Estate Agents Guide & Advice - Houses By The Sea

Estate Agents' Services

Firstly, it should be understood, that the Estate Agent does not ever handle your money for the sale of your house as the money passes from Bank account to Bank account. All Legal matters are handled by your solicitors.

Estate Agents can perform the whole selling process from the beginning to the end for you. If, however, you do not just want to sit back and let the Agent handle everything, you should make this clear from the outset. In order to maintain a good working relationship with your Estate Agent, it is important that you decide on how much you want to participate, and let the Agent know about it.
Suggest an Asking Price
The first thing an Estate Agent will do is to suggest an asking price. As mentioned above, you should not take their suggestion at face value but get your own idea of how much your property is worth. Factors that play a role when setting the asking price are the time frame in which you want to sell your house and the strength of the property market.
Take your Agent's suggestion into account, but do not rely solely on it!

Presentation and Advertising
This is one of the key functions of an Estate Agent. Your Agent will take pictures of your house and compile a list of property details to put into a standard format for presentation. Make sure to tell your Agent about all the plus points of the property which he might not notice in one visit. Furthermore, confirm that you can check the presentation materials and property description before they are posted on listings and websites.
The form the advertisements take vary from Agent to Agent, but most will list your property across the Internet. And most have a website with property listings. A good Estate Agent will make sure that the advert reaches the target audience. And remember, Location, Location, Location. As most buyers now start their search for a home online it is more important than ever to ensure that your chosen estate agent advertises widely on the web. Quality photos sell your
property better.
Arrange Viewings
If you want your Agent to arrange and perform the viewings, make this clear from the outset, otherwise you might incur additional charges. On the other hand, you might prefer to show potential buyers around your house yourself in order to point out all its advantages. Most Estate Agents are fairly flexible when it comes to this.
Negotiation
Estate Agents are professionals in negotiation. Yet the same problem arises as with property valuations: an Agent's motivations might compromise his performance. He might be more concerned about securing a quick sale and advise you to accept the first offer that comes along. Or he might be so keen on pushing up the price as high as possible that he scares away potential buyers with his negotiation techniques.
We generally recommend you to have a fairly good idea of how much you want to (and can reasonably) get for your house, and to stick to it. If your house really does not sell, you can still make adjustments at a later date.
If you are a hard-nosed haggler who has already beaten down Tunisian cloth vendors and used-car dealers, you might prefer to take care of the negotiations yourself. There is nothing keeping you from it - just let your Estate Agent know!

The Cost
Typically, an Estate Agent will charge you between 2 and 1.5 per cent of the sales price as a commission, ( we charge 0.75% ) but their fees are usually negotiable. One thing to keep in mind is that your Agent might make a lot of profit if you are selling a mansion, but a one-bedroom flat in a shabby building in outer Sheffield won't pay for his children's education. Consider this before you try to push him below 1.5 per cent.
It is not recommended simply to go for the Estate Agent with the lowest fee. Read the small print of the contract and make sure the amount and quality of advertising is sufficient! An Agent's commission is usually based on whether there is one or more Estate Agency instructed with the sale. If the Estate Agent is the sole agency, which means they have the exclusive right to sell your home for about six to eight weeks, the commission will probably be lower than if you have a joint sole agency (you instruct two Agents to work together on your behalf and share the commission) or a multiple agency agreement, in which case several different Estate Agents compete to sell your house and do not share the agreed commission.

The Contract
Some common sense advice: before you sign the contract, read the small print and negotiate any contentious terms. You should make sure the time frame for the agreement is set properly; it does not usually exceed 3 months, after which you are free to switch Agents if you are dissatisfied. However, if you have a sole agency agreement, we recommend you push the term down a bit to approximately 6 weeks.

Estate Agents'
Agreements and Charges

When do agents get paid and by whom?
Estate agents act solely for you the vendor of the property who pays them but they may also work hard liaising with your purchaser so that the sale is drawn to a satisfactory conclusion. Their fees become due at exchange of contracts, but their invoices are generally paid upon your authorization, by your solicitor at completion. All fees are subject to Vat at the current rate of 20% .

Agency agreements are separated into three main categories:

1) Sole Agency:
This agreement is the most common - it is to be recommended in most cases because it is the cheapest option for the vendor and the agent has the incentive to market the property without competition for a given time. Most estate agents will offer you commission rates for this agreement at around 1.5% of the final sale price, i.e. £1500.00 (plus Vat) for a sale price of £100,000. ( we charge 0.75% ) In a sole agency agreement, agents will often request that they have a set minimum period in which to sell your property without fear of competition. In fact this minimum time limit is not legally binding, but in fairness it would be reasonable to adhere to this and selling through another agent within this period would be bad practice and possibly extremely costly for you as a multiple agency fee would then be applicable.

