Category Archives: Uncategorised

TEN TIPS FOR BUYING A CHILD OR PET-FRIENDLY HOME

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The reality for most is that growing children want their own space

Everyone has their own idea of a dream property and the lucky ones even make them a reality but, if you got kids or pets, let’s face it – it’s hard.

They won’t necessarily share your mental image of the ideal home with a pristine designer living room, tasteful interior décor, state-of-the-art kitchen and landscaped grounds. For small children and animals, it’s just a minefield of things they can knock over, soil or destroy. For teenagers, your tasteful touches and thoughtful placing of things will be irrelevant.

So, if you’re planning to move house and you want a few tips on what features you should look for in a long-term property sturdy enough to survive the bombshells of offspring and / or animals, here are ten tips.

Spiral or Decorative Staircases.

A definite no for anyone with small kids. They may save space but, even if the children are enrolled in the local gymnastic club, they’ll find a way of falling down them. Best stick to straight lines; if the cherubs do fall, there’s less chance of them hitting anything on the way down.

Bedrooms

If you’re determined you’ll be bringing up an only child it’s less of an issue but, if you have more than one, try to find an ideal property with bedrooms that are roughly the same size. No one wants the box room – or even one that’s only a couple of feet smaller – and trying to assign it to one of your offspring will only lead to arguments and resentment. Worse, you could end up in there yourself just to keep the peace!

En Suite Essentials

Does the master bedroom have one? A teenager planning an evening out will disappear into the bathroom at approximately 4pm and won’t come out for hours. You can beg and plead all you like but your personal comforts will be a long way down the priority list. Even if you do wheedle them out, they’ll wait outside the door, tutting and sighing and demanding to know how long you’ll be. An en suite – or even just a separate downstairs loo – can help you avoid the bathroom conflict.

Family Time

We may all be reading about “making memories” and “familymoons” on Facebook but the reality for most is that growing children want their own space. They (probably) don’t want to sit on the sofa and watch David Attenborough on TV with you. Many will retreat to their bedrooms but, if you’d like them a little nearer so they can at least hear you when you call that dinner’s ready, a second reception room that can be used as a games room (and a general collection area for stuff of theirs you don’t want lying around the house) isn’t a bad idea. A conservatory can fit the bill sometimes but it’ll need to be heated in winter. Anything below 21C is unlikely to be tolerated.

Enclosed Rear Garden

If you’re going to allow smaller children or pets to play in the garden while you cook, work or generally enjoy your own leisure time, it needs to be a safe and secure environment. A pond is not a great idea – no matter how small – and, if there’s access to the front of the house, it needs to be lockable. Access to storage sheds or the garage should also be secure if you have curious young children about. CCTV systems can be fitted relatively cheaply these days if you need extra peace of mind.

Internet & Phone Signal

Essential in any household with children over eight years old. If you don’t believe us, just try switching off the wifi in a home they occupy. We can almost guarantee the response will be immediate.

Bus routes

Of course we all want to ensure our children are safe when they are big enough to venture out on their own and, to begin with, it’s natural that we’ll act as an unpaid taxi service. But after a while, when their social life picks up, it can become a bit of a chore. You can’t really enjoy that glass of sauvignon if you know you’re going to have to get back in the car at 10pm to pick them up from outside McDonald’s in the town centre so having a bus which comes and goes from a stop nearby can make a huge difference.

Expensive décor

Just don’t. Even if it doesn’t get ruined, you’ll spend so much time worrying that it might that any enjoyment you get out of it will be quickly lost.

Storage

Almost as soon as they go to school, kids start bringing back stuff they demand you never throw away… paintings, Viking boats made of paper, loo roll and matchsticks, badly-designed wooden dragons; the list is endless. The more storage you have the better but, no matter how much, it’ll never be enough. There will still come a time when projects, old broken toys and paintings have to be consigned to the bin – although it’s probably just best to do it under cover of darkness and say they’re “in the loft”.

Porch

An essential, unless you enjoy cleaning. Frequently. A space at the door to remove and store muddy shoes or act as a holding pen for a wet dog can be a godsend. Don’t underestimate it.

 

If you’d like to search for a property that fits the bill, just have a look at our portfolio. Otherwise feel free to give us a call or drop us a line to see if we have any homes coming up likely to meet your requirements. We’d love to help if we can.

