When do you want to sell?

When do you really want to sell? On the first day of marketing? After four weeks? Three months or, are you prepared to wait for over a year  before agreeing a sale?

Not many agents ask this question of home-owners when they are about to go onto the market but, whenever I do, I usually see the owners mouth open slightly and a look of bewilderment as they pause to think about the answer. The answer is invariably a variation of the following: “Actually, I hadn’t thought about that…. I don’t know. As soon as possible?”

As any agent will tell you; if a property takes ages to sell, it’s the agents fault for not marketing it properly and, if it sells within hours or days, we “gave it away” or should drop our fees because “we (apparently) didn’t have to do any work”. So, the question remains. When do you want to sell?

When most people are pressed, they usually say they’d ‘like’ to sell as soon as possible but, most usually expect to sell between four and six weeks after going onto the market. Which then should beg a series of other thoughts and questions.

Depending on where you live in the UK, average selling times can vary dramatically. Just across West Cornwall, which my business covers, there is a 16 week difference between the fastest and slowest-selling areas (Penzance 17 weeks and 1 week in Lelant*). Times also vary dramatically between agents within those areas. So, how do you choose?

For those customers who need to move for the usual reasons (work, family etc), they usually want to move quickly. Their priority is speed. For those who are moving for non-essential lifestyle reasons would ‘like’ rather than ‘need’ to move; the motivation is less strong and the emphasis shifts to being unconcerned about timing until they find ‘the right place’ at which point; agents usually receive a flurry of calls asking them why the hell they haven’t sold it yet.

Peoples priorities and emphasis changes all the time but, having a clear idea of what you want to achieve and by when is critical if you want your agent to give you the best advice and achieve the result you want.

Incidentally, except in highly volatile and fast-moving markets, the price achieved by a good agent will remain fairly constant. The best prices are usually achieved by setting a sensible figure that attracts lots of serious attention and not, as so many agents seem to suggest, setting an overly optimistic price that only attracts tyre kickers and silly offers before you ultimately drop the price having spent months on the market with your home getting ever more stale in the eyes of potential buyers.


chris-signatureAbout Chris Wood: Chris is an estate agent with over 25 years of property experience. His business, PDQ Estates Ltd is based in Penzance and Helston, West Cornwall and was included in the Daily Telegraphs’ list of the UK’s top 20 best small estate agents “who go above and beyond to help their customers” in 2013. He is currently championing the fight against #PortalJuggling in the media along with a number of other agents, journalists and agency suppliers.

He has worked with all sizes and types of businesses from single office independents to the management team and board of RBS and Tesco.

A former President-Elect of the NAEA and board member of NFoPP until he resigned in 2009, Chris has always championed the highest professional standards for estate agents in the UK.
No stranger to the media, he has appeared on various programs including BBC, News 24, ITV, independent and BBC radio and is a regular contributor to trade journals, local and national Newspapers. Chris is on KloutLinkedIn Ecademy Facebook and Twitter
Chris has previously competed in the National Laser sailing championships and, as a Sabreur with a top 300 UK ranking in fencing.

A long-standing member of the Territorial Army; in 2010 he mobilised for a tour of duty in Afghanistan with 1 Rifles as part of 3 Commando Brigade but was medically evacuated back to the UK before deploying to his forward base with his unit and is now medically discharged from the army.

*Publicly available data taken from Zoopla

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