Beware of the Estate Agents Contract
When you choose to sell your home with an estate agent, you will be asked to sign a contract. This is not unusual. It is standard in our industry. After all, you need to have an agreement in writing with your estate agent so you are both clear over the marketing price and also the agreed fee you will be paying at the end. However what is not so clear to many property sellers is the exclusive term your estate agent may be holding you too. Are you aware of this? Have you read your contract?
For many years, many local estate agents in Lancaster and Morecambe had a minimum term contract. Generally this was of no fixed term, you just gave your estate agent 14 days notice in the event you were not happy and wanted to change agents. Fast forward to 2016, and many of those same agents are now having clients sign up to lengthy contracts of 16 weeks plus 28 days notice on top. The upsetting thing to me is, most clients sign without realising this, only discovering it later when they decide they are not happy. At this point it is too late, they are stuck unless they pay hefty withdrawal fees. Here are some points to consider.
How long is your contract and why?
One of the first questions you should ask your estate agent is how long is your contract? If you are finding it’s any longer than 28 days you should start asking some serious questions. Why? Do they not believe in what they do? Are they not confident in their abilities? Or, are they fearful that another estate agent will coming knocking at your door trying to poach your business? If the contract is 12 weeks or longer, ask the estate agent to reduce it. If they won’t, re-consider your options! Please also beware aware of any cancellation fees.
At JDG we just have no lengthy contract at all. We are just 14 days notice at any period of time. Simply put, if we do our job properly, keep to our promises, you will be happy!
What does your fee and contract include?
This might sound an odd question, but please find out what is included in the agreed fee you are paying and contract you have signed. Not all estate agents offer the same service or marketing packages. For example if you look through the newspaper you’ll find not all estate agents are advertising here. If you look on Zoopla, you’ll find several agents not advertising your home there either. Some agents charge extra for their photography package. One that I know of even charges extra for viewings! Interestingly, they often won’t point what they don’t do when they first meet you!
At JDG there are no hidden costs and we fully market your property online (Zoopla, Prime Location and Rightmove and in local press. We even run a very effective Facebook campaign for each property)
A true story
Last month we met up with a lady who owns a modern property, north Lancaster. We had originally met her in January. Sadly back then she chose a different estate agent based upon their fee. Her house didn’t sell. In the period she was with them she had just 5 viewings, all of which she did herself as her agent charged extra for each viewing. Nobody offered. In March she looked at changing agents but discovered she couldn’t until mid May. Imagine her frustration, especially as she was seeing other properties she was interested in sell and she could do nothing about it.
She came to our agency mid May. Her house is now under offer at a price she is really happy with. She had 6 viewings in one week and 2 offers. We never changed the asking price. It’s great news for her now, however it’s a shame she had to go through the frustrating times to get to her happy ending.
My name is Michelle. I am a director at JDG Estate Agents. Along with my colleague Nina, we are the marketing advisors and branch valuers. We are here to help you achieve the best price price for your home. We don’t tie any of our clients to any lengthy contracts. We have the confidence in our abilities. Can we help you? For a free no obligation chat, call us on 01524 843322 or 01524 409100.