You are keen to move house, but terrified of sales falling through. According to the National Association of Estate Agents, the average time a property takes to sell has risen by 110 per cent over the past year to approximately 13 weeks, as the number of deals falling through before exchange has increased by 70 per cent.
London-based property entrepreneurs Tim Jackson and Eli Robinson reckon they have the answer. They have launched Property Stress Relief, an innovative service that aims to offer sellers a quicker and stress-free sale. The company takes over the entire sale process and manages everything from finding the right agent and advising on more effective marketing to negotiating fees and instructing solicitors. “We identified a gap in the residential property market as the divide between the numbers of buyers and sellers continues to widen,” says Mr Robinson.
Previously managers for two of Foxtons’ most profitable branches, Messrs Jackson and Robinson have an impressive track record and the expertise to identify why properties are not selling and what agents and sellers should do to speed up the process. They charge a fee of one per cent of the final sale but their service is free if the property does not sell. Clients sign up for a set eight-week period, after which time they can extend or walk away.
Among current clients, Property Stress Relief is acting for Dr Bruno Amendola of 179 Brondesbury Park, NW2. Mr Amendola is trying to sell two flats he owns in this building. One is on the first-floor and has three bedrooms. The other is on the top floor and has one bedroom. When Property Stress Relief met him, they were listed with six different estate agencies and had been on the market for months with no offers.
Mr Amendola is a GP and does not have the time to manage his sale as well as run a busy practice. “The first thing Eli and Tim did was rationalise the whole selling process for me,” he says. “This included staging the properties to look more attractive and simplifying the viewing arrangements for the estate agents. They showed me comparables of recent sales in my road and we lowered the prices accordingly to drum up some interest. They visited all the agents who were instructed to get their views on the property and on their advice, I dis-instructed two of them who had not shown the property for weeks. The advice they have given me is all sensible and research-based and frankly what my agents should have been telling me from day one. However, if they help me achieve a sale, then their fee is well worth it!”
Mr Jackson says: “Selling a property is one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. At the moment estate agents are flooded with stock they can’t sell and every property is getting lost in a black hole of oversupply — and this may only be the tip of the iceberg. Agents are not advising people to drop their price because they’re scared clients will take their properties away.”
“We were meeting an enormous amount of sellers who didn’t have the time or the confidence to manage their estate agents while balancing demanding jobs and busy family lives. Sellers are also aware that with each passing week that they don’t hear from their agents, their property could be falling in value.”
Before a property goes on the market, Property Stress Relief advises clients on what could be done to improve the property’s price tag, from basic repairs to improved design. They interview prospective agents and manage them for the client, negotiating fees where possible and guiding the process through to completion.
“In cases where a property has been on the market for ages, we shake things up a bit,” says Mr Jackson. “We look into how the property has been marketed, whether new photographs need to be taken, for example, or if the house is featured prominently enough on prime websites and local magazines. We phone agents daily, push for maximum viewings and provide weekly feedback to clients.
“There’s a lot of common sense in everything we do, but it is based on solid experience and a track record of selling more than 1,500 properties in four years. We’ve dealt with every possible nightmare transaction, we know virtually every road in North and North-West London and we have close relationships with all the best solicitors, surveyors and agents.