The Estate Agent’s Estate Agent
When Phiddy Robertson from our Inverness Estate Agency team decided to sell her home there was only one woman for the job: herself! Here she writes about what she has learned from being her own estate agent.
If the physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient, what do they call an estate agent who sells their own house? Perhaps it’s best not to speculate, but that is the position I find myself in.
My husband and I bought Fannyfield privately through CKD Galbraith 16 years ago, years before I worked for the company. After much consternation as to whether we should change the name, we held our nerve and grew to adore our home in its spectacular setting. Our extended families settled happily in to our extended house: converted from a terrace of farm workers’ cottages while the three staircases allowed our B&B guests to retire in peace and quiet while allowing us plenty of space for normal family life. Sixteen years on and, bar one, our children have left home, the B&B guests have gone, the garden is established and beautiful, and it is time to move on to a smaller house with less land.
A lot of people ask if I find it strange or difficult selling my own house and the honest answer to that is no. We didn’t have to have a beauty parade of estate agents; I could write my own particulars without recourse to a dictaphone; I know that great photos can say more than a long description and a sensitive asking price can mean the difference between attracting genuine buyers and languishing on the market. Funnily enough, selling my own house gives comfort to my clients who like to use the market performance of my property to compare with their own and feel reassured that I too may be experiencing similar emotions and concerns. Selling a property – as many people come to appreciate – is never without its challenges and stresses. Being your own agent certainly does not exempt you from these.
When I tell people I am selling my own home I imagine that the first thing they think of is me conducting a viewing, pointing out the features to the prospective buyers in the ideal order and knowing exactly the right thing to say to at choice moments. In reality, that job has fallen to my (non-estate agent) husband!
Generally speaking though I am less hands on than I would normally be with the sale, other than writing the particulars I’ve detached myself from it. I’d rather step back and not be too involved.
In the office we do treat it like any other property, even if I am slightly unusual as a client in that everyone trying to sell wants to push their properties forward and get as much publicity as they can (which is of course the correct thing to do! ) while I am at times a bit self-conscious about the whole thing. However, if my colleagues genuinely think that based on the merits of the property itself we should put it forward to be considered in whichever newspaper or magazine have made an enquiry then I will go along with it.
On a more serious legal note, we do make it quite clear to interested parties at every stage of the marketing process that “the vendor is an employee of CKD Galbraith.” This is stated in the brochure, all viewers are notified and any negotiations or discussions on price are dealt with not by me but by my colleague John Bound, Head of Residential Sales in our Inverness office.
I can honestly say that it never occurred to be to give my home to anyone else to sell, nor did I ever really consider bringing someone else on board as a “joint agent.” I know that my team are very good at their jobs and I didn’t think anyone else would bring anything to the party we didn’t already. Perhaps also because I found the house through CKD Galbraith I knew it would be the kind of property we would do a good job with.
Every time I go and look at a house through my job I move into it in my head. That’s something I’ve always done and the reason I really enjoy my job is because I am genuinely interested in homes and property. Now that moving house is something that doesn’t only happen to other people this has changed things slightly. I still mentally move in but I now have to be practical and tell myself I couldn’t actually live there for various reasons so it’s not just a fantasy any more.
The million dollar question is has Fannyfield been sold? Not yet, but it will. Trust me, I’m an estate agent.