9 – Olives Stores – Estate Agent – Select and Sell

| 17th October 2015 | 0 Comments

How I Selected and Sold the properties using the services of an Estate Agent

Olive Stores, Brenchley, Kent TN12 7NQ

No 9 in series

I have taken you on a journey through many quite long but hopefully informative articles on how I as a small developer, found, negotiated, designed/planned, bought, found/employed builders, built/renovated/converted the Grade 2 listed Olive Stores property into 2 four storey town houses.

It was now mid October 2014 and since November 2013 I had not received a penny in income and I would still be living off the remnants of the commercial loan until I sold BOTH properties as the sale of the first would merely clear my debt. The lender, Barclays had a ‘First Charge’ over the property plus I had additional borrowing on credit cards and a personal loan which was required to live and cover the over spend.

I had erected a couple of my own ‘For Sale’ boards on the property which did generate some interest but nothing worthwhile so It was essential I selected the correct Estate Agent to sell my properties.

Research

Before inviting any agents you must look at their websites to see if they are selling properties similar to yours and also to test that the website is user friendly. There is no point inviting an Estate Agent that generally sells properties valued at £250,000 when yours is worth considerably more. Also if the website is a shocker then visitors will ‘bounce’ away without carrying out a proper search.

The Meetings

I invited 5 Estate Agents to meet me at the properties; I showed them each property in turn and explained the extent of any boundaries and the Rights of Way to the parking and to the back doors. It was like Ground Hog Day.

Each agent gave me their initial thoughts on value before leaving to write up a detailed valuation report.

It was clear that due to the location and type of property I had created there were no comparables which could be used to provide an idea of value. The properties were so individual that it would be necessary to set my own price and then see how the market reacted.

One agent did try to provide a comparison by presenting some property details for a terraced 3 bed post war house on the edge of the village. This was no comparison as I have demonstrated below. As a result he valued each house at between £375,000 and £400,000. Way too low.  It was clear that he was struggling to understand the properties and how they would sit in the market place. By doing this he demonstrated a lack of experience and therefore his firm was dropped from consideration.

The comparison failed for the following reasons:

Age of the property – My properties were Listed Buildings and the property oozed character. His was plaster and laminate. No comparison.

New – My properties had been freshly converted and modernised with all new plumbing, electrics, flooring, carpets, kitchens, appliances supported by many guarantees and warranties plus fresh and decorations . (You will always receive a premium on your selling price due to any new build aspect.) His was post war, of no architectural significance, second hand and tired. No comparison.

Location – Mine was village centre, local to the Post Office, Butchers, Newsagents and pub. His was on the edge of the village requiring a long walk or short drive to any facilities. No Comparison.

Finish – The finish to both properties was high end with Solid Oak Doors, Oak Floors, In-frame Kitchens, Open Fires, Oak Beams and Brick Fireplaces, En-Suite bathrooms, State of The Art Wiring for Data and TV etc. His was in need of some love. No comparison.

The other 4 agents provided their values ranging from £425,000 to £575,000 for each property with a report on how they would carry out the marketing. All would work for a fee of 1% + VAT, the standard Developer Rate.

I discounted the Agents that valued at the lower end because I did not feel they would be committed to testing the market as I intended.

I also removed from consideration the agent that valued the highest. I have met Estate Agents that value high to get the business; feed the greed; then after a week or so at that level and no viewings they would call saying “perhaps we should reduce the price”!! There also some employ sneaky tactics (More so before regulation but still exists) whereby after the meeting an agent will call stating “I have told someone about your properties and they are really very interested; would it be possible to arrange a viewing” Mmmmmmmm. Could be true but more likely it is a friend purporting to be a potential purchaser. Beware of this type of call. Do not allow such visits and do not let it influence your decision.

The Winner

The agent I selected was Dan Boyes of Alexandra Boyes Estate Agents based in Tunbridge Wells.

 

Dan Boyes of Alexander Boyes Estate Agents

Dan Boyes

 

I got on well with him which is of course important. He understood that the properties were individual and it was his suggestion to place the properties on the market at £525,000 for Bourne House and £500,000 for Mulberry House. He and his colleague would carry out all the viewings. He said he would provide feedback on the day of any viewing with a summary every week. Perfect…I cannot stand it when agents don’t call you with feedback.

