98% of people use an estate agent when they sell but less than 2% when they buy. Why?
When it came to selling a home in the UK last year over 885,000 people used an estate agent despite a wealth of alternatives. Less than 10,000 buyers sought advice.
There is no law requiring one to make use of an estate agents’ services, there are numerous web sites dedicated to ‘For Sale By Owners’ and it’s not as if estate agents are the most popular profession. Complaints of over charging and slippery habits turn an otherwise nice young man your daughter might bring home into something only slightly more attractive than a prospective member of parliament!
The vast majority of those few lucky enough to sell their home at present will do so with the help of an agent – helping with the pricing, strategy, viewings, negotiations and finding a buyer. The buyer will be totally on their own. No help looking, no coaching on what to say and when to stay schtum and certainly no help in working out what something is worth or what to offer.
Exactly the same number of people will buy a home as will sell but only a handful will retain a buying agent or someone to hold their hand Yet this is the very market that having a professional by your side can help you save thousands – in some cases hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“n a bull market the seller has the upper hand and buyers queue up hoping that somehow they will be able to persuade the smug looking agent to get out of his BMW and deign to show you around his clients over-hyped property. These days, buyers are as rare as duck houses and sellers and their agents are offering all kinds of inducements just to get you just to come and look.
But the average person buys only once every seven or eight years. They probably have a tooth extracted as often as they buy a new home and yet they wouldn’t pull their own teeth! Up against a professionally advised and motivated seller most buyers approach the process as they would buying a used car but there’s not even a Glass’s Guide.
“In this market it’s impossible for the professionals to value a property any closer than 10% although buying agents today are frequently getting 20% or 30% off an asking price. We are negotiating on a property at present that came onto the market last year at £1.6m. We are expecting to secure a purchase at around £1m.”
Something as simple as not being the first to bid can save a buyer 3-5%. When you think of the millions that tune in to watch my colleague Phil Spencer help someone negotiate a purchase on telly you’d have thought that more people would be keen to get the inside track. Interestingly though, it is those who spend more who usually take advice. Closer to 30% of people spending more than £1m get advice and with house prices falling at the current rates, even those looking to spend the UK average £157,000 on a home could have saved themselves between 15-20% in the last year if they had sought advice from any one of the under-worked BMW drivers, many of whom are now only to eager to offer advice to the few buyers out there looking to drive a hard bargain.