Costly Seller Mistakes


The 5 costly mistakes to avoid when selling your property in 2023

1.  Picking the wrong estate agent 

Your home is probably the most valuable asset you own and having the best possible agent handling the sale is the surest way to extract maximum value and minimise stress.

I’m a firm believer that estate agents aren’t all created equal and a great estate agent should be worth their weight in gold.  

A great agent isn’t there to simply make a few calls and arrange some viewings, they’re there to value accurately, market and introduce your property to the very best buyers, dispense valuable guidance following feedback from interested parties, be a tough negotiator when it comes to handling offers from buyers, do all the due diligence on an introduced buyer to ensure they have all the funds in place and of course ensure an agreed sale sails smoothly all the way to completion.

A poor agent can cause stress, waste time and hit you in the pocket with a lack of viewings, offers, communication and selling strategy.

Some sellers will select the agent that provides the highest valuation figure.  This can end in tears if the figure they dispense isn’t backed up by lots and lots of hard data to justify their figures. 

If their figures appear a little ‘finger in the wind’, walk away.

Trust – go with the agent that provides that positive gut feeling, that talks sense, appears to know how the local market is behaving and provides a sense that they know exactly what they’re doing and how they’re going to do it.

  • Setting the wrong asking price

The asking price needs to attract attention from day 1 and entice buyers to arrange viewings without delay.  When a property is ‘fresh to market’ it attracts  the most clicks, interest and viewing requests.  It’s therefore vital to get the asking price pitched perfectly to ensure maximum interest and impact.

But some sellers say ‘price it high, I’m open to offers.’  Pricing too high may mean buyers don’t find your property when searching or they ignore it, perceiving it to be over priced and not worth considering.  

Pricing too low, can have a seriously adverse effect too, enticing offers from parties that can’t / won’t reach the appropriate market level.

A good agent will have plenty of examples of similar homes to compare and provide guidance on.  
It’s also worth ‘Googling your street’ to see what homes have recently sold.  You can do this for any street nearby too if housing stock is similar to yours.

Have a look on Rightmove and Zoopla to see what similar properties are up for sale.  Check their launch dates under the photos.  If they’ve been on the market for longer that ay 6 weeks, perhaps they’re seeing resistance to their quoted asking price and the value is in fact lower?

Naturally a great agent will be able to manage expectations and advise what’s realistic and achievable.

  •   Sticking with your estate agent even when they’re not up to the job.

A staggering 50% of properties end up being sold with the second appointed selling agent.  

(Source; Twenty Ci).

If your sale isn’t going anywhere, there’s a lack of communication and even enthusiasm from your agent, that’s a red flag that it’s time to move on.

The vast majority of estate agent have tie in periods which means you are legally bound to commit to their services for a certain period of time.  A good agent will have periods of 8 weeks or less.  The bad agents can try to lock you in for up to 4 months.

Once this period has expired, it’s fair to say they’ve had a fair crack and it’s time to try a fresh pair of hands.

How to find a better agent?  Ask for recommendations and see how’s been active of late in the local area with actual achieved sales, not just listings.

  •  Ignoring key issues / defects

Most buyers will have an official building report commissioned from a qualified Surveyor who’ll go through everything with a fine toothcomb.

If you know there’s a crack to a wall that needs attention or there’s a curious looking plant in the garden that could be knotweed, or you’ve had issues with a chimney stack, it’s best to get these issues addressed prior to placing the property onto the open market.  It’ll save a lot of time, stress and heartache.  

A buyer may choose to walk away should such issues arise or attempt to renegotiate a sale price less than what it would cost to remedy the issues yourself. 

If a chimney breast was removed years ago or an extension added, make sure you have all the relevant planning permissions and building regulation certificates at hand.  They will be requested by solicitors and if you haven’t got them, don’t panic.  You can try to obtain them retrospectively with your local council.

In essence, make sure you’re confident the property is ready to go at the time of launch to the market and no skeletons may reveal themselves later.

  •  The highest offer isn’t necessarily the best offer.

Congratulations, you’ve accepted an offer!  But is it the best offer?  

For example... 

  •  Have they got a related sale?

  •  Is there a long chain and has the agent checked it top to bottom?

  •  Have they got their mortgage offer in principle and has the agent seen their proof of funds?  

There is nothing wrong with proceeding with a purchaser in a chain but chains have pitfalls you can’t control and if there’s a similar, albeit lower offer on the table from a buyer that’s chain free with fewer hurdles to overcome, perhaps they’re the safer bet?

I should add that a buyer’s first offer is never their last and an agent skilled at buyer negotiation should be able and capable of extracting an improved offer for your consideration following the initial offer.

If I haven’t covered a topic more for your specific to your own sale and circumstance, drop me a line, always happy to help.

Wishing you every success with your sale in 2023.