Perceptions Of Estate Agents And The Growing Popularity Of Online Agents

New research conducted by netanagent.com reveals a huge disconnect between UK homeowners and estate agents when it comes to understanding what is involved in selling a property.  The findings show a need for more transparency around the sales process in a rapidly changing property market.

The new survey explores the perceptions of UK homeowners across a variety of property related topics; including the services consumers expect as part of an estate agent’s fee, preferences for online property portals and the public perception of estate agents.

How estate agents are viewed

Only 18% of homeowners view estate agents as ‘helpful’ and 20% view them as ‘knowledgeable’, with over a third (35%) thinking estate agents are ‘pushy’ and 30% perceiving them as ‘poor value for money’.

When choosing an agent, fee is the most important deciding factor (56%), with personal recommendation a close second and local knowledge and responsiveness also ranking highly. Crucially, however, findings show that homeowners expect a lot for their money with a quarter (25%) expecting to pay as little as 0.5 – 1.0% fee to cover all estate agency services, in comparison to the national average of 1.1%*. This reveals a clear need for better education by estate agents amongst consumers about what a fee covers and the work that goes into selling a property.

As part of the fee, consumers expect services such as photography (52%) and the listing of their property on property portals such as Rightmove (49%) to be covered, with 10% even expecting the running of open days, 6% video marketing services and 10% virtual tours to all be included as standard.

Interestingly, despite wanting to pay a low fee, 38% of consumers expect estate agents to provide support and guidance from valuation to completion as part of their service.”

A changing market

The research also shows a major shift in how people are prepared to sell property with the vast majority of UK homeowners (85%) willing to consider using an online estate agent. This is symptomatic of a changing market, with traditional high street agents not always the first port of call when selling a house.

Despite this trend, there is still a clear appreciation for the services offered by traditional agents, with reasons to not use an online agent including a desire to ‘speak to people face to face when dealing with big decisions’ and for ‘local people to sell my house in the local area’.

With the increased competition in the marketplace from online agents, the survey reveals that a staggering 96% of homeowners would consider comparing estate agents’ fees and services online if they could, to help decide which agent to use when selling a property.

Search preferences

Findings from the survey also reveal that the most popular time for homeowners to conduct estate agent research is in the evening, between 6pm and 9pm (38%), outside of traditional opening hours for many high street agents.

When looking for property online, only 13% of respondents visit OnTheMarket to search for property online, versus Rightmove (83%) and Zoopla (57%). This highlights the need for increased awareness of the different property portals available to consumers, including OnTheMarket.com, to ensure homeowners are receiving the best possible exposure in an increasingly digital world.

netanagent.com managing director, Alex Thorpe, comments: “Estate agents have often come under the cosh in the past and are an easy target for consumers who think they aren’t getting value for money as part of one of the biggest sales or purchasing decisions they will ever make. With more savvy consumers who are willing to shop around and the rise of online estate agents enabling sellers to do more themselves, the pressure is really on to show people that they are getting value for money.

“What’s clear from our research is that homeowners don’t necessarily understand the sheer amount of work that goes into selling a property. From local knowledge and an understanding of the marketplace, to an awareness of what a target audience is looking for and an understanding of how best to promote property, estate agents work very hard for their fee to deliver the best price for a homeowner. There is a real need for estate agents to better promote the value they can bring consumers so sellers can truly understand the best estate agent for their needs.”

New research shows UK homeowners are remaining positive, post-Brexit

New research from netanagent.com, the estate agency comparison website, reveals that, in true British spirit, UK homeowners are remaining positive post-Brexit despite uncertain economic times. Findings show that almost half of homeowners (45%) think their property value will stay the same or increase following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, with 20% unsure of any change in value and just over a third (34%) expecting to see a decrease.

Of those homeowners who had planned to sell property over the coming months, only 6% are considering putting their plans on hold and only 2% who already have property on the market are considering removing their listing following the referendum result.

House Front

Despite concerning predictions ahead of the vote from the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, who forecasted a 10-18% drop in the value of property if the UK voted to leave the EU, consumers appear to be holding their nerve.