WHY DO I NEED AN ESTATE AGENT?

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The relationship between the portals and the agents is about mutual survival

Every profession has its crosses to bear and estate agents are no different. Like cab drivers and their patter, we’re often seen as Flash Harrys; someone with a slick sales pitch but not a great deal of substance.

We often hear the line that selling property must surely be a bit of a doddle; the sort of thing anyone can do if they had time. So why don’t more people just do it themselves?

Why It Ain’t That Simple

The thing is, it isn’t actually all that simple. For a start, you can’t just take a few pictures of your house and pay Rightmove fees for a slot for your home on the UK’s biggest property portal. Indeed, unless you’re selling through an estate agent, did you know the major online portals will not advertise your property?

Why? Well, if they did and it caught on, estate agents would quickly become largely irrelevant. Instead, Rightmove would be dealing direct with the selling public. That would mean a huge surge in administration and a huge recruitment drive, pushing the cost of Rightmove selling fees through the roof. The risk then would be that fewer folk would want to pay and Rightmove’s own existence could become an issue.

So you see, although it might look like a cosy club, the relationship between the portals and the agents is about mutual survival – although even some agents resent the advent of the internet and paying these new-fangled portals as well!

Mission Impossible?

Selling your own home without an estate agent isn’t impossible. Some have tried creative methods such as raffles, Facebook posts, their own advertisements in the press and even posters in the local shop.

But, at the end of the day, if you can’t be doing with all the stress, the simplest method is to pick an estate agent – either online or on the high street, depending on how much you want to pay.

But What Am I Paying For?

Selling a home isn’t as simple as just asking how much does it cost to advertise on Rightmove? It’s about identifying your audience and then working out how you’re going to reach them – but that’s not all your estate agents’ fees cover.

Sell your property with us at Esale and we’ll work with you from valuation to completion. We’ll also negotiate with possible buyers, we’ll arrange viewings and be there if you need us, we’ll chase up your solicitor – as well as your buyer’s – and we can even help with things like removals.

We hope you think that’s worth just under £500 up front (including VAT) – although you can also pay us on completion if you prefer. But, what’s more, if you’re not happy within 30 days, we’ll even give you any money you’ve paid right back. No arguments. No quibbling.

So, although we wouldn’t say it’s impossible to sell property without an estate agent, we tend to find it takes a certain sort of person to do so successfully. If you’re not convinced you’re one of them, we’re ready and waiting. Just give us a call or drop us a line and we’ll take it from there…

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO SELL A HOUSE?

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As many as 25% of movers in the UK underestimated the cost of moving house

Asking how much does it cost to sell your house can be a little like asking how long is a piece of string? The answer depends on the individual, the size of the property you’re leaving, what it’s worth on the market or even where you’re moving to yourself.

But recent research by Which? has highlighted that as many as 25% of movers in the UK underestimated the cost of moving house – and some of them by a considerable amount. So, although it’s difficult to come up with a definitive guide, below are a few pointers which we hope you’ll find useful:

Decoration and Repairs

It’s certainly true that first impressions count. In fact, another survey recently suggested Brits take only minutes to decide if they’ve found the house of their dreams so you may stand a better chance of persuading them of that by making sure they don’t come across something challenging as soon as they pull up outside. A cut lawn, neat flower beds and clean windows can make a difference but it’s not a bad idea to paint over the scuff marks on the skirting boards, strip down any peeling wallpaper and go for a neutral décor if you have the time.

However, we’d advise against an extensive refurbishment or any significant home improvements as what you are selling is an idea not a product. Your tastes could be entirely different to those of your prospective buyers and they might tear down something like a new bathroom suite or a fitted kitchen as soon as they move in.

As long as you make it easy for them to see your house as their new home, you’ll be on the right track. If you can tidy away any clutter, remove personal effects such as framed pictures and be ready to answer questions on nearby schools and amenities, you could be well on your way to a sale.

DO try to get a friend to do an honest dry run and give you some feedback. If you’re conducting the viewing yourself, talk them around your home.

DON’T bother with the fresh coffee or baked bread. We’re all wise to that and it may seem like you’re trying too hard.

Picking an estate agent

Click on the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbcPyvDLZsw and you’ll find one of our “How To …” videos which we hope will help with the process we’d recommend before choosing who you would like to manage the sale of your home. But the basic choice these days is between the traditional high street guys or an online estate agent like us.

