Frequently Asked Questions

How can you afford to charge less than typical estate agents and still provide a quality service?

Essentially, we have embraced modern technology and in doing so we have cut down on unnecessary overheads and can pass on these savings to our clients.

Using our generations of experience and expertise, we know what matters when a property is marketed, so by focusing on only what really matters, we can provide our clients with a quality product for a reasonable fee.

Traditionally, consumers visited travel agents to collect brochures and book holidays, the majority now book flights and accommodation online. The switch to online has occurred in many types of retail business including estate agency, and ultimately saves money for consumers.

Did you know that 95% of home buyers now start their search online?

Discovering new listings, viewing photographs, finding property specifications and making contact with today's estate agent is far more conveniently achieved online and by telephone, than through the laborious task of visiting estate agent's offices.

The power to buy or sell is literally at your fingertips!

Is your website mobile friendly?

PropertyPal.com, one of the leading property websites in Northern Ireland, has reported that 81% of all online property searches are now from mobile phones and portable devices. Our website is fully mobile and tablet friendly, and therefore easy to use on the move, and on any internet enabled device.

WHAT DO YOUR SALES PACKAGE CONSIST OF?

All sales packages include the following:

  • We capture wide angle photographs of a professional standard and gather all the information needed to advertise.
  • We will arrange for a 'For Sale' sign to be posted outside your property (Geographical restrictions apply).
  • We will create the advertising online, on our website, on PropertyPal.com, PropertyNews.com and our social media pages.
  • We answer all property enquiries, arrange viewings and handle sales negotiations.

Our most advanced packages also include innovative new services such as narrated video presentation, a 2D floor plan of the interior, and an Energy Performance Certificate!

WHAT IS AN ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATE (EPC)?

An Energy Performance Certificate is required by law to be advertised alongside your property. We include a complimentary EPC with our Silver & Gold marketing packages.

COMMISSION VERSUS FIXED FEE MARKETING

Unlike many estate agents, we do not work on a traditional commission basis where we are paid an inflated fee when you sell your home. Our fresh approach offers you the choice of three very competitive, money saving packages to suit your requirements.

Are you really better off paying a marketing fee upfront with no inflated final commission upon sale?

Of course. On a traditional commission basis, you could pay 1% or more, plus extras, plus 20% VAT when the sale completes, so on a £200,000 home a traditional estate agent commission could cost £2,400 plus. The savings are obvious, our marketing packages starting from £399 offer a much better deal.

If you are a serious vendor and genuinely want to sell your property, you have much to save by opting for one of our VAT free marketing packages.

WHAT ASKING PRICE WILL I PUT ON MY PROPERTY?

Theoretically, you could advertise your home at any asking price you choose, however it is important to look around for comparable properties and find out how much these have actually been sold for, or if there are offers on homes still for sale. This will help you to predict the actual value of your home. An interested buyer will also look at your local market, as will any mortgage surveyor, so in order to succeed in selling you must look at your property from a buyer's point of view, and price accordingly.

If you price too far over the market value, you may attract little or no interest, and if you price at under the market value, you are taking a risk that your property may not attract the necessary bids to achieve the optimum selling price you expected. The bids you may attract will also be impacted by local market oversupply with too many similar properties on sale already, or undersupply if there is a shortage of your type of property on sale; and also the season in which you choose to market your property, and on wider economic factors.

If you agree to sell your property to a buyer who is planning to raise a mortgage, the lender's surveyor will need to find evidence that the selling price is consistent with other sales properties in the area for their valuation. If they cannot find a consistency, the value may be marked down.

We always advise that it is important to strike a balance at the start and choose to market your home at a price in the 'middle ground', as this approach is most likely to both attract the necessary interest, and the price you need to achieve within a reasonable time-scale.

If you find that after a realistic period of time your property is not attracting sufficient interest, we strongly recommend that you review the asking price sooner rather than later as you will quickly lose impetuous.

DO YOU HAVE PEOPLE LOOKING FOR PROPERTY IN MY AREA?

As part of a wider network of estate agents throughout the region, we are interlinked with the major property portals, PropertyPal.com and PropertyNews.com.

These portals allow property searchers to set up instant alerts for listings of particular properties in chosen areas as soon as any agent advertises them 'For Sale'.

The market has changed a lot since local agents retained a captive audience of buyers, or could specialise in certain types of residential property. If an agent tells you that 'they have local buyers waiting on their books', bear in mind that those very same local buyers will also be searching PropertyPal.com and PropertyNews.com as well. This is where all newly listed properties are advertised by leading agents in Northern Ireland, including Watson Property.

