In reality, this is how it works with estate agents, especially in today’s market:
You contact the agent and arrange a meeting. You then wait a week for the agent to arrange to take photos of your property. The agent draws up the particulars of the property once the photos and measurements have been taken.
An efficient agent will have the property in the local newspaper within three weeks. If you are lucky the property will also appear on an internet site.
So five weeks or so after first contacting the agent you may begin to get viewings. The home must be cleaned from top to bottom and any refurbishments required must be taken care of which could cost you anywhere from £50 to many thousands of pounds.
The average number of viewings for a property to sell is between ten and fifteen. Let us be optimistic and say it takes only ten viewings to find a buyer. That means the property must stay in pristine condition for another two to three weeks.
Finally, after nearly seven weeks somebody is interested and they want to buy the property! He needs to arrange a mortgage which will take anywhere from five to seven weeks. His solicitor contacts your solicitor and the searches and relevant legal work are undertaken in the meantime.
At this critical moment in the sale he could so easily pull out because buyers very often do!
What if he is unhappy with his solicitor’s findings? What if the mortgage falls through? What if he is offered another property he likes? What if he cannot sell his old home? There are many external factors affecting the buyer over which you have absolutely no control.
Assuming the buyer is happy with the legal side of things and the mortgage offer is given, the sale goes through almost three months after the first contact with the estate agent. That is three months’ worth of mortgage payments.
This is an optimistic scenario. What if the agent didn’t find a buyer? What if you were forced to drop the price to achieve a quick sale? What would you do if you were “gazumped”? What if your buyer was “gazumped”?
The huge amount of time estate agents take to sell properties could leave you exposed to many factors which could seriously affect the progress of your sale.