High street estate agents will usually charge on a commission basis – an average of around 1.5 % of the price your property sells for so, if your home goes for £200,000, you’ll pay £3,000 for the estate agent’s services.

An online estate agent will ask for a set fee, sometimes up-front although some – like us – also offer a price on completion. The advantage is that they’re usually considerably cheaper; we offer to sell your home for a set fee of £595 up front or £1195 on completion. However, we acknowledge some will always be more comfortable with the more traditional face-to-face estate agency service and will be prepared to pay more – even if the high street guys use exactly the same online tools and portals to market their home.

DO some research on Rightmove, Zoopla or PrimeLocation first. It’s easy to find out quite a bit in advance these days, including how much homes have been selling for in your area – and even who sold them.

DON’T be talked into an unrealistically high asking price. Your home could be on the market for ages and the only reason may be a high street agent’s attempt to squeeze as much in commission as they can out of you.

Selecting A Conveyancing Solicitor

Just as in any other line of work there are good ones and bad ones – and, in our experience, it’s not cost which defines them, even though it can vary from £500 to £1,500, or higher if you’re also buying a home as well as selling. Every estate agent will certainly have their own conveyancing solicitor to recommend – we certainly do – but we’d urge you not to just take them on face value. Again, the internet is your friend so do some research on local firms on independent review sites like Trustpilot before you agree to appoint anyone.

However, if you know someone who moved recently, why not ask them who they used and what were they like? Personal experience is a powerful thing.

DO take your time and make a careful choice. It’s not just about cost but quality of service. A cheap firm might cost you more but, equally, could be just as good as an expensive one. Check out reviews and trawl your friends for details of their own experience.

DON’T just go with the guys the estate agents recommend. They could be great but, equally, they could be hopeless and you won’t know until it’s too late.

Removals

If you live in something bigger than a one-bedroom flat then there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to need help shifting things. A mate with a van might help to get some of the essentials to where you need them but, when it comes to the heavy stuff, we’d recommend calling in the professionals.

Again the cost can vary widely depending on who you use and how much there is to shift – anything from £400 for a small property to over £1,000 for a large one isn’t unreasonable. But, again, we’d recommend a bit of research before you move. It’s back to personal recommendations from friends, Trustpilot or you could try www.comparemymove.com

DO shop around, ask your friends, pick a few firms from your area and then do some research on the feedback sites. Don’t be afraid to negotiate a little if there are large variations in price.

DON’T go with anyone who won’t give you a written quote. You don’t want to find all your worldly possessions are packed away in their vehicle when they announce it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg to shift everything.

The EPC

To be honest, the EPC is pretty straight forward. It’s your buyer’s solicitor who will ask you to produce one and it’s illegal not to do so. Your estate agent will normally include the EPC in their package but, if it is added as an extra, then the cost should be between £50 and £120 depending on the size of the home.

DO check as soon as you decide to sell your home to see if your home has an EPC rating and, if so, if it’s up to date. If you’ve had any home improvements done, it’s in your interests to make sure any positive impact it’s had on the property’s energy performance is recorded. You can check your home’s most recent rating here: https://www.epcregister.com/reportSearchAddressTerms.html?redirect=reportSearchAddressByPostcode

DON’T try to sell your home if your EPC is out-of-date or not recorded. It’s easy for a buyer to check and it’s only going to slow down the selling process.

The Hidden Extras

Have you thought about what you’re going to do with pets on moving day? Are they going to stay with family or do you need to book them into kennels for 24 hours?

Moving week can be chaotic and a bit stressful so what will you do for meals? Those takeaways can soon mount up if you’re feeding a family of four.

No doubt you’ll have a bit of a declutter and you’ll be able to make some of those outgoings back from a car boot sale or two – but what about the petrol for all those runs to the tip with the rubbish which you couldn’t persuade yourself anyone would want to buy?

If you’re self-employed, your time is a factor as well. You’re certainly going to be out of it for a day or two and, if you’re a one-man band, it’s time you’re not making money.

So, how much does it cost to sell a house in the UK? The answer is pretty much down to you … But if you have a plan and you make “things to do” lists your friend, it’s possible to feel at least a semblance of control. Don’t forget, although it’s up there on the list of the most stressful things we do in life, moving home is also mostly a positive thing so, if you need us, we’re here – and we promise we’ll do everything we can to help you actually enjoy it!

