Tag Archives: Selling

What’s the value in that?

Understanding the difference

Valuation is a broad term and an industry minefield. Misinterpretation widely occurs between homeowners and ‘valuers.’ Before starting to calculate how much you can afford for an onward purchase its important to recognise there is a difference between a ‘marketing price’ and a ‘property valuation.’ 

When considering selling, the first step for most homeowners is to arrange for several local agents to pop around for an hour to talk about the house, individual marketing process and their thoughts on the value of the home. You need to know what you are going to sell for so you can also speak to mortgage companies about affordability on the purchase – so often problems can start here as many potential sellers will misinterpret the recommended marketing (or listing) price as the valuation and apply those figures to their ongoing maths. When those higher figures aren’t achieved then the dream home we set our hearts on is potentially no longer affordable – because most of us stretch ourselves as far as we can.

To be fair, many Estate Agents won’t explain the small print because the easiest service to sell is the one that promises the highest figure. So it’s understandable where the confusion might come in, but it can leave homeowners thinking their home will achieve a lot more than a buyer is likely to offer.

There are also different methods and guidance to ensure the property gets a fair amount of interest. However, from a buyers point of view they much prefer clarity in the price the owner is asking for their home.

…..and we’ve all seen properties marketed at a price that makes the eyes roll! Some agents market properties at extraordinary prices.

When it comes to estate agent valuations there should be 2 discussions about price: 

  • The upper and lower figures that buyer’s are most likely to be willing to pay or offer (a valuation window)
  • The recommended marketing price to try and deliver as close to the upper valuation as the market will allow

With those 2 figures, most homeowners can make an informed decision as to how best to proceed with marketing their home. 

Pay close attention to the ‘most likely’ willing to pay. Property valuation isn’t a science – but equally, it shouldn’t be a figure plucked out of the air either. We base this ‘most likely’ figure on the evidence we have of current buyer energy, recent sold properties and prices achieved, the property conditions and desirability both internally and externally, the road, location and distance to services and schools etc – these are the things we can use to recommend a marketing price with. But there are variables out of our control, and that constantly change, that can have a genuine effect on what price you might finally achieve. A simple example; the weather.

We believe that the marketing price should be an optimum figure based on the above considerations to achieve as much interest as possible. This should give your home the best possible chance of achieving the best price from a buyer. 


Be aware that one of the easiest ways to get someone to sign on the dotted line is to tell them they will achieve a price over and above what any other valuation has mentioned. This is exciting and flattering, but is very rarely the case. The majority of buyers are far from naïve and will do their research before offering, probably viewed other properties locally and will have a contrast of relevant information as to why your home will be the one for them. If one agent is telling you they will sell your property for 10% more than anyone else, they are probably just trying to get you to sign their terms, rather than providing you with an accurate figure that represents the most likely price achievable based on the current market conditions. 

You also need to look out for any ‘marketing cost clauses’ buried within the contract. Lots of estate agents will provide professional marketing at no cost. However, some will either have an option to pay for upgraded marketing (instead of someone in the office popping over to take photos on their phone) or will suggest it is included within their fee, but if you change your mind about selling you will be liable for the agents ‘marketing costs.’  

The last thing to consider is the fee itself. Fees vary from agent to agent some agents offer a no sale, no fee contract, whilst others will charge you regardless. You’ll tend to find the most motivated agents will be the ones who are instructed on an all or nothing basis aka no sale, no fee – after all what could be more motivating than knowing you will only get paid if you deliver the goods! The fees themselves vary considerably depending on the agent and you will find the old adage of ‘pay peanuts, get monkeys’ still rings true. That’s not to say that paying a fortune to an agent will yield any better results. Ultimately, a reasonable fee for a job well done tends to leave everyone with a smile on their face. 


What to do now? 

If you are considering selling, try and arrange for 3-4 agents to visit and make sure you have some variety. A mixture of corporate and independent is always helpful if you want a complete overview of the options available and a comprehensive view of what is happening in your local area. Whatever you do, before you sign, check the reviews (thanks Google & Facebook.) 

Written by James Nicol
Stanfords Forest Hill

Knowing me, knowing you. Ah-ha!

Do you know your Estate Agent?

Not the company itself, but the individual negotiators/sales people behind the brand, the person you’ll meet and speak to throughout your search and buying process.

You probably don’t know them all that well. In fact, other than an email address you probably don’t know very much about them at all. But despite the reputation, Estate Agents are normal people and it can pay dividends to make a little effort to get to know who you’re dealing with.

Buying a house is known to be one of the most stressful, expensive and absorbing things you’ll ever do. However, from start to finish, the experience can be made that little bit easier when you know your agent.



if you’ve taken the time to explain to your agent your reasons for moving, your position and the type of property you’re looking for, they’ll be able to take that onboard and help you in your search. Rightmove is not the holy grail when it comes to seeing new listings, a good agent will be able to spot your dream home before it’s even listed! It takes time to get photos and marketing approved, meanwhile we’ve been talking to contacts that we have registered way before the listing comes on and sometimes properties can have offers on them before they even come to market. Having met you and heard what you’re looking for, often times we might know a property is perfect that you’ve overlooked – those sales make our day!