Think about it.

No smart home buyer will ignore mainstream property advertising because they are 'on the books' of a few selected agents…

HOW DO POTENTIAL BUYERS MAKE ENQUIRIES WITH WATSON PROPERTY?

We open longer hours to cope with more sales enquiries. Lines open every evening Monday to Thursday, we don't close for lunch, and we open regular hours at weekends.

If we cannot answer calls when lines are busy, or calls are received after hours, it is always possible to leave a voicemail and arrange a call-back, so in theory our business is never fully closed.

Coupled with this, our website and the portals we advertise on, all allow buyers the facility to make an online property enquiry at any time of the day or night.

MY HOME IS VERY VALUABLE, DO I NEED A HIGH PROFILE & EXPENSIVE AGENT TO FIND A BUYER?

In short, no. All properties change hands in the same way, regardless of value and there is absolutely no explicable advantage in terms of marketing or the selling price you may achieve. In fact the more valuable your home is, the more you stand to lose in agent fees! Our high quality advertising is featured alongside the advertising placed by the leading agents, and we can further enhance our marketing to add video, drone photography, premium listing online and in the press, to suit your needs and your pocket.

If your home is valued at £250,000 or £2,500,000, if your property is in Newry or Coleraine, if your property is a one bedroom apartment or a five bedroom detached villa, we will list it in the relevant sections of PropertyPal.com and PropertyNews.com which is where 95% of home buyers begin their search for a property. The highest profile agents use the same advertising platforms as we do, but they will charge you a lot more.

Any savvy purchaser comes forearmed with an idea of the property they wish to buy, and a budget for what they are prepared to spend; the nature or geographical location of the selling agent is of no interest to them.

WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES OF USING AN AGENT WHO DOMINATES IN MY AREA?

The disadvantages of giving your property to an estate agent who monopolises a local market should be obvious. Entering into an potential micro market is not to your advantage if you wish to achieve the very best selling price for your home.

We work to open up the market to all, and push the boundaries of what is possible, and thereby achieve more for our clients…

HOW DO WE VET POTENTIAL BUYERS?

We exercise a strict policy of transparency. We ask that all persons placing offers on a property provide plausible evidence that they can afford to proceed with the purchase. If a potential buyer has not taken financial advice, we will arrange that this happens before moving forward.

HOW ARE PROPERTY VIEWINGS ARRANGED?

The internet never closes, 24 hours a day home buyers are surfing the net and finding potential new homes. The internet is by far the most powerful advertising tool when selling your home, and with 95% of buyers starting the search for property online, this is very much the mainstream means of researching the sales market and taking the first step towards making a purchase.

If you are hosting the viewings yourself, we will set up a viewing appointment with both sides, and if we are carrying out the viewings for you, we will arrange to show potential buyers through the property within agreed time slots. We can also arrange and advertise open viewings if requested. Ultimately potential buyers need to view and touch a property before they commit. We are easily contactable 7 days a week via phone, email or web form message to arrange a viewing or place an offer.

WHICH PROPERTY WEBSITES DO YOU ADVERTISE ON?

We advertise on PropertyPal.com and PropertyNews.com. These are the two recognised property portals for sales and rental properties, and both are used by all the leading agents in Northern Ireland, including Watson Property.

These websites act as 'virtual shop windows' to the whole marketplace and for all agents, replacing any requirement for buyers to visit individual agents.

We also share our new listings on our popular social media pages.

DO YOU PROVIDE BROCHURES?

We are an environmentally friendly estate agency and are doing our bit for the environment. All brochures are downloadable in high quality from our website and easily saved on your phone, PC or tablet, with no harm done to the planet!

I HAVE LISTED MY PROPERTY FOR SALE, HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO SELL MY HOME?

We will undertake to market your property for a full 12 months, giving you more than enough time to sell. Rest assured you are under no time pressure from us!

HOW SOON WILL I RECEIVE AN OFFER ONCE MY PROPERTY IS LISTED FOR SALE?

This depends on the demand and on the price. If there is sufficient demand, and the price is attractive, you can expect to receive an acceptable offer in the first phase of marketing.

We recommend that you look closely at the local market, how quickly are nearby properties selling, how do the properties differ from your home? This should give you a clear forecast on what to expect when you market your property. If you are not receiving offers, we recommend you review the asking price without delay.