Whilst Brexit does appear to be having an impact on overall purchasing decisions, with a fifth (19%) of consumers less likely to purchase a new car and 22% less likely to plan a round the world holiday, it does not seem to have had an overly negative influence on home improvement purchasing decisions, as only a small minority of UK homeowners are now less likely to buy a new kitchen (14%), new bathroom (14%) or to extend their house 17%).

Alex Thorpe, Managing Director at netanagent.com, comments: “Our research shows that, in the face of widespread concern about the UK economy, homeowners are cautiously optimistic about the future of the property market. Despite an understandable wariness, it seems Brexit isn’t dramatically changing people’s plans to put their property on the market following the vote, which is welcome news for estate agents and the economy as a whole.”

The netanagent.com research was independently conducted by Pollfish and surveyed 1,000 UK homeowners between 18 and 22 of July 2016.

Property values, culture and…Waitrose

Living next door to an opera house is certain to add value to your property, but so is living near a Waitrose.

New research has shown that living within a short distance of a Waitrose store can add close to £40k in value to your property*. Even an Aldi store can add just over £1k – a cynical person may suggest that Waitrose builds its stores in affluent areas and affluent areas have high house prices. But it’s a good headline nevertheless. 

More interestingly though is the value of creativity and culture to the average house prices in an area. Our HQ is based in Folkestone, a seaside destination that had seen better days but is going through a period of regeneration, led by a creative mantra, thriving boutique stores and a bid to bring better times to one of England’s former seaside stars.

A few miles around the coast, Margate has spearheaded the cultural revival of seaside resorts, with the reimagining of Dreamland and the exceptionally successful Turner Contemporary. The town has welcomed large LGBT events and followed a path similar to Brighton in opening its doors to all and creating an inclusive cultural hub in an area that had struggled to recapture its past successes. Neighbouring Ramsgate is enjoying residual benefits from this growth, being close enough to offer transport links to the thriving area but far enough away to retain its charm.

turner-contemporary-landscape2

Image – visitkent.co.uk

Further round the coast, Whitstable continues to thrive with a bustling high-street filled with boutiques and quality restaurants fueled by money from London.

Does this resurgence translate into increased property values? Once regeneration is well underway and the town is marketed correctly, yes. Margate’s property values have increased 12.56% between July 2015 and July 2016, whilst nearby Ramsgate has seen a 7.17% increase**.

Creativity and a cultural revival can add value to property, something which will hopefully follow in our hometown of Folkestone. You never know, a Waitrose may pop up and add extra value to the market…

*http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/margate-tops-seaside-league-for-property-price-rises-a7148526.html   **https://www.theguardian.com/business/shortcuts/2016/jul/25/waitrose-40k-added-to-house-price-living-near-supermarket

Launching our explainer video

Comparing Estate Agents is still quite a new idea but we like to think it’s quite a good one. We’re certain the 24,000+ homeowners who have used the service to find the right estate agent would agree.

Given it’s a relatively new idea, we thought it would be useful for new site visitors to get a quick overview of what we do and how it works and we’re delighted to launch our new explainer video to do just that.

Watch the short video below and if you’re thinking of selling or letting we think you’ll agree that free estate agent comparison will make a stressful process a little easier. It could even save you some money and it will definitely save you time. It’s the smart way to choose an agent.

 

 

 

Selling your home? A few key tips to help you on your way

A guest blog by Right Surveyors

When the time comes and you want to sell your home, the very idea of actually going to market can be quite stressful. The whole selling process can be made that bit easier if you know the basics. That’s why we have put together a few tips and words of advice to help you on your way. 

The first step

Before you put your property on the market you need to make sure it’s ready to be viewed by complete strangers, looking to make your property their home. Luckily, there are a few minor things you can do that can make a quick impact.

