Q We’ve all experienced property deals going wrong – or heard about them from others. What’s your take on this, as an agent?
A Well, I personally think that as an industry we need to shape up and start calling a spade a spade. The fact is that the majority of deals ‘go wrong’ through no fault of the agent, but because one or other of the two principals involved – ie, the seller and the buyer – simply change their minds for one reason or another!
Another big issue is the lack of transparency on the part of some vendors. For too long some clients have been unforthcoming on a whole variety of matters – even including the actual ownership of the property they want to sell! This might sound crazy, but quite often an agent will belatedly discover that in fact there is a joint owner, or the property concerned belongs to a relative. I’m not suggesting this is deliberate deception – it’s far more likely to be simple lack of knowledge or understanding. Nevertheless, it’s worth remembering that agents can only sell a property on behalf of the registered owners – unless there is a Power of Attorney.
Full disclosure at the outset of any other issues relating to the property – for example, public rights of way or restrictive lease clauses – is equally vital. Buyers’ solicitors and surveyors will soon discover any problems in any case, but it’s far better if the agent knows everything, warts and all, right from the start. Then we can forewarn buyers – indeed, it is our legal duty to do so. Needless to say, another huge stumbling block is price. Naturally, everyone wants the best price possible, but all too often this simply plays into the hands of agents who are prepared to wildly over-value, just to win the instruction. In the process, the sensible price put forward by a more experienced agent will be rejected, to the detriment of the sale.
Working with a knowledgeable, professional and above all honest agent can and will make all the difference. They are on your side. If and when they call a spade a spade, they are helping you. So, always give your agent the full story – however unpalatable. If the agent is worth their salt and their fee, they will give you great advice on how to handle the issues that come up, offering specialist services where necessary, so you get the desired outcome – a move.