Close, but no cigar!
Hurrah! Your property has been sold (subject to contract).
You are pleasantly surprised by both the price achieved and the relatively short time taken to agree the sale………..
Now, before you stop reading this and dismiss it as yet another agent engaging in a self-promoting, pavonine display of the “we can sell your home for more money and quicker than anyone else” type, focus on those three very important words – subject to contract.
If your sale has come about because you are moving home, this is the point when you become liable for host costs. These include solicitors, survey and valuation fees as well as local authority, drainage and environmental search charges. Unlike agents’ commissions, these are not normally on a ‘no sale, no fee basis’. In the last quarter of 2015, 36.34% of sales across the UK fell through. Alarmingly, this figure was up 13.5% from the first quarter according to research from Quick Move Now.
When choosing an agent, it is tempting to be swept along by assurances of obtaining a premium price on your behalf within a tight timeframe. The risk is that if the agent is so focused on the sale without fully appreciating that you are selling in order to move, you may be landed high and dry with hefty costs if the sale falls through. Asking an agent about who will look after a sale once it has been agreed is a good start. In many cases this vital role is delegated to junior members of staff – sometimes located in remote call centres. The fall through rate for Martin & Co in Witney for 2015 was 16.66% – less than half the national average! One of the reasons our fall through rate is so low is that a senior member of our sales staff personally oversees each client’s move from the initial marketing advice through to moving. Critically this includes regular sales chasing where both buyers and sellers appreciate the continuity of dealing of dealing with a professional conversant with all aspects of the sale that has been agreed.
A recent article in ‘Property Eye’ examining the benefits of Online versus High Street agents reproduced an email from a home mover with their consent. The merits of each are not under examination here. However the excerpt below is eloquent testimony to the importance of a good agent’s role after the sold subject to contract board has been erected!
“I must confess that we sold our house through a certain online estate agent and based our decision solely on price.
Having now (almost) been through the full sale process, when we (undoubtedly) move again, I would not make that mistake again.
I know in my heart that if the full chain had been solely with the online agent, we would not be moving any time soon (as they help you sell, then disappear).
That is where you make a huge difference, pushing the chain along and keeping everyone focused”