teach you that.

Online agencies tend to rely on reactive enquiries which are generated by on line property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. But if you instruct a traditional estate agent you will more often than not get newspaper advertising and local press coverage and most importantly a local office presence where buyers can walk in and enquire about the property. I have lost count on the number of times that a buyer has walked into my office looking for one thing and has left hoping to buy another which I refer to as cross selling.

And then there is the buyer who doesn’t yet doesn’t know what he or she really wants to buy. This is because the house buying process is a bit of a journey and most buyers will only “know it when they see it”. A bit of a nightmare, as buyers say they want one thing and then end up doing another. Experienced agents are trained to look behind these statements and know how to evaluate given information and use it constructively to cross sell. Online agents tend to have less time to do this as.

The buying process is all about choice, compromise and opportunity and it is the job of a good agent to interpret the buyers needs and lead them to a successful outcome i.e the right property.

The average transaction time for a sale to progress from offer to completion is taking much longer these days. Property deals can take as long as three to four months to conclude.

A traditional agent will be talking up and down the chain and have a holistic view of everything involved with the transaction. The agent will be able to advise on the best course of action if an unexpected problem occurs ie if part of the chain is delayed. In short, the role of an agent is to mediate, moderate, and mentor all of the different personalities, pressures and expectations through a complex process.

Online agents are probably here to stay but so are the traditional agents as we have the experience to fall back on when simply putting an internet advertisement online is not enough to sell your home.

“If you think hiring a professional is expensive, just wait till you hire an amateur” – Red Adair

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