Its well understand people buy into a lifestyle. Most home owners end up selling to people in similar shoes to themselves when they first bought their home. A house in the catchment area for an outstanding primary school is likely to have been bought by a young family so naturally, in time, sold to a young family. One of the most common questions asked about a property is “What’s the vendors situation?” and “Who are the owners?”. However, it’s not just the buyers who want to know who they’re buying from, it can be of huge significance to a seller as to whom they’re selling to. Homeowners love their homes, they’re their pride and joy, they might adore their neighbours and as such have a genuine interest in seeing their buyers are going  to be good people. Who you are as a buyer can play a key role when negotiating an offer. Don’t forget, it’s likely you’ll never meet the homeowner so if your agent is able to paint a picture of you as buyers and to sell you not just for who you are, but also your position and your desire to buy the property, it certainly helps cement any offer and makes it feel real.

A long slog

In normal circumstances it takes 14-16 weeks from having your offer accepted to the day of completion. It can be quicker and it can be slower, but one things for sure, there is a whole host of things that can add delay and create stress throughout the process. Worst of all, it might not be anything to do with your purchase, it could be somewhere else in the pesky chain – out of your control and your sellers control. This is what agents call the ‘progression stage’ and we find it just as stressful as you do. This might not feel like a time period in which knowing your agent has any relevance to the process whatsoever and if your sale goes through without a hitch, then you’re probably right. However, if there are any hiccups along the way, having the support and a relationship with your agent and being able to speak to a calming, open and trustworthy voice at the end of the line can make all the difference.

Buying a house is likely to be a stressful time but in all walks of life relationship building can ease the pain and be the difference between a bad buying experience or a great one.

article by David Vincent, Catford Branch

Stanfords – Sales & Lettings

Don’t Panic, we’re here to help!

The first time I heard the words Japanese Knotweed, I expected Robin Williams to jump out the wardrobe and scream Jumanji!

Who would have thought that this innocent looking plant could cause so much grief around the purchase of a house… I mean, the thing wasn’t even a foot tall!

A similar event occurred upon reading my first damp report – I turned up to my next viewing with wellies and rain jacket in the boot, expecting the River Thames to be flowing down the stairs.

Fear Factor

These are a couple of the many ‘red flags’ that will be  listed on a home buyers report and can be absolutely terrifying to a First Time Buyer. The first time a buyer sent me their survey report, I was terrified for them and wondered why the boss hadn’t made me wear a hard hat to the viewings and I was the one selling the home! But jumping ship straight away could result in more of the same from the next property you get surveyed. So its important to take a step back and a deep breath.

Realistically…is the house going to fall down? Probably not… (and its insured right?!)

Can everything be resolved? Most likely, just needs to be stripped down to its basics

Should you read through your home buyers report more than once…. absolutely! If you get a chance read through a friends too, when you aren’t emotionally involved in their purchase it might give you a level of perspective you need in your own circumstances.

We do our best to establish some balance on the frightening wording and confusing jargon with the daunting issues that are always raised when purchasing a home which, without advice – can leave you feeling like the house you are buying is doomed! (don’t worry, it probably isn’t!)

Buying your first home will be one of the biggest and most important decisions in your life, you want it to be be fun and exciting – unfortunately, it is likely to be arduous and frustrating. Being properly prepared can make a big difference to a potentially very stressful experience.

From the moment you receive the phone call from the estate agent letting you know your offer has been accepted, the 3-month journey (roughly) begins, which will no doubt have its ups and downs and inevitable stresses, which is why it is important to have support along the way to guide you through the process. A common misconception is made that the estate agent is only interested in supporting the vendor given they pay the fee; in reality the buyer is also legally ‘the client’ and therefore should receive the same genuine support, advice and attention throughout. So use your agent, the good ones have amassed experience and knowledge that should provide a helping hand throughout the transaction.

Solicitors and Surveyors

Involved to protect you, but will protect themselves just as much if not more.

I never realised before working in the industry how important it is to instruct the right solicitor – now don’t get me wrong, like every industry, you will have certain solicitors who differ in cost for their services – I would always recommend speaking with family or friends before instructing someone to figure out who is going to be the right fit for you, rather than a quick google search to find the cheapest option!.

If all else fails, ask your agent! (Remember, we’re here to help you!) given the fact we deal with solicitors on a daily basis; the likelihood is your agent will be able to pass over a few recommendations who can really make the difference in having a successful and smooth process and also taking the stress away from you as the buyer.

I often get asked from clients ‘’should I get a survey’? and the answer often differs based on the scenario – for example, If my buyer was asking if they should have a full structural survey on a new build flat, it was be more inclined to recommend they save their money for obvious reasons! however, I do recommend  getting at least a home buyers survey as this will provide some detailed answers around the bones of the property and can sometimes offer recommendations on a few things that may need further inspections.

Reading a survey report for the first time can leave a buyer terrified! I remember the first phone call I had with a buyer who had just received her report and she honestly thought the house was going to fall down! In reality, the issues raised were relatively common  – So I like to make sure that I pre- warn buyers of a few common areas which may flag up,  for example, ‘area is known for subsidence’ – given the fact the majority of buildings in London are built on clay, this is something we cannot get away from and I’d recommend looking outside of London if this is of major concern!. Another one that’s quite common is finding some elements of damp in period homes -. My biggest recommendation to first time buyers is to contact the surveyor after reading through the report as quite often, the reports can be worded in ways which can be confusing; Having the surveyor break this down over the phone can be helpful.

To summarise, every step along the way of buying your first property is a journey into the unknown, but with the trusted help of friends, family, surveyors, agents, solicitors etc – most things are very much solvable (most of the time!) so use them to your advantage and remember, don’t panic, just talk.


“Article by Jay Scally, Forest Hill.”