The cheapest way to sell a house

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ON A TIGHT BUDGET? SOME ADVICE ON THE CHEAPEST WAY TO SELL A HOUSE…

When it comes to selling your home, budget isn’t always the first thing which comes to mind. It’s not something we do every day so we tend to pick an estate agent based on recommendations, visibility or perhaps after a bit of research on the internet.

But, surprisingly, the questions we ask estate agents don’t always focus on what their services cost. We want to know how long it’s likely to take to sell our house; we want to know how much we might be able to sell our property for. But we don’t always think in terms of the cheapest way to sell a house.

For some reason, we’ve somehow become conditioned to think that, because large sums of money are involved, it’s somehow gauche to think of doing it cheaply.

How Much Is A Lot?

High street estate agents, charging anything up to 1.5% in commission, are going to rake in £3,000 on a £200,000 property and, because that’s how we’ve always done things – at least until recently – we don’t tend to question the amount. After all, if we’re going to net a couple of hundred thousand pounds from a property transaction, £3k for the agent who brokers the deal doesn’t seem a lot.

But the thing is, £3,000 really IS a lot of money – and you don’t have to pay it any more. There are a host of options out there – and using an online estate agent is one of them.

What Are My Options?

At Esale, we have two packages. Either you pay us £595 up front to manage the sale of your home or you pay us £1195 on completion. It really is as simple as that. What’s more, if you’re not happy with our service within 30 days, we’ll even give you back any money you’ve paid in advance. No quibbling; no arguments.

And, when you compare the cost, what would that saving of £2,000 pay for? A new three-piece suite for your new home perhaps? A down payment on a fitted kitchen? New carpets? A decent holiday when the Big Move is over?

It’s up to you of course. If you’re not keen on the concept of selling property online then you’re probably going to be sticking with the High Street.

But, if you’re savvy and you’re on a budget, then we’d love to chat about the cheapest way to sell your house.  Just drop us a line or give us a call and we’ll take it from there.

 

Paradise lost – but at what cost?

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It’s common knowledge that we’re not building enough new properties.

Underplayed by the mainstream parties, the UK housing crisis might not have made it into the news in the run-up to June’s election.

Terrorist attacks in London and Manchester took attention away from some of the issues both Government and Opposition had described as critical just months before. Much of the media also centred coverage on personalities, the things they said – or failed to say – in their attempt to win votes.

But a recent report compiled by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) brings some of the issues back into sharp focus – and, yet again, raises the question of whether key decisions on housing policy are being made in the right place by the right people.

Building Us Up – And Knocking Us Down

It’s common knowledge that we’re not building enough new properties to keep pace with demand – one of the factors driving the price of the average starter home out of reach of the average first-time buyer without access to the Bank of Mum and Dad.

We’re also probably aware the lack of stock has led to councils coming under pressure to approve applications for new homes where they might not normally have been built – some even on the Green Belt.

But the research by the CPRE has established, of those new properties approved to help meet housing demand, few could be described as fitting into the “affordable” bracket. Indeed, 70% of them are likely to be three or four-bedroom executive homes – perhaps even bigger – because that’s how developers get the best return on their investment.

In other words, the UK’s countryside is being sacrificed for little or no benefit. (http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/concern-at-prices-of-homes-on-green-belt-sites-1-8627453)

Who Profits?

Of course, plenty would argue there’s nothing wrong with making a profit. But, at the end of the day, who ends up better off? Will it be our kids, facing a lifetime spending two thirds of their income on rent or will it be the directors and shareholders of the development giants – the sort of folk probably already happily ensconced in their four-bedroom house with the requisite number of BMWs on the drive?

But this isn’t meant to be a political tirade; in fact, far from it. It shouldn’t really matter which way you vote to see that something simply isn’t working when it comes to property in the UK. Decades of little or no direction have got us to where we are now and, despite occasional fine words from Westminster, we’re no closer to a solution than we were under Tony Blair, Gordon Brown or David Cameron.

The Mouse That Roared?

What we need is vision, purpose, commitment to a specific direction and a long-term strategy – and one which lasts longer than any Government’s five-year term.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we’re convinced only an independent housing commission can give us that. We’re one small voice right now but, who knows. One day, with your support, we could be the mouse that roared …

 

 

 

 

Estate agents commission

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You don’t have to pay high (street) percentages.

