Choose the Right Agent - Not a Rogue

23 June 2016Advice & Guides Topics: Agency, Hotels & Guest Houses, Leisure & Nightclubs, Pubs & Bars, Restaurants
Choose the Right Agent - Not a Rogue

Everything you need to know about choosing a good Agent

Given the reputation of Estate Agents you may not be surprised to hear that there are some Agents in the Licensed property market who don’t operate in an above board manner.

If you want to avoid the agents who are:-

  1. Incentivised by commission for listing your property as opposed to selling it and as a result provide unrealistic marketing advice, or...
  2. Driven by advance payments and a restrictive contract which is very difficult and/or expensive to get out of, or...
  3. Whose headline fees appear cheap but who can charge you with unlimited marketing costs running into thousands of pounds, or...
  4. The agent who is not experienced enough or involved in the market enough to achieve a good result in selling your business...

...then please read on.

If you are considering selling your hotel, restaurant, pub or leisure property, there are many factors you need to consider to avoid instructing the wrong agent.

I will now run through some of the factors, which in our experience, are most important to consider in appointing an agent. I will also point out a number of pitfalls you may unwittingly fall into if they are not considered properly.

Simplistically most vendors want to sell for the highest price achievable in the market within a realistic marketing period. This is not always the case as other factors could equally apply such as timescale, security and confidentiality. A good agent will take time to understand your requirements and preferences, before they confirm their marketing advice.

In choosing an agent to achieve your goal you need to consider who is going to provide the best service and who is likely to achieve the best results. In order to do this the following factors should be considered:

  1. Are the firm you are talking to specialists in the sector and well-known for selling the type of property you wish to sell?
  2. Does the Agent offer the right local or national coverage to maximise the exposure of your business to the most appropriate buyers. For example a community local operation in Wolverhampton will require different market exposure to a Coaching Inn located in the Cotswolds.
  3. Look at their website. Is it easy to use, comprehensive and provides the details you require? Would your property be lost in amongst a range of offices, workshops, hairdressers or chip shops? Could a buyer find your property?
  4. What volume of traffic does the website generate? It is worth noting that 90% of all Fleurets enquiries are obtained from our website and database. So having the highest search engine ranking is vital in ensuring your property is easily accessible to the highest number of potential purchasers.
  5. Look in the trade papers to see which companies are regularly asked by the press for market comment. This will reflect the Agents reputation and standing within the trade.
  6. Does the Agent have regional offices, rather than a central number connected into a call centre. I would suggest you phone an agent to discuss one of the properties they are selling and see what service you get.
  7. Recommendation is the best way to avoid the un-reputable agents, so speak to other vendors and operators in the market place to obtain a recommendation. If you do not know any speak to your Accountant, BDM or the BII.
  8. Look at the depth of the company, are they simply agents or are they also RICS Registered Valuers carrying out detailed valuations on a daily basis. This professionalism will become obvious when discussing your property.

Once, you have selected who you wish to meet and have set up a meeting, there are then a further list of questions you need to ask to avoid the many potential pitfalls.

  1. Is the agent asking you detailed questions regarding the property and accounts to fully understand your business and to provide detailed and logical advice.
  2. Has the agent explained and justified the advice being provided with evidence of market deals actually achieved?  Often overinflated and unjustified marketing advice is provided simply to get vendors onto contracts that will cost them money.  It has nothing to do with providing the right marketing advice to achieve a sale and satisfying the vendors requirements.  If properly explained, asking price recommendations are logical and should help vendors avoid the easy temptation to simply chase the asking price, overlooking the agents ability to sell, based on experience and market knowledge.
  3. Enquire whether the agent you are meeting will be your contact throughout the sale process. Too many agents are never seen again and the property is simply listed on a website and enquiries processed by inexperienced people who have never seen your property.
  4. Ask how long the agent has been involved in the licensed market, how much experience they have and what other types of property they deal with.
  5. You then need to discuss the nitty-gritty of the agents’ terms of engagement. This is critical to you and the agent. How long is the contract for? Is there a withdrawal fee? If so how much is it? How many weeks notice do you need to give to terminate the agreement? Is advertising charged in addition to the fee?
  6. Ask to see the sales literature including examples of details, copies of the marketing magazine, statistics as to what has sold and where buyers come from. Is there flexibility on the fee?

Buying a property is probably the single largest investment most of us will make. In the same way selling that property is of a similar importance, so take it seriously, do your research and make the right decision. Above all make your decision with your eyes open about what the Agents service really is and why they are giving the advice they are giving. Remember not to believe the hype – If it sounds too good to be true it almost certainly is.

Fleurets have been operating as agents since 1820 and we have been able to fine-tune our agency process over many years. We are a very professional organisation who are firmly committed to achieving the best results for our clients. We will always provide honest and professional advice based on what you need to hear not what you want to hear or what may suit our purposes.


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Simon Hall - MRICS

Simon Hall - MRICS


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