When you are preparing to show off your property to potential buyers, it’s very important to ensure that it feels homely, yet clean. This is a delicate balance to achieve, but making sure you de-clutter is a sensible first step. This is especially important as buyers want to picture themselves living in their new home and anything that gets in the way of this fantasy damages the chances of receiving a bid. It might seem trivial but, for example, try drawing attention to the kitchen by removing the kettle and toaster, making the room feel slightly bigger with increased work space.

Equally, If you have any small outstanding repairs make sure you complete them before a buyer comes anywhere near property or before your estate agent takes any pictures where these issues might be visible. In a buyer’s mind, small blemishes and obvious but minor damage can cast doubt on just how well the property has been cared for.

Putting you property on the market

Firstly, you will need to have a market appraisal carried out on your home. An estate agent will carry this out for you and this will give you an idea of how much a buyer may be willing to pay and how much you should ask for. Finding an agent to suit you can be a challenging task, with an ever growing number of agents on the market – this is where netanagent.com comes in, helping you to compare and assess local and online estate agents.

Once you have a pool of agents you’d like to value your home, you’ll need to make sure you ask the right questions when they visit your property. Right Surveyors Staffordshire, a surveyor in Stoke, believes the most important questions to ask during a valuation appointment are:

  1. What insight do you have into the local property market?
  2. What do you offer over and above the rest of the market, to make sure you deliver a great service?
  3. How will my home be marketed? What extra packages are available?
  4. Do you have any buyers who might be interested in my property?

Your estate agent will be your best friend throughout the selling process. They will be the ones to arrange any viewings and will be marketing your property to its full potential. Choosing the right estate agent is the key to your home being successfully sold, so make sure you have someone you feel will support you and give you advice right up until you complete the sale. Chemistry is key.

Costs

You may be surprised by the number of different fees associated with selling a home and you will need to incorporate these into your budget. If you choose to advertise through an estate agent, you will need to pay agency fees – agents vary from a few hundred pounds fixed fee, to percentages of the final selling price. The cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best – whilst you might save on agent fees, you may not get the service you want. Remember, you need to rely on the agent – make sure you pay what you can afford, but don’t select an agent just on price.

In England and Wales it is necessary for you, as a seller, to provide an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). This is a document which tells buyers how energy efficient your home is.

You will also have to pay solicitor legal conveyancing fees. Your solicitor will deal with the legal aspects of the selling process – your agent will be able to recommend one if you aren’t sure who to talk to.

If you are relocating, you need to keep some money aside for removal costs. These costs will vary depending on how far you’re moving or how many belongings you are taking with you. Make sure you get a number of quotes from different companies and also check customer reviews – it pays to shop around.

Getting an offer

Once potential buyers have viewed your home they may make you an offer and this might be below what you are asking. There is no need to accept or reject an offer straight away and it is always best to sleep on it and get back to them in a day or two. This is where your agent will help and guide you, to make sure you know how best to deal with every offer.

If you choose to accept an offer this is usually ‘subject to survey and contract’. This is standard and essentially means that barring any issue found on the survey, or within the contracts, the buyer intends to complete the sale. A survey gives a level of understanding about the structural soundness of a property – if your buyer is mortgaged, their mortgage company will commission a survey.

Remember, though, the offer and sale is not legally binding until contracts have been exchanged.

Things to remember

 

  • You may not get the exact price you wanted for your home from an initial bid, but that’s okay. Your estate agent is there to help you achieve the best price for your property, but also to give you honest and genuine advice as to your expectations.
  • Make your home the best it can be. Keep everything tidy and clutter-free: Don’t forget about its kerb appeal as well.
  • Keep on top of any paperwork as this will make things move along quicker and create a stress-free sale.
  • Your estate agent will be able to help you with any issues you have concerning the sale of your home.

 

About the author:

The Right Surveyors are a national group of chartered surveyors, stretching from Penzance to Gateshead and everywhere in between. With 19 practices, each individually led by an experienced local chartered surveyor, we can provide any client, private or corporate, with the surveying service they need.

You can find out more by visiting the Right Surveyors website, or by using any of the following methods:

0800 880 6024 | enquiries@rightsurveyors.co.uk | @RightSurveyors (Twitter)

Right Surveyors

Should you manage your own property viewings?