2) Joint sole agency: This next step up from a sole agency agreement will cost you more. It means that normally two agents work together to sell your property (not in competition with each other). You can expect them to split the commission you pay either 50/50 or 60/40 in favor of the actual agency who introduced the buyer. Marketing your property like this may be recommended if you want different agencies to complement each other by exposing your home to slightly different audiences. Typical rates for this type of agreement would be in the region of 2.0% or a little more (plus Vat).

3) Multiple Agency: The most expensive way to employ agents to act for you. You can instruct as many agents as you like to sell your home, but this is an unusual tactic. Most would be purchasers will research the market introducing themselves to several agencies at a time. Generally they will find your property whether one or all of the agencies send details of it to them. This 'shot-gun' approach of exposing your home to the market could even back-fire on you as purchasers can interpret such marketing as a sign of desperation! Commission is payable to the successful agent only and could be expected to be in the region of 3.0% (plus Vat) of the sale price. NB If more than one agent markets your property they must all agree to the same guide price.

To get a mortgage?

Getting a mortgage in today's harsh economic climate remains a struggle for many, says Melanie Bien, director of independent mortgage broker Private Finance.

One of the biggest consequences of the financial crisis is that it is now much tougher to get a mortgage.

Anyone who has applied for a home loan in the past couple of years will have found that lenders have much tighter affordability criteria, with many applicants rejected even though they have never had a problem getting credit before.

It is not just first-time buyers who are struggling but those who already have a relationship with a lender are finding that things have changed.

According to the Financial Ombudsman Service’s latest annual report, there has been an increase in the number of borrowers who have been refused permission by their lender to ‘port’ their mortgage, or take it with them when they move home.

Borrowers complained to the Ombudsman that, in response to tougher lending conditions, their lender’s change in affordability criteria meant they no longer met the requirements through no fault of their own.

Affordability

Today, affordability is key as lenders move away from strict income multiples in favour of a broader assessment of what a borrower can afford when calculating how much they are willing to lend.

Taking outgoings into account as well as income, lenders rightly argue that this is a more responsible way of calculating how much a borrower should borrow.

But are lenders taking affordability too far? When it comes to homeowners wanting to port their mortgage, it seems incredibly unfair that they may not be able to because their lender has tightened its affordability criteria.

The lender may be within its rights to do so but is this treating customers fairly?

Those who are refused permission to port have two choices: stay put, trapped in their home, or pay thousands of pounds in early redemption charges to get out of the mortgage.

Self-employed struggle

Other sections of the population have been heavily penalised by tighter affordability criteria. The self-employed, in particular, are finding it tougher to get mortgages as so-called 'self-certification' loans – which do not require the borrower to prove their income – have disappeared.

It is not impossible to get a mortgage if you are self-employed but you must prove your income, with lenders wanting two to three years of accounts. Those who have less than this may be able to find a sympathetic lender but the majority will have to defer their purchase for longer.

What is worrying is that affordability could become even tighter once the Financial Services Authority introduces new proposals on how homebuyers should be assessed for a mortgage.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has warned that 2.2 million existing homeowners would be unable to get mortgages if the rules were introduced in their current form, the latest version of which will be unveiled later this month.

The main areas of concern are that the FSA proposes that lenders calculate affordability over a 25-year mortgage term, even if the actual term is longer, while ability to repay should be on a full repayment basis even if some or all of the loan is interest-only.

The problem with the FSA’s proposals is that they are too much too late. The FSA wants to clampdown on the explosion in credit seen in the run-up to the financial crisis.

Clampdown

But the clampdown has already happened, with lenders tightening criteria and demonstrating far less of an appetite to lend. The result has been a dramatic decline in the level of lending, and these proposals, if implemented, would make that situation far worse.

Although the FSA should aim to stamp out unacceptable lending practices, this should not be at the expense of making it impossible for the creditworthy to get a mortgage.

When it comes to mortgages, one size really doesn’t fit all.

So what next for borrowers trying to get a mortgage? Seek advice from an independent mortgage broker; check your credit file before making a mortgage application to ensure it's correct; pay down any debt on credit cards or overdrafts if you can afford to do so; and pull together as big a deposit as possible.

The Local Scenery of surrounding beaches and sunsets
Porthcawl
Southerndown Bay
The View across to Porthcawl from Ogmore by Sea
Sunsets all year round
The Cliif from Ogmore to Southerndown
Morning sun up the Bristol Channel
Walking from Ogmore by Sea to Southerndown
Ogmore by Sea

A beautiful place to live, a beautiful place for life, The Gold coast of Wales.

For Viewing or selling Call on 01656 880147 or 0791 0888 763 davidbatten@housesbythesea.co.uk

Houses For Sale By The Sea