Auction or estate agents?

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Monday 18 June 2007 12.51pm
A friend of my daughter is selling the family home ( or rather his parents are) it is a very old massive house over four floors with loads of interesting features ( like no central heating!) the house is over 200 years old at Kennington. Estate agents have valued it at 760 thous.
Would it be cheaper to put it to auction with a reserve price or go through estate agents? It has a front garden,back garden, corner plot too..
Monday 18 June 2007 1.08pm
Offer it to Mapmaker as a private sale based on three valuations, and taking off the agents fee.

More seriously be very careful. Ask a large number of agents in. Check how much commission they intend to charge,l for sole agency or otherwise. Ask carefully how much to put it on for and what to expect. (I do know of cases where nothing happens and then a friend of the agent suddenly turns up with a low offer. Give me a call and I can flesh out some horror stories.) Ask carefully about the marketing wthat will be given. Give the agent a fixed period in which to have sole agency. Get a friend to go in and enquire and see it the property is actually being marketed. (Again when we were looking interesting properties which were cheap because they needed work they were in the shop window, but not available once you asked about them.) Consider dual agency if the commission rates are acceptable.

If you dont manage to sell with the agent who looks best within the set period, or have had no real interest, consider an auction with a reserve price at a level that is acceptable.

Also consider telling the agent that as well as going with the agent you will be trying for a private sale. So you could advertise here, and Mapmaker may be able to suggest other places.

I have come across several nasty examples of people who are not used to buying and selling who have been rooked. It is an opportunity for agents to show their worst side.

Tuesday 19 June 2007 9.13am
Having just bought a flat, local agents seem better than the chains. They're much more dependent on repeat business so seem to be more realistic.

Two friends of mine have just sold their respective places and the fees were 0.5% and 3.5%.

I would certainly suggest to ask some friends for their experiences and what to expect, then apply some common sense and then talk to them as if you know exactly what you are doing...
Tuesday 19 June 2007 10.13am
I am not sure whether it is true to say that locals are better than chains. Its a bit of both. Some chains, and I spent some time working part time for one, have a series of checks in place to minimise the chance of staff playing games. Elsewhere the odd "deal" may be seen as one of the perks of the job.

A few years back my cleaners brother inherited their parents house. I was letting property in the area and so asked the letting agent what sales agents she could recommend who would be straightforward with a vulnerable person. She gave me two names in two reputable agencies. I phone both, but unfortunately the vendor failed to ask for the peole by name - and so the first agerncy sent a keen young man...who lo and behold valued it at 35% less than the other. It was a standard terrace house in Battersea and there was absolutely no excuse for getting it wrong.

The other was on the lowish side but acceptable given the vendor was going to want a quick and trouble free sale. And they did achieve full asking price plus a quick sale.

Kennington is an odd area for estate agents. The obvious recommendation was Alan Fraser but he has sold up.

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