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MISTAKE 1: not trusting the agent

If you feel you do not trust the estate agent, use a different one! Trust is a major ingredient in any relationship. When choosing an estate agent, ask yourself whether you really feel comfortable with the idea of them handling the sale of your home.

If the answer is NO, choose again!

Once you have decided upon an agent, give them your trust and let them get on with the job of finding the right buyer for your home. Resist the temptation to interfere – after all, they are the professionals!


MISTAKE 2: beware high valuations ...

Some agents overvalue to win your business. Do not choose an agent just because they have given you the highest price. They may be buying your business.

Some agents will deliberately overvalue your property to get your instruction. If you suspect the agent is giving you an over estimated sale price, ask them for comparable evidence.


MISTAKE 3: ...AND low fees.

Cheap agents give cheap service. They also need high turnover to survive – so they will want to push through sales at almost any price, without having the luxury of being able to give you or your buyers the time you deserve.

Remember, it is better to pay 0.5 percent higher fee than to lose £10,000 off your selling price!


MISTAKE 4: poor negotiators cost money

If you have a well presented home, you do not need a salesman. You need a negotiator.

Negotiation is a skill, which if carried out well, can substantially improve your position. Poor negotiation can cost you money. Use an agent who you feel has the right attributes to be a good negotiator (you can test this by suggesting a lower fee. If they buckle quickly, they will do the same with a buyer wanting to pay less!)


MISTAKE 5: no ‘for sale’ signs

No sign can mean no sale. The buyers most likely to offer the best price for your home will be the ones who really want to live in your area.

A ‘For Sale’ sign is the best possible advertisement for your home. It is an invaluable sales tool and it works 24 hours of every day.


MISTAKE 6: the multiple agency trap

The idea that you improve your chances of a successful sale by instructing several agents at the same time is a fallacy.

With multiple agency agreements, none of the agents will try very hard to sell your property in case they get pipped to the post by the other agent. Consequently they will go for the first buyer, not necessarily the one prepared to pay the most.

Choose an agent who will give you wider exposure through multi-listing agency agreement can give you – at a sole agency price (click here to see what this means: 


MISTAKE 7: dismissing early buyers

High prices often come early; low prices often come late...

The longer your home is on the market, the fewer buyers it will attract – and the more likely it is that you will have to reduce the price.

Do not automatically dismiss early offers – they may well be the highest ones you get!

Why? Because genuinely keen buyers will always make the first move while the less committed hang back.

They are certainly not waiting for the price to go up! Do not choose an agent just because they have given you the highest price. They may be buying your business.


MISTAKE 8: no buyer records

More buyers mean more sales.

Most agents get dozens of enquiries about properties for sale each month. Some get hundreds and many of those come from the national property portals like rightmove and A good agent will be able to sift through these, keep good records and maintain regular contact with those readiest to buy.

Use an agent who keeps detailed records of genuine buyers, and can keep you informed feedback on viewings.


MISTAKE 9: there is nothing wrong with your home!

Your agent should carefully vet, or qualify, prospective buyers before arranging for them to visit your home. They should also provide you with any useful feedback, plus regular updates on the sale. If your home is not selling there are usually only two reasons: the agent is incompetent or the price is too high!


MISTAKE 10: keep it clean! (and tidy!)

Dull homes get dull prices!

First impressions count! In an image-driven world with buyers searching for property from the comfort of their armchair using a tablet or laptop, good quality images will stand out a mile against the competition, if the house is tidy and well presented it will photograph well and so you are halfway there. Stand back and look at what buyers will see when they arrive.

Do not confuse home improvements with presentation. Cleanliness is vital. A home which is clean, tidy and fresh-smelling will always sell for better price.

Remember – make your home sparkle and your price will shine!


MISTAKE 11: not getting the answers that count

There are three crucial questions your agent should be able to answer:

  • what percentage of their instructions receive an accepted offer (it should be at least 75%)
  • what percentage of asking prices do they achieve (at least 95% if their valuations are accurate)
  • how long on average do they take to get an offer (it should be under 28 days).

If they can’t answer these questions, they either don’t know (they should!) or don’t like the answers!


MISTAKE 12: websites / apps that do not work

A good website will help sell your home – a bad one can easily do more harm than good.

There is nothing worse for buyers than websites that are out of date.

Make sure your agent updates their site daily. How many people look at it? Is it easy to use? Find out how many people actually visit the site.

Log on and check it out for yourself!

Does your agent have a mobile website and iPhone and Android apps?

More and more people are searching for properties using mobile media; social media also plays its par – find out if your agent has a Facebook or Twitter account.

The more people who can see your property is for sale, the better chance you have of selling it!


Sorry if these things all sound rather negative but we've seen them all too often, and for it to end in tears.

Of course if you want an agent who, we like to think, won’t force you into any of these mistakes, call us, Whitton & Laing for a free, no obligation, no pressure chat about marketing your home for sale or rental.