It’s not often we share as it’s really only of interest to those of us who work in the property market but we’ve been reading more and more recently from folk attempting to justify estate agent commission.

Admittedly – as you would probably expect – the stuff we’ve seen in the trade press and forums has mostly been penned by traditional high street estate agents who are still using the old business model which sees them take a percentage of the price your home actually sells for. It used to be as high as 3% but, with increasing competition from online estate agents such as ourselves, that’s dropped over recent years to an average around 1.5%.

But that means, if your home sells for let’s say £200,000, you’re still going to pay your average high street guy £3,000 in commission as opposed to our own pay-up-front package, priced at just £595 (including VAT). And, if you’d rather pay on completion, we’ll take the instruction for just £1195 – still over £2,000 cheaper than the high street equivalent.

There has been a lot of muttering and discontent within the industry about the so-called undercutting. The high street guys have done their best to spike the guns of the online threat with dire warnings of poor practice, customer service and rank inexperience.

But, although there are no doubt some less-than-excellent online options out there, the same could be said of the traditional agents; to suggest that each and every one is better than any no commission estate agent is nothing short of ridiculous. Even more laughable was one apparently reputable London agent recently claiming that the trend towards online agencies was nothing more than a fad as likely to disappear as an X Factor winner.

In our view, the truth of the matter is that some folk who are uncomfortable with the technological age will always be more aligned a commission-based high street agent – even if they do charge more. Others – particularly the so-called Millennials, for example – will opt to sell property online. You pays your money and makes your choice, as the saying goes.

We’re not going to claim to be better at selling homes than your average High Street Henry. We’re not trying to lead a crusade against estate agent commission UK. All we’re doing – and doing reasonably successfully – is offering choice. If there are some who aren’t comfortable with that, then maybe they should spend a little time looking in on themselves, rather than spending so much time striking out …

 

 

Five reasons not to use an online estate agent

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They don’t even have a car with their logo on it.

It used to be, when you sold your house, you could simply get in your car or catch a bus into the town centre and spend the day in the rain walking from office to office, checking out the local estate agents.

It was a simple job being gently patronised or exposed to slick sales patter over awful coffee before you decided which one you’d pay thousands of pounds to for a bit of advice about your asking price, a brochure, an ad in the local paper and a picture of your house in their front window.

These days, though, it’s got a bit more complicated. You’ve no doubt heard about the online estate agents who have joined the market with cheaper packages – but why would you want to use them?

No cash incentive

These know-nothing Jonny-Come-Lately online agents don’t tend to ask for a commission based on the amount your home ends up selling for. They tend to have a couple of payment options which seem suspiciously simplistic. They’ll tell you it means you know how much you’re paying for their services up front but it also means they don’t have an incentive to get the maximum possible commission from the sale of your property. Okay, they probably won’t pluck an unrealistically high asking price out of the air in an effort to squeeze out every last penny – but, you know … Nothing ventured nothing gained.

No office or branded company cars

Can you take any company seriously if they don’t have a physical presence on the ground? Where are they? Are they in a proper office with a drinks dispenser, clerical staff, arty pictures on the wall and lots of lovely logos etched on glass or are they in someone’s spare bedroom. Not many of them have branded cars so you don’t see them out and about. They’ll tell you a lower profile just means they can keep the costs of selling your home down – but surely a big office on the high street is reassuring, right?

Online communication

It’s all very well for Amazon and Ebay but all this computer jiggery-pokery just makes life more complicated. Why use all those little keys on your cell phone on the train, or your laptop at home or at work when you can just walk into an office and find someone to talk to you. Online agents say you can communicate with them anywhere, anytime but you can’t beat going into town in your free time; you can even combine a trip to see a high street estate agent with your weekly grocery shopping.

No paper chain

There’s something about writing proper letters which is reassuring. You have a record of the transaction in a big file and you can get one of the administrative support people to pull that down off the shelf if you ever need to check anything. It might be a bit slower than all these new apps and databases, portals and so on but at last you can rely on a bit of paper you can hold in your hand.

