January 30th, 2008

Moving House Part 1: Selling and Estate Agents

Well, after much pondering, my house is finally on the market. Plans are to move a bit north of Hitchin (which isn’t that far from here) where I can get lots more house for the same amount of money.

Turns out selling a house is much easier (and cheaper) than buying. Especially fun is inviting estate agents over to value your property. First, there was the sales pitch of Frosts. They were ever so keen to tell me how many potential buyers they had on their lists, How they had amazing local knowledge, and so on. Then came the more realistic Daniels. The guy from Daniels seemed more like a person who wanted to help me sell my house than someone wanting to sell me something. And yes, I originally contacted them because I thought it’d be funny to have a sign that said “Daniels for sale” outside my house. Finally, there was Abbey. Again, the guy seemed to be more here to help me sell my house than perform a sales pitch, but took a slightly different approach to Daniels.

The products that the companies offered were fairly identical, to be honest. They all advertise well locally as well as online on their own websites and sites such as RightMove and seemed to know their stuff. I was instantly put off by the Frosts person - I’m always wary of strong sales pitches and to me it instantly worries me that the pitch is a sign of all sizzle, no steak.

In the end, it was almost a dead heat between Daniels and Abbey. However, I think that the fact that the guy from Abbey was straight to the point of being blunt with me is what won it over. For example, the other two companies said that their fees were 1.5%, quickly adding that it was negotiable when I mentioned that they weren’t the only company I’d contacted. Abbey’s fee is 1%, and they gave me the impression that if I didn’t want to pay that they’d rather go and sell someone else’s house instead.

It’s probably the position my job puts me in, but that no-bullshit approach strikes a chord with me - I want to sell my house, not haggle for wares at the local market! For example, given the question “What are your fees?”: Frosts said: 1.5%, plus Home Information Pack (HIP) and conveyancing. Obviously, the 1.5% is negotiable, and if you go with our conveyancor, you’ll get the HIP for free. If you don’t, we can still do the HIP at £350 + VAT if you pay up front. If you want to pay for the HIP when you complete, that’ll cost more at £450 + VAT.

Abbey said: 1%. You supply your own HIP and conveyancing, but we work with a conveyancing firm quite regularly and I’d recommend them if you don’t have anyone else in mind. Daniels response was somewhere in between. Much as I don’t want to get fleeced, I don’t want to spend my time haggling, faffing around with products interleaved with one another and wondering if I could’ve got a better deal. Abbey seemed to provide a happy medium.