Ask anyone who has ever worked in Estate Agency what the most frustrating elements of the industry are. Aside from the unavoidable – ‘clients not turning up for viewings’, ‘clients who claim to be cash buyers applying for a mortgage’ – outside of these, you won’t be waiting long before their mind begins to focus on the ‘Over-Valuing’ agency. There is one in every marketplace; someone who is concentrating only on ‘winning the business’ and in no way focused on their client’s individual property endeavours.
As an experienced property valuer/’lister’, it is my responsibility to provide a detailed marketing report to a prospective client. This includes factoring in all elements of historic sales, current market conditions, incorporating comparable properties both currently available and/or previously listed and combine this with my client’s personal situation, timescales and requirements to calculate what I believe to be the true property value in today’s market. A large number of variables, but with the correct pre-valuation preparation it is possible to pinpoint a figure/parameter. In some cases, an ultimate value is more difficult to find than in others but having such a regimented process ensures at least a strong level of accuracy when providing a suggested asking price.
The responsibility of the ‘Over-Valuer’ is to simply win the business.
I could have spent hours perusing all manner of comparable evidence, collating marketing prices and eventual sale prices of neighbouring properties and providing an accurate figure, already maximising the vendor’s asking price, but as soon as somebody suggests the property being worth £20,000 more, the work I have completed is no longer relevant in the mind of the client. That’s not to say that the vendor is being selfish or greedy; from a client’s perspective, it’s just very difficult to accept a lower valuation when both individuals are confidently presenting their capabilities. Irrespective of the prospective client’s requirements, the only focus of the Over-Valuer lies with securing that client’s property instruction, usually for an extortionate sole-agency contract length preventing the client from being able to introduce another Estate Agent offering their assistance.
As soon as that contract has been signed, the ‘Over-Valuer’ has won; their job is to secure property listings for their company and that achievement has been accomplished. In most cases, the individual responsible for listing the property will no longer be required to contact the client; they are too busy securing lengthy, over-priced marketing agreements with other clients to concern themselves with actively selling the property or contacting the clients who they have promised the world to. It will now be the responsibility of the Sales Negotiator (usually the most inexperienced member of the office) to seek to generate the required levels of interest, before spending the duration of the marketing contract attempting to convince the vendor to reduce the asking price to the figure that will inevitably secure its sale.
This backwards structure is one of the main reasons that estate agents everywhere are regularly criticised. Of course, there are many more stories that people will have heard preventing them from being excessively fond of certain property professionals, but providing such a disservice at such an early stage of the transaction is incredibly detrimental to the prospective client’s move. Whatever the purpose of the sale, the vast majority of clients will be getting a valuation to allow them to plan for the next step – whether purchasing a business, investing money elsewhere or simply moving the family to a new home, a ‘valuation’ is a client asking for advice on what money they can expect to clear in order to formulate their plan for the next stage of their life. Something as small as correctly valuing their home will give a prospective client the correct tools required to clearly analyse what is available to them.
The correct structure is the one that NEXA Properties have adopted; every client’s post-service reviews have been heavily focused on the service provided from the initial valuation and the smooth process through to completion. The One Agent: One Solution structure ensures that I am putting my own name and reputation on every property that I am instructed to sell/rent. There is no benefit to myself, NEXA or, most importantly, my client if I over-value their home just to secure their business for months and continuously requesting they reduce their asking price. The service I/we offer is completely customer-centric and an accurate valuation, meticulous property particulars and an energetic marketing strategy are the key components to maximising the sale price of your property.