Thinking of switching estate agent? You’re not alone.
17th November 2020
17th November 2020
After all, estate agents aren’t all created equal. Some are awesome, most are average and alas there are plenty of dreadful ones that give the industry I love a bad name.
Take the two most recent properties I’ve just brought to the market.
One says they haven’t heard from the agent that sat on their sofa way back in September. The other tells me they’ve repeatedly asked for a floorplan to no avail.
Moving home is already stressful enough. I won’t lie though, a great estate agent can’t remove the stress completely but they can and should be able to keep it in check.
If you’ve lost confidence in your current estate agency and don’t feel valued then switching agent could be the medicine required.
7 reasons property sellers cite for switching agent.
1. Little to no viewings.
2. Feedback after viewings is rarely received.
3. The agent that valued the property hasn’t been seen since.
4. The property was overvalued and now they’re telling me to reduce.
5. I only hear from the agent when I call them.
6. There’s been no advice on next steps & simply blame the market.
7. The photos don’t do the property justice.
If you’ve nodded whilst reading any of the above then you’re probably right, a change of agent is required.
But let me play devil’s advocate.
Have you told your agent how you feel / ‘marked their card’ and have they at least tried to put things right? If the property has only been on the market for a few weeks, perhaps a little more time should given.
Check the paperwork.
Often lurking in the small print of an estate agency agreement is a sneakily inserted clause preventing sellers from switching agent for up to 6 months. This is known as an initial sole agency period.
I wouldn’t recommend breaking this clause as there could be hefty penalties to pay should the initial agent choose to take legal action.
But if you’re experience has been poor, a credible agent should agree to relinquish you from the prohibitive agreement with immediate effect. If they won’t, you’ll have to wait for their initial ‘sole agency’ period to expire.
Serving notice on your current agent
If you’ve decided to kick your current agent to the curb and start afresh with another, you’ll need to tell them verbally and in writing.
Their response will be predictable.
1. Give us another 2 weeks.
2. We’ve got some great new buyers on the books this week.
3. Let’s trim the price.
Now some may consider it easier just to stick with their current agent and reduce the price. But this could have a consequence for your pocket.
If the price is reduced with an existing agent, the property gets marked as ‘reduced’ by the property websites for all to see.
But if you switch agents, the property is marked as ‘new’ even if the price has been amended.
From experience, buyers may be inclined to want to haggle further if they see a property has reduced in price as they assume there may be some desperation.
A ‘new to the market’ property doesn’t tend to suffer from the same stigma and can therefore perhaps achieve a better price.
Be wary of agents making promises or guarantees.
The only promise an agent should ever make is to do their very best.
Whether you’re about to start the sale process from scratch or start afresh with a new agent, never agree to an exclusive marketing period longer than 4 weeks simply. This keeps your options open and should keep your agent on their toes.
With my agency, there are no restrictive clauses or penalties to pay should you decide to use the services of another agent in my place. Keeps it simple.
Do your homework.
Take your time and try to meet with 3 agents to see which one you get on best with – not the agent that tells you the highest price.
Rest assured, switching agents is relatively simple.
You’ll benefit from a fresh approach, a fresh database of buyers to tap into and you’ll benefit from a fresh listings bump up the property portals Rightmove and Zoopla.