One thing an online agent can not generally do is provide a local property valuation expert to assess your property and suggest the most appropriate asking price. It may be tempting to simply rely on one of the online “valuation” tools available. These can be hugely misleading. Indeed, as a test, we randomly input a recently sold property into one of these sites, which returned a valuation suggesting that the property should have been marketed at a figure some 26% lower than the figure actually achieved! In that instance, this would have represented a loss of over £300,000 for the seller!
Assuming you are nevertheless able to quote the “right” asking price, selling privately appears to be easier than ever before with the emergence of various “on-line” agencies. These services usually claim to offer a low-cost way of accessing buyers, usually based on up-front fees irrespective of success, in what is essentially a way of facilitating a private sale.
Our advice is beware! Private sales have never really worked and they still don’t, despite the apparent easier access to buyers due to the internet. Whilst the internet may provide you with literally millions of potential buyers, don’t expect them all to want to view your property this weekend, let alone buy it!
The problem with relying on an automated buyer-sourcing facility is that it does not understand the nuances of property or the psychology behind a house move. For example, buyers looking for a three-bedroom semi-detached property up to a certain price in a certain area will probably be offered hundreds of options.
A computer can not yet understand the “I’ll know it when I see it” aspect of buying a property. Nor does it have the empathy skills that allow a trained estate agent to interpret the real needs of a buyer – not just their preferences.
So for the right advice and a free current recommended market assessment, please do contact your local branch. You might just get through to a ‘real’ estate agent!
Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA
Chief Executive Officer