Say no to Property Instructions?

Tue 09 Sep 2014

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Blog Author
Paul Jager
MOL Product Manager - Property & Conveyancing

One of the most important tasks for a property agent is winning instructions. But are there situations where we should refuse an instruction offered to us?

During my years as a property agent, there weren’t many reasons for walking away from a client and their property. But those few situations that did occur were compelling enough for me to know I was right to do it. It wasn’t easy.

As property agents, we are all probably judged by the income we produce, from the properties we sell or let which ultimately come from the instructions we win. There is constant pressure therefore, to take on property, regardless of negative circumstances.

One of the most common reasons for ‘walking away’ is price. I’m sure many agents have experienced this.

Having carefully explained to a home owner how our suggested asking price has been calculated, we’re then told “£600,000 isn’t enough. I want it put on at £800,000”. 

Immediately our mind starts to race.

What do we do?

You could argue that having a ‘for sale’ board up, even if no buyer is found, is worth the effort spent putting the property on the market. How long though before the board is demonstrating your agency‘s inability to sell property? Is your reputation suffering worth it?

Even if an interested party is found, because they are unaccustomed to local property prices, a surveyor is unlikely to be so lenient if they are asked to ‘price’ it.

The sale will then falter. And really, do you want regular telephone calls from the property owner demanding reasons why their property hasn’t sold (and pushing your blood pressure ever higher)?

This is all a dilemma made worse by presently rising property prices (mainly in such areas as London). You can’t help thinking as an agent, that what seems an exorbitant asking price now may look reasonable in just a few month’ time.

Keep hold of the instruction long enough and who knows what you might be able to do.

What would you do in these situations?

If negotiation and discussion with the owner doesn’t work do you take this instruction on? Or, on the basis that they aren’t willing to listen to reason and fuelling their misinformed decision will only sap time, energy and expense that could be better spent on more saleable properties, walk away?

Over to you. Under what circumstances do you think it reasonable to refuse a property instruction?

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