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Can your agent afford to give you time? 

At the time of writing this,  I have toothache.  Real bad toothache.  The sort where you can’t sleep and just don’t know what to do with yourself.  I need a dentist.  The internet can’t help me,  googling toothache doesn’t help.  I need the help of a professional.  An expert in their field and somebody who I know won’t hurt me.  It will cost.  But it will be worth it for I am in pain.

I used to think dentists were expensive.  You might do too.  But when you think about it, the years they have trained, the experience they have, the sheer cost of their equipment and costs they have to actually run their business, they probably aren’t as pricey as we think.  I’m going to hold that thought for when I pay my bill tomorrow.  I’m going to focus on what they have actually done, which hopefully will be to have fixed my tooth!   I say this because a client has recently asked me to explain my fees as an estate agent.  They asked me what we actually do for our money.  Not sarcastically, they genuinely want to know.  I decided to write it down.  The time we invest even surprised me!

Let’s look at a sale we have recently completed on.  I have a chosen a 3 bed semi-detached house in Bowerham.  The entire process from beginning to end took 12 weeks.

What do-2

The Market Appraisal –  3 hours

The valuation was throughly researched prior to meeting the potential client.  An individual marketing pack was prepared which included market comparables and brochure examples.  We visited the gentleman in his home.  We advised on price, marketing, home staging.  We felt furniture should be moved in order to get the best price for them house and suggested a few odd jobs which should be finished.  The  valuation was followed up in writing.  We then chatted further later by both phone and email answering a variety of questions.  We also had to talk separately to his ex-wife who was not at the valuation due to their personal situation.

Brochure Preparation Time – 4 hours

We carefully photographed the home.  Items needed moving and we helped clear the kitchen work surfaces and bathroom toiletries away in order to get the best photos.  We even helped the client straighten his bed!  Photos were then selected and edited.  We wrote the description highlighting this homes best features in order to attract the right buyer.  Epc’s and floor plans were ordered.  The details were sent out for approval and once returned we made some minor amendments.  Remember it was important the brochure looked superb!

Internet uploads and newspaper advertising – 1 hour 

The property was then uploaded to our website and all of major property portals.  We wrote the advert copy for the press adverts and sent it off to the newspaper.  Once done it was all checked through to make sure it was correct.  A social media campaign was also created.

In house marketing and arranging viewings – 6 hours

We contacted our registered buyers by both phone and email.  Over 70 people were contacted.  Some by email, some by telephone.  Sometimes messages had to be left.  Conversations took place.  Viewings were booked.  It all takes time.

Viewings – 10.5 hours

In total we carried out 14 viewings.  Some where 2nd viewings and we generated 4 offers.  With travelling time each viewing was approximately 45 minutes.

Viewing Follow ups – 1.5 hours

Each viewing was followed up and the owner informed.  On average each follow-up is about 10 minutes.  Feedback is highly important.  I’m sure you would agree!

Offer negotiations – 3 hours

We received 4 offers on this house.  We mentioned above it was a separation case so 3 parties were involved in the negotiations.   Many phone calls were made.  It went to best and final offers.  Some conversations took more time than others, verifying buyers positions and financial situations.

Sales Progression –  25 hours

Many clients don’t see just how important a sales chaser is.  We believe it’s essential.  In this instance 3 separate parties, 2 solicitors and 2 other agents in the agent had to be talked with.  The survey took a little bit longer than we would have like as the buyers were self-employed.  Our vendor had to be re-assured.  The survey came back with some issues which had to be checked.  We arranged for the reports to be done before any renegotiations are even discussed.  We spent time reading through the survey ensuring we knew what was required.  There was asbestos in the garage.  The electrics needed checking.  We talked to solicitors.  We chased outstanding paperwork.  Building regs were needed for a small extension that was done.  More paperwork was needed for a window which had been recently installed.  We chased all of this all the way through to completion.  We also helped the owner find potential rental accommodation as he was struggling to co-ordinate everything.

That’s a whopping 54 hours for just one house sale which completed in much faster time than many we see advertised locally.  Can you imagine if the buyer or seller had changed their mind at any point?  It occasionally happens.  All that time would have been for nothing.   On top of this there are costs we incur from fuel, postage, telephone, advertising or the costs from the tools we need to do your job properly!   You can easily assign approximately £300 per house to these additional costs alone.

Quick question.  What is your agent charging you?  Your sale might need more time than this.  Can they afford to give you the time without having to employ minimum wage staff?   Work it out!

Back to the dentist.  He charges over £100 an hour.   My Dad has offered to pull the tooth for free using string and a bottle of whisky.  I’ve declined.  Maybe paying a professional, who’ll take care and give me the time I need is not such a bad idea after all!

My name is Michelle and I am a director at JDG Estate Agents.  Do you want to know more about we can help you move?  How we can help you get the price for your home?  Why not call us on 01524 843322 in Lancaster or 01524 409100 in Morecambe.  We are here to help you

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