noun; ‘a person whose job involves selling and renting out buildings and land for clients.’
Prime location states that estate agents “can be worth their weight in gold”, with reasons being that they have a greater knowledge of the market, a database of potential clients, marketing expertise, can conduct viewings, manage the sales process and do the final negotiation with the buyer.
The reason this next article covers estate agents and no chain buyers, is that they are the first starting point for many people who begin the house/flat hunting journey and this is your first advantage point. While there are hundreds of independent agents, many of the benefits listed above are fading with the amalgamation of technology and databases and due to the growing amount of transparent information available at a buyers finger tips. Buyers especially are questioning their role as every property is viewable through www.rightmove.com anyway. Some people feel their role to a seller is more beneficial than to a buyer, as they obviously have the sellers priority interest at heart with an aim is to make a commission.
Buying a home is such a huge psychological undertaking that pulls at ones heart strings and yet it is the one purchase in life that has to be coldly calculated and should in an ideal world entail the least amount of emotion. We simply in this day and age cannot afford to let our heart rule our heads when it comes to the large sum of money being transferred in a London property sale and yet it’s a very difficult and stressful process.
This article only explores the relationship with estate agents as the buyer of a home, not as the seller and from personal experience, I cannot complain about the frenzy surrounding our flat sale in SE London a few years ago. It got us £50k more than we even thought we would get at the last minute as the agent decided a few hours before listing was due it was worth more. I also couldn’t fault the flat we sold in a hugely up and coming part of London, with a huge garden, two bedrooms and two bathrooms it was a beautiful flat and the problem for the buyers were that there was nothing else at all on the market. We had no competition and our estate agent had the easiest sale on his hands. The flat sold for full asking price on the first viewing and that was that. However, one could see that it wasn’t the estate agents hard work that did that, but simply the flat ticked all the right boxes.
Now from a buyers point of view working with estate agents is a whole other challenge, because you are trying to do several things at once, be considered as a serious buyer, gain access to the newest properties on the market and ultimately trump over other buyers. However, here is where I will stop you because viewing house purchasing as a competition or race is where buyers immediately lose the upper hand. It also harks back to the panic and psychological stress of beating everyone around you and that’s when we jump before we pause and make emotional decisions out of the panic of losing. So the most important tip here is slow down and take your time because the odds are against you if you feel buying a house is about the speed of securing it. However, there is one overriding factor being the only reason buyers jump is when they another pressure against them and that is when selling at the same time.
One of the greatest advantages a buyer has when buying a home is when they are not reliant on selling a home or as they say ‘no chain”. The best position a buyer could possibly be in is if they have undertaken the selling process of a property and completed it and the money is sitting within the bank. However, many people feel this is an almost impossible circumstance, but with London house prices averaging £1m, the opportunity you have to sell your home at a far higher price with no chain and also buy a home at a far lower price with no chain means the cost of renting in-between is an almost negligible amount of money. I know this because we were fortunate enough to live with family for a whole year in-between buying and selling and our flat we sold was so attractive with no chain as it meant the seller could move when they wanted, the sale wasn’t reliant on our purchasing a property, the seller could dictate when the sale was completed, that the estate agent stated this at the header of the listing.
As for buying our next home, when we offered on a home we were told quite clearly by the estate agent that we were the lowest of three offers by a considerable amount (we later found out we were over £50k lower). We were not able to up that offer and we walked away having felt we had definitely lost the property. However three weeks later, the call came that the owner had accepted our offer and it was solely on the fact we had no property to sell and could complete with no delays. This financial status of having no chain, adds such a considerable advantage to yourself and to the estate agents that one immediately becomes a gold top buyer. In 2017 as only 1 in 3 house sales are completing in London and the estate agents only get their commission on completion, a no chain buyer through an estate agents door becomes an instant winner for them. Who is to say you won’t view more properties if they know the probability of completing is so much more likely! In total we probably made over £100k by selling and buying no chain and for the cost of 6-10 or even more months rent it’s a drop in the ocean!
To highlight the risks and stress of no chain, recently a friend of a friend of lost out on their house because in a chain of 8 properties (this is not uncommon), Carrie Fisher sadly died. She had actually been due to purchase a flat in London and due to her sudden death, the chain sale broke and every home owner along that chain failed to be able to secure the property they wanted. To an estate agent with 2 in 3 houses failing to complete in London, this is a huge risk to their sales and so their only role is not to find many buyers of a home anymore but to find the most likely buyer to complete and someone with no chain is more likely to have got their mortgage approved against a definitive sum and ready to complete on a sale.