Selling your house can be a daunting task, especially if you have never taken the plunge into the property market before. Terminology such as EPC, gazumping and accompanied viewings will be familiar to anyone who has dealt with a house sale, but, if you’re a first-timer, it can be really tough to know exactly what you are supposed to be doing.

When you’re looking to appoint an estate agent, one question that will come up more that once is: ‘Do you want to carry out your own viewings?’ With the rise of online agents (a lower priced way of selling, but with more involvement from yourself) the idea of showing potential buyers around your property has become more and more popular. Most sellers still prefer to have the agent do this but, is the agent in a better position to showcase your home than you? Whilst they may know what will and won’t be a selling point, can anyone know your home better than you?

House Viewing

There’s no right answer here – some online agents would argue that you are best placed to carry out viewings, as nobody knows the property quite like you. They may also say that estate agents don’t always have the ability to deliver viewings at any time of the day. If you manage your own viewings, you can see people at a time that suits you, even at 9pm on a Friday!

A traditional local estate agent could argue that they are the experts and homebuyers are impulsive and unpredictable. Local agents may feel that they are better placed to carry out a viewing at a moment’s notice or when you are unavailable, making the most of every possible sales opportunity and achieving the best price for your home. Accompanied viewings can also take the stress out of showing strangers around your home, with viewings taking place even if you are at work.

There’s one more important thing to consider – prospective buyers can often be hypercritical and negative about the properties they are looking at and this can be quite difficult to hear if you are managing the viewing yourself. On the flipside, a lot of buyers won’t feel comfortable being honest to the owner’s if they don’t like their property.

Would you happily walk into someone else’s house, and tell them to their face that you aren’t a fan? Agents give you a middleman to elicit honest feedback and a real idea of whether or not a buyer is interested.

It’s worth pointing out that even with a traditional estate agent, there may be a time you need to conduct a viewing to make sure a buyer can see your property. Equally, a number of online agents offer viewing services so make sure you look at exactly what is on offer.

Before you pick an agent, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you available at a moment’s notice?
  • How confident are you with strangers?
  • Will you try to oversell the property?
  • Will you give out too much information about your home – good and bad?
  • How will you deal with negativity?
  • How strong are you when it comes to dealing with on the spot negotiations that you could regret later?

If you are confident that you can keep a cool head and be objective, then carrying out your own viewings could make an online estate agent a viable option and greatly reduce your fees. But keep in mind that if you aren’t confident, you run the risk of under or overselling your property, and turning off buyers and not achieving the best price for your property.

 

5 Great Tips to Keep Track of Your Possessions When Moving Home

Relocating to a new home can be quite a complicated process with a number of steps that take careful planning. Just like any big project, dividing it into smaller pieces will make the moving process feel a little less overwhelming. Finding a buyer and a new property is tough, but once the dust settles the task of moving all of your belongings begins! 

Often property owners don’t appreciate quite how much they own before they start to pack their possessions. It’s easy to pack things into a box but it’s far harder to actually keep track of exactly where each item is. That’s why it is important to organise your belongings early and to be honest about items you no longer have a use for. In short, you need to make a home inventory. You’ll be asked to do this during the house move, but it pays to start the process before the first viewing. A little bit of time invested at the start of the process can save you both time and money later on!

Create a List

You can do it the old fashioned way – with a pen and paper – or you can use one of the many apps available online. There are a variety of tools, such as Encircle or Sortly, that allow you to keep a record of your belongings and to include the price, the purchase date and the model. In addition there are different templates and spreadsheets with a sample list of items. This becomes your master list of items that you can refer back to through the move, it will help with viewings, insurance and removal quotes.

Woman making a list of possessions

Really look around

With your list, go room by room and check what you plan to take with you. This will probably not be your final list, but it can serve as a base. You can add or remove items at any step of the house removals process.  Consider the move as the ideal time to get rid of the unnecessary clutter that you’ve always said you could do without, but haven’t quite got around to actually throwing away. The less you have to move, the less you have to pay.