WHEN IS YOUR FEE PAYABLE?

Our marketing packages are payable either upon listing or you can defer payment until the sale has completed, or for up to six months. T's & C's apply.

DO YOU HAVE LOCAL KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE?

Yes, you could say so. The Watson Family have traded as estate agents for almost 13 decades in the Greater Belfast area, and have also successfully negotiated sales in other parts of the province.

There are few other agents with a history as long as ours. We have witnessed many changes over the generations, and have been quick to adapt our services to suit our clients and the times we live in.

DO YOU MONITOR THE SALE AFTER AN OFFER HAS BEEN ACCEPTED?

As part of our Silver and Gold packages, an experienced and dedicated agent will personally Fast Track the progress of your sale from the day it is agreed, through to completion.

Your sale is in very safe hands!

WHERE DO WE SELL PROPERTY?

Our Bronze and Silver sales marketing packages are available anywhere in Northern Ireland. Our Gold package, which includes agent accompanied viewings, is currently only available in the Greater Belfast area.

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS DURING THE SALES PROCESS?

We will arrange to collate information and take photographs in order to market your property. At this time we will advise how to present your property, but the rules are simple. The property must be cleared of unnecessary clutter for photographs and remain presentable whilst your home is on the market.

Properties fall into three broad categories:

  • Fully refurbished or new build
  • Requiring refurbishment
  • Part improved

Obviously, as the proverb goes, there are 'horses for courses', in other words the 'fully refurbished or new build' is best suited to the cost conscious first time buyer, and the 'requiring refurbishment' property is best suited to an experienced cash rich buyer.

Once your property is advertised, it's a matter of awaiting interest from the buying public.

When you have received an offer from a viable buyer, you can choose to accept the offer subject to contract.

At this point the conveyancing process will commence, you must appoint a solicitor, and your solicitor is duty bound to interact with the purchaser's solicitor from thereon until the sale completes.

Providing there are no red flags raised following a property survey, you are all clear to complete the conveyancing process with your solicitor who will agree a completion date for you with the buyer's solicitor.

If any red flags are raised as a result of survey, you and your prospective purchaser will probably need to investigate, by means of further surveys by carried out by specialists. Unresolved issues may result in the renegotiation of the agreed selling price, or you may need to undertake repairs yourself.

Occasionally, issues which cannot be overcome in negotiations may result in the unfortunate need to remarket your property.

Once the sale is complete, you will handover keys on the same day, and that's it. Sale completed.

The conveyancing process, from sale agreed to sale completed usually takes two to three months on average.

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS ON PRESENTATION?

If you plan to sell your property, clever presentation will help you to find the right client and achieve the best price. Our seven lucky tips for presenting your property to the public should be applied even before the photographs are taken.

  1. Cleaning. Thorough cleaning will create a great first impression every time,and this extends to the outside also.
  2. Repairs. Carry out repairs for minor jobs, replace damaged flooring, fix cupboard doors, guttering etc. Your viewers will see neglected maintenance everywhere, even if they are relatively minor repairs, and this will discolour their view of the whole property.
  3. Kerb appeal. In particular, the entrance to your property should be smart and clutter free. make use of what you have, a nicely planted pot and freshly painted door will look great. Excellent first impressions can work wonders!
  4. Neutralise. Your tastes may not suit your buyer, viewers will find it more difficult to identify with your home if you have loud colours or have made bold interior design 'statements'. If you choose to redecorate before presenting to the market, choose neutral earthy colours that everyone will feel comfortable with.
  5. De-clutter. Clutter makes your home look smaller to any viewers, and will not look appealing in photos. Show off the whole of your space, keep clutter out of sight!
  6. Ambience. Tobacco smoke, pet and cooking smells, damp and cold will create a strong impression on your viewer and probably an adverse one. Careful ambient lighting, some heating, making the most of natural light, and good ventilation will create a welcoming ambience for viewers.
  7. Organisation. The viewer should easily recognise each room as defined for the purpose intended. Gym equipment in the dining room, storage boxes in the bedroom and computer tables in the lounge will give the impression of inadequate space.

Remember, when you home is on the market, it must be as good as an enticing shop front, a good restaurant, or a welcoming hotel. The image you project to viewers, even the most subtle details, will make all the difference to whether or not they 'buy in' to what you are offering.

ANY FURTHER QUESTIONS?

If we haven't answered all of your queries, we would be delighted to help, so please don't hesitate to ask.

Telephone 028 9050 2845

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