Agents Blog: The importance of estate agents in sales progression By Mrs Jaimie Rice, Manager, Phoenix Estate Agents
There are many agents out there who believe their job is done once an offer is accepted and it is the solicitors who are then responsible for taking over handling the property transaction through to completion. Yes essentially the agents work is done, a buyer has been found, and it is the solicitors who take over the transaction – completing the legal paperwork and getting through to the all important exchange of contracts & completion stages. But in a time when it is hard enough to find a buyer in the first place and money is more of a concern, it should be even more important that the estate agent assists in monitoring the progress of the legal side of transaction & any related transactions in a chain, in order to assist in ironing out any delays or niggles & keep everyone informed. We are an agent who continues to monitor the sale progress after an offer is accepted, ensuring as best as we can that we obtain the full chain details and staying in touch with our related solicitors, agents & mortgage brokers involved for progress news and making sure our buyers and sellers are kept as up top date as we are. There are many occasions where monitoring the sales progression has assisted in speeding up the process, resolving an issue and holding it all together. The benefit of keeping both the customers who are selling & buying through us informed of the progress is that it keeps their stress levels down as they understand better what is happening and why. They are then less likely to jump to the wrong assumptions through lack of communication, over react if there is an issue/delay or get itchy feet that things aren’t going how they should be and consider withdrawing from the transaction altogether. Yes the seller is the one paying the agent (in most cases) so that is where the agents main responsibility lies. But the buyer is key to the transaction proceeding & the agent also has a responsibility to them – so inadvertently becomes just as important as the seller when it comes to being kept informed. By keeping our buyers up to date and checking in with them how they are getting on, we are more likely to be turned to if they have a problem & then can be given the opportunity to assist them in finding a solution. I understand many agents may worry about how much customers understand of the process, confusing them with all the information, or worrying them un-necessarily if there is a hiccup that arises which is easily resolved. But I’m a big believer that if customers are kept informed of even the bad news & are told what steps are being taken to resolve them, they are much less likely to get stressed or make an irrational decision based on only knowing half the story. We assist between the solicitors too. Often one solicitor hitting a brick wall getting information or documents from the solicitors on the other side and even on occasion struggling to get in touch. We assist by letting the customer know what the issue is and ask them to assist us to get it resolved. Sometimes a phone call is all it takes to hurry something along or get the communication between the solicitors back on track. I’ve even had cases where two solicitors ready to exchange have both been sat waiting for the other to ring & do it. On those occasions if I hadn’t chased the solicitors and identified the communication issue – would it have happened? How much longer would my customer have been sat there on tender hooks waiting for the news? Sadly we often deal with agents in chains who clearly don’t conduct their sales progression in such a way and leave it to the solicitors to handle. There is only so much the solicitors are there to do & can do. So that is where it is important for us agents to step in. We have often ended up resolving issues on a part of the chain that we aren’t actually handling or responsible for. But we take the attitude that by helping to hold another part of the chain together, we are actually still doing our job for our own customers - by keeping it all on track. So with times being tough, money being tight & the importance of not only getting a buyer, but holding on to them & getting your sale through to completion - make sure your agent is keeping that communication flowing & checking through the chain. If you would like any further buying & selling advice please do not hesitate to get in touch.