Make sure you only take what you need

There is nothing wrong with leaving some useful items behind – fixtures are an obvious choice, as are spare paint pots that match your current colour schemes. Help the new owner by labelling these with the rooms they match. This isn’t an excuse to leave your gnome collection in the garden, though!

If you plan on buying new appliances when you move, you may able to leave these behind and help out a first time buyer. If you know you don’t need it, talk to people viewing the property and say ‘we don’t need it, it works well, we’d be happy to leave it for you’. Equally, if you don’t want the expense of moving something you have no desire to keep, pop it onto Gumtree or Freecycle and pass it to someone else.

Detail is your friend

List exactly what is inside every box. Take a photo of your more valuable belongings, marking down any existing damage, so you can easily spot any problems. Don’t skip this step, especially if you are moving valuable objects. Describe exactly what you are going to move and then use your home inventory to get an accurate quote from the moving company.

Happy Girl Receives Package

Your list may also come in handy if you want to insure some or all of your belongings. It takes time, but it’s time you may have at the start of the process. On moving day, the last thing you’ll want to be doing is rifling through boxes looking for that one key item.

Colour code your belongings

If you’ve always wondered what you could use a DYMO label tool for well, this is the moment. Break your possessions down into sensible groupings. It could be by room in the new house or by activity they support (sleep, eat, drink). Alternatively, you can colour code as to the order in which items need to be unpacked. The bottle opener may be a priority over the collection of cuddly toys.

As with everything in life, if you plan ahead, you can save yourself a great deal of time and stress on moving day. You can also make your house viewings that little more polished – you will be asked ‘is that staying’ more than once, and answering definitively helps a buyer to picture themselves living in your property. And that’s exactly what you want.

Guest Post by Heather Roberts
Heather Roberts is a freelance guest blogger from London, with a number of published articles on various property related topics. She loves to spend her time with family and friends and she also tries to live an eco-friendly life. 

 

Estate Agent Fee Map 2015-16

As mentioned in The Sunday Times this morning, we’ve today launched our interactive map showing the average estate agent fees charged across Great Britain.

The new map allows homeowners anywhere in mainland Britain to quickly and easily check the cost of putting a house on the market. 

Hexham, a historic bustling village in the heart of the Tyne Valley, is the cheapest place to market a property in the country, with the luxurious borough of Kensington earning the title as the most expensive place to sell.

The new map also reveals the differences in price paid to move home across the UK, with London accounting for six of the top ten fee hotspots. Outside of London, however, Walsall, Preseli Pembrokeshire, Banff and Buchan and Anglesey take the remaining positions, each with higher estate agent fees than a number of the London boroughs.

netanagent.com managing director, Alex Thorpe, explained: “No-one will be surprised to hear that London is the most expensive area to sell, but they may raise an eyebrow at two remote spots in Wales and Scotland hitting the top ten.

“The costs are easily explained though, and this is something that estate agents often struggle to get across – remote locations can mean a huge geographical area to cover, with increased overheads, and a genuine lack of buyers. All of this can equate to a larger workload for an agent, justifying a slightly higher fee.

“Equally, in London, selling property isn’t just about listing a property on Rightmove and sitting back; we’re talking about vast sums of money, requiring agents to stay closely involved at all points, and delivering the sort of high end service you expect to pay for.”

The interactive map covers the period April 2015 to April 2016, and draws an average of property fee quotes from that period, delivering an indicative average figure from sales of properties of all values.

To put the fee difference into perspective, a UK property priced at the current UK average asking price of £307,033 will cost £2,210 to sell in Hexham, Northumberland, whereas, in Kensington, that same property sale would command an agent fee of £5,004.

Thorpe continues: “Whilst even the lowest fee may seem expensive to some homeowners, when selling a property the work that goes on behind the scenes is a lot more extensive than agents often talk about, especially post offer. Agents are the ‘go-between’ in one of the most stressful processes we go through in life and they often become the main point of contact for a vendor, offering advice, support and hopefully peace of mind right up until completion.

