Pain in the backside I know! However, just like buyers, estate agents will be influenced by the presentation of your house.
With a well-presented house they'll be able to give a higher valuation and a more realistic opinion of how the property compares to the rest of the market.
You can find out how present your house for maximum profit and saleability in the, Secrets of a quick sale section of this site.
If an agent isn't regularly selling your type of property, he's not going to be much use to you.
He'll just be a bloke with a sharp suite, a made-up number and a slick sales patter - he won't have any genuine expertise to share.
By "comparable evidence" I'm taking about:
If an agent turns up without comparable evidence - send him away and tell him to get his game in order!
Harsh? Maybe, but here's a cornerstone of property dealing that will serve you well to remember:
When you speak to agent there are a number of seemingly harmless question that you should never answer.
These questions are designed to extract key pieces of information that they'll use against you in order to outfox competing agents for your instruction.
This has nothing to do with how much your house is worth so they don't need to know.
If you decide to sell via an Estate Agent, this is a discussion for another time, to be had with the agent you employ.
For the time being this kind of personal information gives agents an excuse not to commit to the max price you could sell for.
Just tell them - "I'm looking to move when and if I get a fair price".
Variations on this are, "What price do you hope to achieve?" or, "What do you think is a fair price for your house?"
However it's phrased this is the all time classic manipulation question and you must avoid answering it at all costs!
If you let them know what you think your property is worth then when agents come round:
Either way all you'll end-up with are agents telling you what they think you want to hear.
Only reveal how much you think your house is worth after an estate agent has given his or her own unbiased valuation.
Until that point it's best to answer the question with - "I'm really not sure, that's why I'm inviting you to give me your professional opinion".
This information will help an agent to pitch a more flattering valuation figure and service proposition.
I'm sure you can imagine the stuff I'm taking about.
"Agent X" will start telling you that "Agent Y" doesn't include floor plans or a sales progression service and because these features are so desperately key to the success of your sale you're better off paying their 1.75% fee as opposed to enduring the sub-standard service of "Agent Y" (who indecently charges 1.5%).
Further insinuation of poor reputation and barely concealed statements of slander are to be expected.
What can I say? It's a competitive world out there in the estate agency industry!
Oh! One final point - never ever tell an estate agent another agent's valuation figure - unless of course you're an irrepressible fan of fiction.
Most agents like to leave themselves some "wiggle-room".
They can be vague when asked, "How much is my house worth" and say things like, "Well I think it's worth between £230,000 - £245,000".
This kind of spread is really not good enough. Badger the agent until they commit to an exact figure.
Make sure that before the agent leaves:
This is when a good estate agent should start walking you through the comparable evidence he's brought with him.
Study these property details and make sure the properties really are like yours (i.e. genuinely comparable) - If they're not, ask why not?
Asking the following questions will help you to tell you if his comparables have any relevance to how much your house is worth.
If he shows you details of a property that sold over 3-4 months ago prices may have risen (or fallen) substantially. The evidence may well be out of date.
Challenge the agent on this. Ask him what he thinks prices have been doing over the last few months.
If he shows you details of a property that's been sat around for a while, chances are it's overvalued.
Again challenge the agent on this. What does this mean for your property and the price it should go on the market at?
How the agent answer the questions above is just as important as the actual answers he gives.
How does he answer - Quickly? Confidently? Graciously?
Or does he patronise you for having questioned his judgment.
Has he taken the time to justify his valuation thoroughly and logically?
Does he fell like the kind of agent that will go the extra mile for you?
What does your gut tell you?
If you don't agree with the agent's valuation, now is the time to tell him your opinion.
Explain to him how you arrived at your figure. Talk him through the comparable properties you've found (we looked at how to do thorough research in How Much is My House Worth - Pt 1)
Don't be afraid to have a good debate over what your house is worth. If you've done good research your opinion is just as valid as an estate agent's (probably more so).
Whichever way the discussion ends, you must finish with an "asking price" and a "sale price" you both agree on and have faith in.
The acid test for any property is the market. The market will tell you what your house is worth and whether you've priced it correctly.
Remember these two rules:
Selling for what your house is truly worth is simply a matter of:
If you read these articles you will: