Managing expectations of vendors

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Managing expectations of vendors

This week, I’d like to share with you an often experienced situation in Estate Agency. Of course it’s part of our job, probably one of the most important parts too but hopefully you’ll understand where I’m coming from as I set the scene….

We’ve all been there. All of us Estate Agents anyway. Let me start by saying that every instruction we are trusted with we are extremely appreciative of. After all, without property to sell, we can’t do our job. More often than not, the process of selling property is relatively straightforward but sometimes we’re instructed to market a property by a vendor with unrealistic expectations of value. Let’s be honest, it happens.

In this specific case, and for the purposes of this piece, (to make matters worse) the property in question is tatty and dated but as far as the vendor is concerned the property is in mint condition!

This is going to be tough. It’s going to be crucial that we use buyer feedback to introduce an element of realism to the client’s expectations. But at the same time the last thing we want to do is create unnecessary conflict. To be fair, we want to help our client sell their home. Often, their biggest asset.

During the sales process we hope that the consistent feedback on the property’s price and condition will help the penny to drop but unfortunately it’s falling on deaf ears. The vendor could suspect the Agent of over-egging the negative feedback just to get the price down because (in their minds) we just want “an easy sale”. Not in our playbook I’m afraid. And after all, that isn’t the right way to do this job is it?

Then, out of the blue, we get an offer. What a magnificent stroke of luck – we have found the proverbial needle in a haystack; a buyer who really does like the property.  But the buyer knows it’s going to need some work and he also knows that the price is overly optimistic. The buyer makes an offer –  but frustratingly, the vendor immediately dismisses it as far too low. We manage to get the buyer up, momentum is building, but he maxes out below the asking price. That’s going to be pretty much the price you originally recommended. The old adage, your first offer is often always your best offer.

So despite best efforts, we just aren’t able to help the seller see this a fantastic offer.

The vendor is now in real danger of letting the buyer slip through the net. And we know that finding another buyer is going to be even tougher. The pool of purchasers is pretty shallow. But at the same time, perhaps the agency agreement is gradually ticking down and viewings have pretty much dried up. It’s squeaky bum time. And we’re so keen to get the right deal for our client. Trouble is, ‘we’re not in a rush to sell Tim…’ So what next?

We have to try and convert viewings/interest into tangible offers. The thing is, we know why this is challenging. But sometimes, the client won’t accept the rationale despite often knowing why too. We already know how this is going to play out – our client is going to place the property with another agent. Aargh! Please don’t for heaven’s sake! Personally, I see this as a failure on my part. A failure because despite best efforts, I’ve not been able to do the best for my client. And I really don’t like losing instructions!

Predictably, now armed with real experience and a little encouragement from the new agent, the vendor will re-launch the property at the price originally recommended and the other agent will sell it, meaning, the one that’s tried very hard to get his/her client the very best deal ends up with zero reward for the advice, honesty and effort that you put into the process.

This does happen. We try our hardest to prevent it and thankfully it’s not commonplace but the moral of the story is in line with all of my previous commentary about the client/agent relationship; take advice. The agent knows the market. They know the values of property. It’s what they do. And if you do, in all probability, you’ll get the best result. For more advice or if you have any specialist questions about any part of the selling process, I’d be pleased to chat to you – please give me a call on (01624) 645555 or email me at

Tim Groves
Black Grace Cowley

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