Top 10 Problems and How to Solve Them!

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Problem One
Estate agents valuations vary
Problem Two
Which agents do we choose?
Problem Three
No viewings
Problem Four
Viewings but no offers
Problem Five
Offers are too low
Problem Six
Had an offer, but nothing happening
Problem Seven
Buyer's mortgage company won't lend all the money
Problem Eight
Exchange day keeps changing!
Problem Nine
Buyer reduced offer just prior to exchange
Problem Ten
Completed but not moved out

Problem One: Estate agents valuations vary too much!
This does happen and typically when there aren’t too many similar properties that have been sold recently, so agents differ on the value due to different experience and views. It also happens when an agent is asked to value a property in an area or of a type they do not normally sell, so for example a property that is worth around £500,000 when they don’t sell anything for more than £150,000.

How to solve it – ask for comparable evidence of similar properties they have sold and how they came to the valuation. Share the valuations you have been given and ask the lower agent why they think it won’t sell for more and the more expensive agent why they think it’ll sell for so much.

Seek an independent valuation by contacting us or visiting Zoopla or Hometrack.

Problem Two: Our property is on the border of two areas, which agents do we choose?
The first thing to do is find out which agents have actually sold similar properties nearby recently. Secondly, work out who would buy your type of property. How much money would they need to be earning? What kind of job would they be doing? Use this to work out which town they are more likely to be from.

Problem Three: We aren’t getting any viewings
This is usually because the price is too high, or there is a problem with the property. Speak to the agent and ask them for their advice. Visit other agents and ask them why they think their competitor isn’t getting any viewings and see what they say – they’ll all be keen to tell you as they will want to be able to pitch for your instruction! 

Problem Four: We are getting viewings but no offers
This is frustrating and as a first step, it is important to understand what is happening in the market. For example, if the media is ‘talking the market down’ then often buyers will ‘wait’ to see if prices drop so they may just be holding off making offers and they will also hold off making offers if they think that something will change to reduce the price of their purchase – for example stamp duty being reduced. It is also essential to find out from the agent and viewers why they aren’t making offers. Is it something about the property that you can’t change for example, you are next to a pylon, subject to flooding, near a busy road etc. Or is it something you can change, such as there is no bed in the third bedroom and it looks too small to fit a single or double bed in. Once you have a better idea of why there are no offers, then you can work out if a price change or physical change will help.

Problem Five: We are getting offers, but they are too low
Are they too low versus the marketing price or the price that you want or need to sell the property at? If it is too low versus the marketing price, is that because the price was too high in the first place? Buyers are usually pretty good at knowing what a property is worth, so you need to consider whether the offers are ‘cheeky’ ones, or just lower than you want to accept. Ideally double check what similar properties are selling for locally. If they are being offered a lot more, then you need to find out why buyers were prepared to offer more for similar properties than yours. For example, is it a better location or decoration? New bathroom/kitchen facilities?

Problem Six: We have had an offer but nothing is happening!
You need to ensure that you have received a formal offer in writing from the estate agent which gives the details of yours and your buyer’s solicitors. The job of ‘progressing the sale’ to completion post offer is in the hands of the legal professionals and there are 10 key legal steps to your property being sold. The first job in chasing up sale of your property is to talk to your solicitor and then ask them what stage the buyer is at. If they don’t share this with you, pop into your estate agent and ask them if they can call the buyer and get them to chase their solicitor and work out why nothing is moving forward.

Problem Seven: The mortgage company won’t lend all the money to our buyer so they’ve asked us to reduce the price
Mortgage company’s do their own valuations so if a buyer has made an offer of say £150,000 and the lender’s Vvluer has spotted some damp that would cost £2,000, they are then likely to only offer based on an asking price of £148,000. You can secure a second opinion from a surveyor or you can offer to get the work done instead, or checked out further (damp and timber checks are normally free). You can also negotiate to ‘split the difference’ with the buyer OR decide that you don’t want to reduce the price, but risk losing your buyer.

Problem Eight: The exchange day keeps changing!
This is very annoying and is usually down to bad legal work on the part of one of the solicitors in the chain! Check the 10 legal steps that need to be achieved by each legal person for exchange to take place. Then ring your legal company and check that they have carried out everything on your behalf. Ask them if the people buying your home have done the same and also if the legal company acting on behalf of the people you might be buying from had done everything. Basically you want to find out where the chain is ‘breaking’. Ask for help from your agent, but unless they have a ‘sales progression’ team, they probably won’t know what to do.

Kate is an expert at this process, so do contact us if you need help.

Problem Nine: The buyer has reduced their offer just prior to exchange – what do we do?
Sadly this is a tactic that some buyers carry out and it’s called ‘gazundering’. You have a choice, hold your nerve and say no, risking the sale falling through, negotiate, or accept. It is worth asking why they have taken until this stage to reduce their offer, what reason are they giving – is this valid? Sometimes, if there is a chain involved, then the amount your buyer wants to reduce the offer by could be spread across everyone in the chain, making it possible for everyone to proceed.

Problem Ten: We’ve completed on the property but haven’t moved out yet
This is an issue as the buyers legally now own the property and it’s essential that your items are moved out as soon as possible, or they could take action to recover costs from you. Most buyers are reasonable and some have allowed (which they shouldn’t really!) sellers to store their stuff in a garage or outbuilding. Ideally, make sure you have a big enough van and get plenty of friends around to help you shift everything as soon as possible and release the keys to the seller.


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