“netanagent.com provides a chance for homeowners to find agents who they feel they can afford, one that best fits their needs and who they believe will look after them and sell their property most effectively.

Brexit and the power of uncertainty

On Thursday 23 June, the referendum on whether or not Britain should remain in the European Union will be held – in what is the second most trailed event in the World (behind Donald Trump’s very, very long rise to potential to the republican nomination).

Depending on your media outlet of choice, you could be forgiven for believing any or all of the following statements:

  • An EU exit could see UK house prices dip by 5%.

  • EU nationals will find it more difficult to live in the UK (if Brexit happens) and this will strike at the core of London’s property boom.

  • The EU referendum will have little to no impact on the housing market.

  • The run-up to the referendum is too short to damage confidence in the same way that a general election would.

  • Brexit could lead to a construction talent drain, hitting the new home sector.

Strasbourg EU flags

A variety of media outlets have covered the above topics more than once and, it’s entirely feasible to suggest, the ‘man on the street’ can be forgiven for feeling incredibly uncertain about the next few months, and what June holds.

Could Brexit dampen the rate of property rises across the UK? Will the London property market teeter on the edge should a vote end in Brexit? Quite honestly, we don’t know. A Moody’s report in March found that:

Moody’s would “not expect to see significant increases in unemployment or [interest] rates, or substantial declines in property prices across the UK as a whole”. BBC, March 2016

But analysts and commentators are split on the impact the result of the referendum will have on the property market:

“To the average man on the street, [Brexit] makes no difference. Whether I want to move house or have another child makes no difference in or out of Europe.” Anthony Codling, Jeffries

‘…builders, property firms and home improvement businesses would be the worst-hit UK companies if Britain voted to leave the European Union, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs.’ Guardian, March 2016

‘Brexit’ fears may hit London’s property market – CNBC, March 2016

Despite different political allegiances across the media, there is consensus on one point – the most damaging element of the EU referendum is uncertainty. Uncertainty hurts markets, jobs and the property market.

Crystal ball in hands

There is no crystal ball to demonstrate what will happen should we vote to remain in theEU or vote to leave the EU. But the ongoing uncertainty around exactly what the outcome of the vote will be will continue should we vote ‘leave’. Should we vote to leave, the process will be drawn out, and uncertainty will remain.

It may be positive for the UK, it may not be. Hand on heart, nobody really knows how this could play out.

What we can say with certainty though is that, no matter what happens in June, people will still need to sell and buy homes for work and lifestyle reasons. Estate Agents will still exist, as will the property market. It may dip, it may rise. but on June 24, our agents will still be open for business and so will we.  

 

 

What Exactly Does ‘Estate Agent Lingo’ Mean in the Real World?

Hands up, who has ever heard jargon used by estate agents and quietly, so as to avoid embarrassment, thought ‘erm..come again?’

You’re not alone, and whilst agents use this lingo because it’s industry standard and does have genuine meaning, if you haven’t sold before it can be a little overwhelming. Don’t worry though, we’ve created a handy cheat sheet for you.

1) Property Chain

chain-257492_1280

A chain is a line of people buying and selling properties: a chain could start with a first time buyer purchasing a small flat; the owners of the small flat are then looking for a new house; the owners of that new house are then looking to buy a bigger house and so the chain goes on …

However, if one person in the chain drops out, then all the sellers are unable to continue with their moves as the chain collapses!

2) Cash Buyer

A pile of pound coins

This is probably one of the most overused and misleading terms. It is not someone with a large suitcase stuffed with bank notes (although rarely it might be, and in those situations, you might be best to keep looking).

A cash buyer is someone who can purchase property with funds that aren’t borrowed, so they are, on paper, a more attractive buyer than someone taking the mortgage route. It isn’t someone who has no property to sell, but still requires a mortgage.

3) Chain Free

We’ve discussed a chain, but you may also hear that someone is ‘chain free’. This means that their purchase of your property isn’t dependent on them selling their own home. They may be a first time buyer, or be buying a second home – or just be very, very rich.

