One of London’s leading estate agents is advising sellers to consider giving the negotiator who sells their property a bonus, and never for any reason use an online company.
Trevor Abrahmsohn - managing director of high-end London agency Glentree International and one of the founders of OnTheMarket - gives 10 pieces of advice to sellers as to how to maximise the price they get and optimise the time taken to find a buyer in a slow market such as today’s.
Many of these are familiar and consumer-facing - get the guide price right, declutter, never accompany the agent and buyer on a viewing, and so on - but one of particular interest to the industry is Abrahmsohn’s outspoken comments about online agents.
One of his pieces of advice is entitled, simply, “Don’t Use An Online Agent.”
It reads: “They will cost you money and you may still need a conventional agent as well to do the job which will cost you double the fees. An online agent may well undersell the property by an unacceptable margin. Pay your conventional agents the full fee and even give a bonus to the successful negotiator who sells the property. This means you will get the best from them and, one hopes, the highest price at the end of the process.”
Perhaps less predictable is another Abrahmsohn’s top 10 pieces of advice for sellers - that is, to ensure they meet their buyer face-to-face.
“Before a deal is struck, always insist on meeting the prospective purchaser in person since you get a far better idea of their sincerity when you ‘look them in the eye’” says the agent.
“If you are just reliant on a name passed to you by an agent, you are clueless as to the full picture of the purchaser’s background. At a meeting to agree terms, make sure the agent ‘spells out’ the deal that you think you have agreed and, when everyone is happy, shake hands” he adds.
“Everyone should know that a hand shake is the sealing of a ‘moral contract’ in advance of a formal exchange and is subject only to getting a mortgage and having a structural survey. Let all the parties agree that gazundering and gazumping are ‘forboden’.”
His other advice includes using OnTheMarket’s ‘early bird’ marketing system, having photographs taken when the garden is at its best, and ensuring the property is super-clean throughout - specifically on the latter point, Abrahmsohn suggests scented candles could be a good idea “as long as they do not smell like toilet deodorisers.”