by Nick Smith
Wednesday, July 5th, 2017
Are you asking too much for your property?
Today’s hot topic is Surveyors down valuing and supposedly killing deals.
It’s very easy with an Estate Agents hat on to berate surveyors and blame them for our own misguided endeavours. It is true that it is our job as agents is to look after our clients (Vendors) interests, and within that remit achieve the best price for the client.
When selling a property your set of circumstances will be very unique to you. You will likely have an idea of the price you want to achieve for your home and there will be a long list of reasons that you believe make this legitimate. Some of these reasons may be the amount of money you need to clear to move on to your dream home, the work you have put into the property and the money you have spent on it but whilst all these factors are important the most important factor of all is the market conditions and the comparables (similar properties in your area that have sold, both current and historic) that a professional agent will look at to value your property accurately.
The temptation for an Estate Agent to over value a property to win an instruction is a very real problem. Telling a vendor what they want to hear is clearly a tactic that is likely to come back with a positive result. Asking a client what they think (a simple thing that is very likely to come back with a value above that of the market) is a heavily used tactic to get people to buy into the over valuation.
Vendors must also take responsibility for this issue in the industry. How many times do you invite out and expert then expect to give them the answers? Never!
When you get a professional out to value your most valuable asset you should expect them to have the real expertise to be able to do this with provable rational behind the figures they give you. This may well be important when the surveyor comes into the picture as these points will not be lost on the surveyor either.
Over valuation is a blight on the industry, many vendors will chance it and agree with this high price, but they are often not in presentation of the full facts and the very real ramifications of their actions. The first 10-14 days of a property going live are critically important. Buyers are hunting for homes and new to market properties gain a huge traction in market, with email bursts, property alerts and a general interest that is unlikely to be achieved again. If the property is over valued then a lot of this good marketing juice is completely wasted. Buyers are becoming more and more savvy and many will know it’s over valued (there is already a tool on Zoopla that will do this for you and there are countless instant valuation tools around that people can use to get an idea of the market value) and simply move onto the next property probably never having clicked on it to get the additional details.
Agents that do this will then spend the subsequent weeks “advising” their client to reduce the asking price for a variety of reasons. Some may get lucky initially and achieve full asking price, we as an agency have seen particular properties go into an auction like feel, the price being pushed beyond that asking price, but the real danger always when this happens is the deal collapsing due to mortgage issues or down valuation once the survey is completed.
As I say ‘its very easy to put the blame onto the professional surveyors and cast them as the bad guys in the scenario, and I’m not saying they get it right every time, but I do believe that we (estate Agents) have to acknowledge our part in the process as do vendors.
Surveyors aren’t the enemy, they are a professional service sitting between property and lender to simply confirm the value at that point in time.
If you are a vendor I would simply say be realistic, choose your agent based on their market experience and ability rather than the fee they quote or the high tempting asking price they feel they can achieve!
Ask lots of questions and do your own research. The old adage of Cost v Value is never more prevalent than when trusting a professional to act for you in selling your most prized and valuable asset.