James Robinson, General Manager of Lurot Brand, London’s mews sales & lettings property experts, talks about online estate agencies and private sales.
“The American president and lawyer Abraham Lincoln once stated that “a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client.”
Off Market Deals
As any property developer will tell you, other than finding a bent estate agent willing to defraud his client, the best way to buy a house for less than it’s worth is to agree an ‘off market deal’ with a private seller.
Some developers and investors post hand written letters often claiming to be a young family who have ‘simply fallen in love with the house and are writing to say that if the house were ever to be for sale..…blah, blah!’ And it works!
With no pesky estate agents introducing other interest, the developer is free to agree a low price because the vendor is saving on agency fees. The unsuspecting sellers then find they have to protect themselves against last minute price chips based on spurious claims of market downturns, bad surveys and down valuations. If the buyer doesn’t chip the chances are the price agreed is so low they don’t want to risk losing the bargain.
This may sound far fetched but every estate agent has had to listen to dinner party boasts of the tens of thousands of pounds a guest has saved on estate agents fees. Surprisingly cutting out the estate agent is usually more important to them than the hundreds of thousand they have lost by doing so.
You may be thinking of course he would say this, after all he is an estate agent. But it may surprise you that we estate agents invariably use estate agents to sell our own properties.
Because we do the job every day we know how important it is to have a middle man during negotiations and that estate agents have data bases of buyers relying on agents, not portals, to notify them of properties coming to the market in specific locations.
We recently sold a mews house for £3.4million which had been on the market for six months with another agent asking £2.6 million. Our buyer owned a nearby house worth in excess of £40,000,000 and when informed he could garage his cars and house his staff close by he entered negotiations with us and paid what it was worth to him.
Incidentally the owner was more than happy to pay our fee of £85,000+VAT as he understood the premise that the cheapest estate agent is the agent who gets you the highest price. “