Chain free buyers can be a good thing because it is one less thing to go wrong but, keep in mind that first time buyers can find it difficult to get a mortgage so the words ‘chain free’ don’t always mean ‘easy ride’.

4) Gazumping

It’s a fun sounding word for something that really isn’t enjoyable (for a buyer) but can be great for a seller.

Essentially, once a buyer has had an offer accepted on a property, another buyer can swoop in and offer more, and so ‘gazumping’ the first buyer. For a seller, it means more money – for the first buyer, it means a stressful hunt for additional funds.

5) Commission

Collection of percentages

Put simply, this is the fee that you pay your estate agent, this can be an upfront payment or, traditionally, a fee you pay when your property sale completes.

It’s called ‘commission’ because, before the birth of online agents (we’ll get to that) you would pay an agent a percentage of the price your house sells for. Whilst this still happens, the growth of online agents (keep reading) has brought ‘fixed fees’ to the market.

A fixed fee is exactly that, rather than paying a percentage of the property price, you pay a fixed fee which you agree upfront, but generally pay once your house has sold.

Different agents work in different ways, and there’s no right or wrong.

Luckily, there is a place (netanagent.com) where you can compare local agents, analyse fees and decide for yourself which route to go down.

6) Vendor

A small word that causes quite a lot of confusion. Very simply, if you’re selling your house, you’ll be called a vendor. Equally, the person you are buying a house from will be called a vendor.

Anyone selling a property in your chain will be classed as a vendor.

7) Online, high street and hybrid agents

One of the biggest changes in buying and selling property has come from the rise of online only estate agents.

Online estate agents offer low fee house sales, with the low cost underpinned by their lack of physical high street branches and reduced overheads. High street agents will generally charge a higher fee than online only agents, but they offer local expertise.

Hybrid agencies are, as you might imagine, a mix between the traditional and the new. Their fees will be slightly higher than an ‘online only’ agent, but they will have a local sales manager/expert/guru (you’ll see a lot of different names), who will help with valuations and provide a service similar to, but not necessarily as all-encompassing as, that of a high-street agent.

There’s no right answer as to which is best – our advice, compare both routes and look at what is important for you, don’t dismiss one because a fee is low and equally don’t dismiss one because a fee is a little higher. There are fantastic online agents, and fantastic high street agents.

8) EPC

EPC stands for Energy Performance Certificate – this rates the energy efficiency of a property from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.

You’ll have seen them on TVs and white goods – an EPC is a property wide view of efficiency, and also gives tips and estimated costs as to how to improve.

An EPC is valid for ten years – if you’re selling a property that has an EPC that is still valid, you don’t need to do anything. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to have at least booked an assessment before you put your house on the market.

If you don’t already have one, comparison sites exist to help you source a provider – try reallymoving.com.

9) Instruction

This is when you give an estate agent authority to sell your property; essentially the seller is agreeing that the estate agent can sell their house. Equally, the word also crops up when dealing with conveyancing (see point 10) – it means exactly the same thing. See ‘instruct’, think ‘appoint’.

10) Conveyancing

This is the legal work involved in buying and selling properties. As a seller, you would appoint a solicitor and your buyer would do the same thing. These solicitors will manage the contract between yourself and your buyer, formalising all documentation, undertaking legally required searches and helping ensure that the process is as transparent as possible.

11) Exchanging Contracts and Completing

At some point in your selling process, you will need to ask your solicitors when you will exchange contracts, and complete on your sale. But what does it actually mean?

Exchanging Contracts -

Man signing contracts on a desk

This is the point at which the sale becomes legally binding.

Before you exchange, the deal can break down with no penalties.

Between exchanging and completing, the deal can still break down but it is highly likely steep penalties would be incurred by whichever party breaks the contract.

Completing – The big day, when you can finally celebrate – money and keys will change hands.

So there you have it, a few keywords to get you going when selling or letting your house with an agent. Think this list could be expanded? Let us know and we’ll update it.