 No one to be there for the viewings

Okay, a lot of the online estate agents are now offering assisted viewings if you want them – but they don’t do them as standard. That means you could have to describe the best selling points of your own home to a possible buyer yourself. But who’s best qualified to do that? You’re probably going to be nervous and could fluff your lines; better to let us use our experience and the sales patter we know works the best. It’s not cliché really; it’s just a type of language which has developed in our industry. We understand it best so surely it’s a good plan to let us lead your buyer around for you. If you’d like to help though, it might be a good idea to put some fresh coffee on or even bake some bread half an hour before we arrive.  Buyers love that kind of thing…

So, there you have it; if you want an estate agency service which will make you feel like you’ve ticked the box for one of life’s most sapping, wearying and stressful experiences, you know where to come. After all, you don’t do it often so, to get that sense of achievement, make sure you don’t go online. Keep it real.

Flaming June – why midsummer brought hot weather but wasn’t so hot for UK property.

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The media prefers to focus instead on the fact that property values are not rising as fast as they once were.

June has been a pretty good month at Esale Towers. We’ve taken instruction on a record number of properties – at least for us – and we’ve sold quite a few too.

But, like many things, it would be wrong to use our experience as a snapshot of the industry as a whole. If we’re honest, the last few weeks have actually been pretty gloomy for the property market in the UK.

For a start, there’s has been a little bit of despondency about house prices. It’s not that the bottom’s dropped out of the market or anything; it’s just that homes are not selling at the same speed or for as much money as they might have done a little while back.

A General Election and the Brexit negotiations have had something to do with that of course. But then so has the fact that houses are becoming so expensive, they’re beginning to edge out of most first time buyers’ budgets. Despite some great mortgage deals, it’s not easy raising that deposit anymore

Some folk no doubt will have been hoping George Osborne was right when, just 12 months ago as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he forecast an 18% drop in property values if we voted Britain out of the EU. Today, with property values up over 3% on June 2016, those predictions are looking a bit silly. You might think then that there would be cause for celebration in that – but no. The media prefers to focus instead on the fact that property values are not rising as fast as they once were.

But, for us, the disappointment comes not from our obsession with house prices but in the Government’s failure, once again, to take the lead on housing.

Six months ago, it looked like we might have made some progress, with Theresa May and new Chancellor Phillip Hammond pledging to do something about the plight of the “Just-About-Managings”, giving priority to initiatives to accelerate the construction of more affordable homes and to make home ownership something our kids can aspire to once again.

But, in the Queen’s Speech though, there was about as much substance as there was pomp and circumstance in one of the most low-key affairs Westminster has seen for decades. There was mention of a Housing Bill but it seemed its focus will largely be on more controls on the private rented sector. Other than the announcement that the HS2 link would continue between Birmingham and Manchester, there wasn’t much for developers to get excited about.

So, as we’ve said before – and will no doubt say again – now could be the time for a new Housing Commission to take strategy out of the hands of the political parties who can only really plan five years at a time. If we’re going to get ourselves out of the mess created by decades of under-investment and neglect, the UK desperately needs a long-term housing strategy set aside from the machinations of Westminster.

Will we get it? Probably not in the short-term as it’s hard to see senior party figures looking any further than Brexit at the moment. But, in the long term, if there’s enough pressure or enough momentum, who knows?

A word in your ear about fixed-fee estate agents

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We offer a full, no-quibble money-back guarantee after 30 days should you not be happy with the services we provide. So where’s the risk now …?

Before the internet age, it used to be that, if you appointed a trusted estate agent to help with the sale of your property, then it was almost a given that you would settle their fee once your home sold.

It was taken on trust that they would provide all the necessary services – the marketing, the communication with the other parties involved and the negotiation with potential buyers – and you would in turn pay a percentage of the eventual sale price in commission.

Naturally, it was in the agent’s interests as much as the sellers’ to get the best possible price; a few extra thousand on the selling price would mean that little bit more in commission.

But, today, there’s a new breed of estate agent offering services for a fixed fee agreed up-front – and, often, that fee is considerably less than the commission high street agents charged in the past. A 3% commission back in the early ‘90s before things were done online, for example, could net an estate agent a fee of a few thousand pounds per property. These days, there are fixed-fee online estate agents offering their services for a few hundred pounds.

Naturally, their arrival hasn’t been universally welcomed by the traditional estate agents. You’ll hear many claim that these so-called fixed-price estate agents don’t have the depth of knowledge when it comes to the property market and a fixed fee paid up-front shifts all the risk onto the seller.

