Selling FAQs

I've had several very different valuations. How do I know which is the right one?

In each case ask for evidence of how the valuation has been arrived at. There is more science than you might imagine to valuing a property. But rather than try to be thorough and realistic, some agents will deliberately overvalue in order to get your business. Then, after months of no offers, they'll encourage you to drop the price. Other agents may go to the other extreme, undervaluing in order to get you a quick sale - and them a quick commission.

At Jonathan Swire, once we have all the relevant facts and have done our customary highly detailed research, we'll show you exactly how we arrive at our valuation so that you can check the evidence for yourself. To prove that we get it right, we'll happily stand by our record of selling homes quickly, successfully and close to our original valuation.

How long does it take to get a property on to the market?

Once we have all the details we need - photographs, measurements, an agreed description and of course an agreed valuation - we can usually upload your property to our own and other popular property search websites within one working day.

If a printed brochure is also required (as distinct from pages printed from the internet), this will take longer - on average around a week, to allow time for approval of content by the client.

Is there anything different about the Jonathan Swire agency contract?

All estate agents are legally bound to comply with the Estate Agency Act 1991, but this does allow scope for estate agents to compete by offering different terms. At Jonathan Swire we think we offer terms that give our sellers the best deal in the region, while keeping us in business. Our view is that the contract should be all about what we do for you, not the other way round. Our contracts are written in plain English, but we'll talk you through everything in as much detail as you need.

A house I like is being sold by another agent, who says I don't stand much chance unless I let them sell my house too. Is it wise to agree to this?

No - and it may well be illegal under The Estate Agents (Undesirable Practices) Order 1991. This makes it unlawful to discriminate against a buyer who is not 'accepting services' from the selling agent. If you find yourself being pressured to let an agent sell your house in return for favourable treatment when buying one of that agent's listed properties, run a mile. If they're prepared to mislead you on that, they may well mislead you on other things too.

I'm being contacted by other agents who say they've got buyers for my house. Do I give them a try?

This is quite a common tactic among less reputable agents. The likelihood is that they haven't got buyers for your property at all and are just trying to poach clients. (Think about it: if you're interested in a property for sale with an agent, why would you approach another agent about it?)

And if the approach is by phone or knock on the door, it's illegal. Approaches by one agent to the clients of another must be by signed letter.

Are For Sale boards compulsory?

Not at all. They raise local awareness that a property is for sale and can generate 'spur of the moment' interest in a property, so they are recommended. But there are often valid reasons why a For Sale board isn't a good idea, so it's entirely your choice.

If I accept an offer, does my house stay on the market?

Normally yes, in case the sale doesn't go through. Its status will however change to 'under offer' or 'sold subject to contract'. Further viewings will not normally be allowed, but we continue to keep contact details of anyone who still shows an interest in the property.

I've agreed a price but now my buyer wants to reduce it following a survey report. Is this normal?

It's not unusual but you'll need advice on whether it is reasonable. Most Jonathan Swire valuations take into account work that obviously needs doing - for example, the cost of renovating an older property. Unless the surveyor's report finds some unforeseen problem not factored into the valuation, it may be better to call the buyer's bluff and decline to renegotiate. But this isn't a decision you need take on your own - we'll advise and support you in all dealings with the buyer.

What if the offer I want to accept is from a buyer who hasn't yet sold their own property?

Generally, it's advisable not to accept an offer until it is what is termed 'proceedable' - in other words, until the buyer has that amount of money to hand over, or is very close to being in that position. Otherwise an offer is just talk. And in the time it takes for the buyer to sell, he or she may decide that they don't want your house after all. So getting offers is good, but getting the offer price paid in full is what matters!

Is my buyer serious? Everything seems to be taking an age to happen.

After an offer has been accepted, it's part of our job to keep everyone on their toes. The buyer must show us proof that finance is actively being sought, via a mortgage application or other funding source, and that a solicitor has been instructed to handle the conveyancing. Surveys and searches must be carried out within a reasonable time.

If we have any concerns about a buyer's intentions, or if we think progress is too slow, we'll alert you and step in immediately to sort out any problems.

Unfortunately, buyers can lawfully change their minds at any time up to exchange of contracts and there is nothing we can do to prevent that, but by being constantly vigilant we can often limit the time lost to a frustrated sale.

Any further questions?

We're here to help you, so please get in touch, call us on one of the numbers below or email