Lewis Sutehall, Sales Director at Grosvenor
I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here is back for its 22nd season, illustrating that reality TV is still a winning formula. Whilst Lewis Sutehall, Sales Director at Grosvenor isn’t one of its regular viewers, here he argues why another winning reality-based formula – realistic property valuations – is more important than ever in today’s marketplace.
As the celebratory jungle drums ring out over in Australia to welcome a new season of the popular TV show, the Grosvenor team has its own reason for celebration. And that’s the fact that our Cobham office has listed 26 new properties since the economy went ‘slightly’ off-course following the former Chancellor’s mini-budget in September.
The reason for our own celebration isn’t necessarily about us as a business. It’s more about the fact that amongst the doom and gloom we’re currently being bombarded with by the media, 26 new listings illustrate that people are still moving and that the Surrey property market (the Elmbridge property market, at least) remains buoyant. In fact, the number of properties we’ve listed over recent weeks is broadly in line with what we’d expect as we head into the festive season.
However, there is something else that lies behind the volume of instructions we’ve continued to receive in what are rightly being regarded as challenging times – and that’s our realistic approach to property valuations and estate agency advice.
Keeping it real
We’re proud that we provide honest advice – even if we know it’s not always what the client wants to hear. Many estate agents will overvalue a property to appeal to the prospective seller, who naturally wants to work with an estate agent that promises to sell their property at the highest amount. However, an overvalued property tends to attract little interest, overstay its welcome on Rightmove and begin to look stale after a few weeks.
Our approach is to list a property at a realistic price, generate interest from multiple buyers and let the highest bidder win. Whilst it may seem counterintuitive to someone who’s just been assured it will quickly sell for £200,000 more, there’s nothing more appealing to a prospective buyer than a property that’s in demand. It’s just human nature. If a property is overpriced, it doesn’t attract interest and the less interest it attracts, the less desirable it becomes.
Establishing the right price
Only last week, we took an instruction and offered a valuation figure that we felt was realistic. However, the client wanted 8 per cent more, which, on this particular property, was a substantial amount. We agreed to trial it at the client’s preferred value, however it didn’t get traction. So, we reduced it in line with our original valuation and within days received multiple offers, one of which was from a cash buyer.
At this point, the underbidder increased their offer to the amount that the vendor originally wanted. The only sticking point was that they required a substantial mortgage, so their position wasn’t as strong as the cash buyer’s. However, the vendor now had two strong offers that they didn’t have when the property was listed at their preferred price. After renegotiations with the cash buyer, a sale was agreed at a price somewhere between our valuation and what the client originally wanted.
In our view, this is where independent high street estate agents add value – and this example would certainly not have not played out the way it did with an online estate agent.
Looking ahead to 2023
With Christmas only around the corner and 2023 a matter of weeks away, our advice to those thinking of selling soon is as follows.
- Get the price right. Remember, it’s better to price a property competitively and generate interest from multiple buyers than price it too high and attract no interest.
- Be confident in the Elmbridge property market. This is an affluent area and properties are continuing to sell.
- Use December to prepare and launch your property for sale. Rightmove’s website traffic is high over the Christmas holidays and most people tend to wait until after January to sell, so by getting your property online ahead of the Christmas break, you’ll have more eyes on your property and less competition.
Admittedly, the Surrey property market probably isn’t as fun or as exotic as Australia. But if selling a property happens to be your reality right now, then it’s better to get it right first time.
If you’re looking for a Cobham estate agent, Claygate estate agent or Hinchley Wood estate agent that offers realistic, honest and independent property advice, contact your local Grosvenor office.