But the reality is a little different. Many fixed-price estate agents – ourselves included – do offer pay-on-completion terms too; indeed, with our own up-front package, we offer a full, no-quibble money-back guarantee after 30 days should you not be happy with the services we provide. So where’s the risk now …?

So how do we manage to offer great customer service and results for a much lower price? The answer is simple. New communications technology means the process of selling a home is no longer as cumbersome or expensive.

Smart phones and email mean we don’t have to wait until we get back to the office to make calls or send letters. All those brochures and press adverts don’t need to be compiled by hand when marketing can also be done via the online portals which we can all see on our laptops and phones whenever we like. We don’t need to pay high street rents for our offices anymore and we don’t even need a fleet of branded cars to get about.

In other words, the average estate agent’s overheads have shrunk considerably – but, for some, the fees haven’t. Some want to cling to the old-fashioned business model because it’s what they’ve always done; put simply, change is scary and many are unwilling to embrace it.

Of course, there will always be folk uncomfortable with the concept of completing such a large transaction as selling their home on the internet – or at least there will be for the foreseeable future. There will be people who want to see the whites of their agent’s eyes, which is perfectly understandable.

But, in a modern, fast-moving world, there are others who are going to put speed and convenience above face-to-face negotiations and that’s where we – and others like us – fit in.

 

It may still feel a little new and a little daring for those more used to the simple days of no sale no fee estate agents but we suspect that will fade in time. Just like Ebay, Amazon, Google, Facebook and all the other internet industries, we’re here to stay. We genuinely believe in offering sellers a genuine choice when it comes to estate agency service and have every intention of ensuring they continue to have one.

Estate agency in the online age

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The only real difference between the old-style high street firms and the new online only estate agents is the use of new technology for communication.

 

If you’re selling your home, these days, you have a little more choice than you did in the stream-driven age of the 1980s.

Back then, you really only had the option of making a trip down to the high street estate agents, who would come round to put a board up outside your property and advertise your home in a brochure, in their office window and in the local and regional media.

The online estate agent

These days, of course, it’s a little different. There’s a new breed of online only estate agents out there on the internet and you can almost do the whole thing from your armchair at home.

For some, of course, that’s a terrifying prospect. Such a huge and significant transaction being completed entirely by internet estate agents simply doesn’t compute. Some facetime feels essential to many struggling with the impersonal or remote digital age and there will still be plenty of folk who are happier paying a bit more to avoid it.

But online only property agents are real people too. They may not have a high street office or a fleet of branded cars but there are still no robots capable of managing the sale of a property on automatic pilot.

Selling your home online

Managing a house sale is still very much a human process – right down to dealing with solicitors, conveyancers, viewings and potential buyers. The only real difference between the old-style high street firms and the new internet only estate agents is the use of new technology for communication.

There are plenty of online estate agents about offering different packages. If you do a Google search for terms such as “estate agents on line”, “online house agents” or “estate agents online only”, you’ll probably find yourself with a choice of at least a dozen. Some you’ll no doubt have heard of and some you probably won’t. Some will offer a service for an up-front fee, some for fees on completion – some will offer both.

Who are the good guys?

But one thing you’ll probably want from any online estate agents is results and good customer service. If you have a look on property portal Rightmove, you can search for agents who have sold homes in your area recently. A quick search on independent review website Trustpilot will give you a good idea of what sort of customer feedback they’ve been getting.

But, although we’re delighted to say we’re currently the UK’s No2 in our category when it comes to the latter, we hope there are a couple of other things which set us apart when it comes to online property agents.

First of all, we offer a unique no-quibble money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy with our service for any reason after 30 days, we’ll refund any fees you may have paid us.

We are also part of the international ProperStar network so, if we take instruction on your home, the details are visible not just on Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation in the UK but in 51 other countries and on 80 other websites around the world.

Like to know more? We’d love to hear from you … Just drop us a line or give us a call and we promise you’ll get to speak to a real person.

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About esale

eSale  Estate Agents, founded in 2012, bringing a fresh, clear and easy approach to online estate agency in England and Wales. We are a group of professionals with years of experience in helping people sell and buy property.

We have the skills to ensure the correct price is set for your property and we can negotiate the right sale price between buyer and seller.

Additionally, we can arrange accompanied viewings and also see the sale through to completion.

Your property will feature on Rightmove , Zoopla  and Primelocation esale have a wide advertising network, come and join our approach to selling a property, no matter what your property value is.