Monday, 3 September 2012

Don't Pray For An Easy Life

Well it’s finally happened we’ve spoken to some estate agents, and subsequently Friday of this week will be a smarmfest of the first order. Clearly the market is depressed ... though to qualify that, one would have to say it’s depressed in a stable state. And according to some figures there have been gains in some areas, and losses in others and the obvious regional variations.
Interesting things to note about estate agents of late: A lot of them no longer have their own websites, in favour of hosting the properties for sale through Rightmove’s website. This is very handy, because as long as you aren’t a prat and un-tick all the boxes that default to “we are going to fill your email, in-box and you homes letterbox full of shit until you are dead”, the service they provide allows you to mail five (any number you like ... I just happen to have done five) estate agents all with the same text and the same details etc in the space of about five minutes.
I think an indicator of the state of the market is that I did that at ... lets say 10am Saturday morning and by 11am I had three appointments made for next Friday, and were it not for the fact that I don’t work Friday I could have had all the agents through the door in the evenings this week.  Clearly estate agents have gone from being the most hated trade to somewhere in the icky middle of trades disliked and mistrusted by all; bankers and solicitors  top the charts, with my personal third being social workers (traffic wardens are entirely avoidable by avoiding being a prat when you park).
What does this all mean? It means we need to play the game. And the game is don’t let the estate agents sell us down the river, but don’t make ourselves appears to be stroppy arseholes. The strategy is to get the estate agents to offer the best valuation, a realistic acceptance price and no fees unless they actually make the deal. I think the last time we moved we got swerved in the agents favour because we didn’t want to lose the house we eventually bought. On balance we should have held on for a few other offers, but I think the estate agent had a client in mind and was playing both ends against the middle in favour of the buyer not the seller ... this highlights another issue; don’t under any circumstances get involved in inclusive sell/buy deals with estate agents and don’t use their recommended legals ... take your time and find your own.
As mentioned in an earlier post, we want to be away on the 21st of March 2013, however that date has some flex in it ... it has to have. What happens if the winter is late and severe and there is still snow on the ground? Yes you can still go, but why start in utter misery? And then there is the speed at which the property process in this country moves ; six to twelve weeks just for the sale. That is of course after you have a positive bite and a buyer that can actually afford the price. And then there’s the buyers themselves and your default target audience ... ours is likely to be of African origin, and this does from experience present a few problems.
On a previous sale I made, I was asked by the buyer to wait until the estate agents period had expired and then they would deal with me direct ... I said no. They withdrew.
Next I had an offer, I accepted, then later the buyer came back and said he’d made an offer elsewhere, and if I wanted to complete the sale I needed to drop my price ... I was blunt with the agent ... the buyer withdrew.
And finally I made the sale and on the day of moving the buyer turned up early and asked where I was going with his furniture ... he genuinely thought he’d bought it with the house; I guess that’s the problem with English as a second language and getting all your paperwork done by your teenage grand children.
So these are the next hurdles to be jumped. I’m hoping for a smooth ride, but I’m not expecting one. When I was at school, there was a poster on a window in one of my form classes it read: Don’t pray for an easy life, pray to be a strong person. There are lots of permutations of this piece of wisdom and the sources are allegedly many and varied ... but when all’s said and done, it’s definitely the way forward in mental attitude.

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