Excellent…I have a committed agent. Now all we need are lots of viewings to assess if we have the set the prices correctly. The market will always tell you with a punch on the noise if you have been too greedy. Having said that you can always reduce your price but it would be very ballsy indeed to increase it. I must try that one day.

Preparing the Properties for Sale

It goes without saying that any property being offered for sale should be clean and tidy with as little clutter as possible. There are many TV programmes, most of them presented by Phil Spencer, which guide people on this very subject.

It makes sense to spend a bit of money getting a property ready as a) you will make the property more saleable and b) you should/could get the money spent back as part of an increased sale price.

If you don’t do it your property will not stand out and will stay unsold.

With the Olive Stores Development, and as we had done on previous projects, we decided to Stage both houses with furniture, mirrors and ornaments to help buyers visualise how they could live in the properties.

Louise opened a trade account with India Jane and purchased enough furniture to stage the Kitchen, Dining and Living rooms on the ground and first floor bedrooms and bathrooms of both houses. We had the mirrors and ornaments from previous projects.

 

Grade 2 listed property development - Olive Stores, high street, Brenchley after development - Living Room in Bourne House

Fireplace in Bourne House Living Room

 

Grade 2 listed property development - Olive Stores, high street, Brenchley after development - Living Room in Mulberry House

Fireplace in living room in Mulberry House

 

Grade 2 listed property development - Olive Stores, high street, Brenchley after development - Dining Platform in Bourne House

Dining Platform in Bourne House

 

We then arranged for the Agent to take the photographs for the brochures and websites.

Mulberry House Sales Brochure

Bourne House Sales Brochure

It was now late October and we needed to go to market ASAP otherwise we would crash into Christmas and the properties would stick well into the New Year. This would be costly.

Timing

Dan had carried out some research as far as when to go live on Rightmove (and others). The day and time was important; the first few days was key to generating ‘footfall’; Monday at 6.30pm is best apparently; weekends everyone is busy; a Monday evening after Dinner/Tea; before the TV starts getting good is the best time for the an e-mail to be received.

Web Presence

Rightmove is king…for the moment. On the Market, Zoopla, Prime Location are all good, but if it isn’t on Rightmove you aren’t going to get as many viewings.

The asking price of your properties must fit into the Search criteria on the Rightmove site.

The search function asks for lowest price and highest price. Your asking price must fall within these for the maximum number of people.

People search in different ways.

A) This type will look at houses valued higher than they can afford hoping to negotiate a bargain.

B) This group will only look up to what they can afford.

We want both types looking at my properties.

The bandings on Rightmove are:

  • £50,000 to £300,000 increase by increments of £10k (With increments of £5,000 at £120k-£125k and £170k to £180k)
  • £300,000 to £500,000 increase by increments of £25,000
  • £500,000 to £700,000 increase by increments of £50,000
  • £700,000 to £1,000,000 increase by increments of £100,000
  • £1,000,000 to £2,000,000 increase by increments of £250,000
  • £2,000,000 to £3,000,000 increase by increments of £500,000

Etc Etc………..

Our asking prices are £500,000 and £525,000 so we will be looked at by all searching from £475,000 to £525,000.

Sale Agreed

As soon as the properties went live on Rightmove we had a lot of interest even though the prices were quite high and there were no gardens – The Parish Garden is located opposite the properties so this could have been used as outside space if required.

The Estate Agent carried out many viewings and the feedback was good on price. Even though there were no gardens many of the reasons for not making an offer were “we need a garden”…classic!

We received two offers for Bourne House. One was quite low and the other was at £500,000. We accepted.

Soon after this we received an offer from a local for Mulberry House at £450,000. This was increased after negotiation to £485,000. We accepted.

Solicitors were instructed all before the end of November. Happy Days J

Contracts Exchanged and Completion

On the 23rd of January 2015, some 14 months after I first viewed the Olive Stores, we completed on the sales of both properties for a total of £985,000.

I was able to provide ‘Full Title Guarantee’ to the purchasers which si something my solicitor worried about and as

At the time of completion I met both purchasers and gave them a welcome pack which included all the original copies of all Guarantees and Warranties plus other useful information. We agreed the meter readings for the Electricity and Water. I gave them all the account numbers for all of the utility companies. I then waved good bye and closed the door on the Olive Stores Project; my best yet.

 

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Category: How to sell your property, My Projects, Olive Stores - Brenchley, Property Developing, Property Professionals

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