It’s trust and communication

LETTER OF THE DAY: Housing - more needs to be done

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QWhat is the key to having a good relationship with your agent?

AEstate agency is essentially a people business – and as such, having a good relationship between client and agent is pretty crucial.

Nevertheless, starting off on the right foot can often be difficult. Take a not-uncommon example: a seller has found the ‘perfect property’ to buy, and wants to sell in a hurry. Unfortunately, their dream home is right at the top end of their budget – and so they need £X from the sale of their existing property, when a realistic selling price is actually £X minus £50,000. Still, the agent wants the property on their books, so they agree to take it on. Not a good start!

The point I’m making here is that there is a whole world of difference between wants and needs. Yes, there have been times when the property market was so crazy that people could move house every few months if they wanted to. But ultimately, that’s not good for anyone.

Far better if people move house when they actually need to. That way, they put their existing property on the market at more or less the right asking price, agree a sale – and then cut their buying cloth accordingly. With such sales, fall-throughs tend to be rare, because the seller is genuinely committed to moving house, rather than just being on the market ‘to see what happens.’ As a result, conversations between client and agent tend to be positive ones about how best to make the sale happen.

Of course, once a sale has been agreed, effective communication between agent and solicitor also comes into play. Good agents, for example, don’t waste the solicitor’s time with spurious calls and insufficient information – but they do communicate! Over the years, one of my biggest bugbears has been the agent further along the sales chain telling me ‘not to worry, it’s all going fine’ – when in fact they don’t have a clue what is going on, because they don’t communicate meaningfully with any of the parties involved. All too often, sales can founder due to this kind of lack of transparency in chains. So, all in all, the keys to having a good relationship with your agent (and vice versa) are trust and communication. Get that right from day one and there’s every likelihood of a successful (and relatively stress-free) outcome.