Estate Agent Acting for the Seller or Buyer in Property Market

Advising Sellers on the Property Price or Rent for Marketing Purposes

You should provide realistic and justifiable advice in regard to the likely selling price or rent based on your best professional judgment. Any figure you provide must be given in good faith and must reflect current market conditions, when advising on rent you should take into account the likely lease terms that would be acceptable to the market.

You must be able to support any figure you provide with comparables of similar property in similar situations. This advice is not a formal valuation of the property. It is important that you make clear to the seller that you are providing an estimate of anticipated market price or rent and not a valuation. If required by the client, you may instruct a formal valuation from Estate Surveyors and Value’s on your client’s behalf. You should only provide advice on an appropriate price or rent if you have a thorough knowledge of the market.

View — Ibeju Lekki Properties

Providing Market Advice to Seller
Before you provide advice on the likely selling price or rent you will need to do the following: (l) inspect the whole property inside and out (2) where measurements are taken you should take all reasonable steps to ensure that these are accurate using the basis of measurement generally adopted in the markets in which the property will be offered. Sales or leasing details should indicate the method of measurement used (e.g. net useable area; gross external area; net lettable area) (3) review the general condition of the property (although you are not undertaking a condition survey it is important to gauge the general condition) (4) ask the client questions to establish that they are the legal owner and any relevant issues that may impact on the marketing strategy you adopt.
When advising on a suitable asking price or rent for a property you should obtain comparable data, details of sales or lettings of other similar properties in the area. You must also take account of the current market and whether prices or rents have been falling or rising since the comparable sale or letting and by how much in order to be able to adjust the comparable data you have collected accordingly. You should also try to establish as many facts about the comparable transactions as possible in order to ensure that it was an open market agreement and not one that was influenced by any special factors, for example, a special purchaser (one with a personal motivation to purchase that particular property), a seller needing to sell very quickly, issues about the condition of the property and any other factors that could have influenced the sale price. You should also take full account of any requirements of your professional body or legislation.

Reporting Your Advice to the Seller
You should always confirm your recommended selling price or rent to the seller in writing even if you have discussed this with them verbally. Where the property is to be leased this should include your recommended lease terms. The report shall be clear, fair and contain transparent information with a reference to the current market conditions. It should also identify the estimated period to complete the sale or lease.

Keeping records
You should keep full and detailed records of all of the evidence you used to reach your opinion of an appropriate price or rent. This should include all the comparative data you have used, the adjustments you made to this and the reasons for these adjustments and the sources of the data you have collected. A full report of your inspection of the property and the measurements you took must also be kept. Records should be kept for an appropriate period of time relating to limitation periods in your area of practice.

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Methods of Sale
There may be a number of different methods of sale that can be adopted for the sale of a property. You should undertake careful consideration of the most appropriate method and your recommendation to the seller should depend upon the circumstances of the property, the market and your client. You should obtain legal and/ or tax advice where appropriate.

Marketing Properties
You must not put any property on the market without your client’s permission and you should ensure that your client is the person with the legal right to dispose of an interest in the property.
You must agree an appropriate marketing strategy with your client and review this regularly with them. Your adopted marketing strategy must be property and country specific. You should explain clearly to your client the reasons for the strategy that you recommend.
You must ensure that any documentation that should be available when marketing a property has been obtained prior to commencement of marketing. You should take reasonable steps to ensure that all statements made about a property whether oral, pictorial or written are correct and not misleading. A member of staff who has personally inspected the property should draft sales or leasing particulars and/or enter relevant and accurate information in a suitable multiple listing system. You should disclose any material facts about the property that will clearly be of significance for potential buyers.
You should ensure that marketing particulars are checked. Before marketing, draft particulars should be sent to your client for approval and verification of accuracy. If, during the marketing process, the facts on which the particulars are based alter, then you should amend them accordingly. You should ensure that any previously interested parties and any potential buyer, inspecting or making an offer for the property after the date of the change, is given corrected and up-to-date marketing particulars and information.


Advertisement Signs and Boards at the Property
‘For sale’ or ‘to let ‘or similar signs and boards can be an excellent marketing tool for you as an estate agent.
Before erecting a sign or board you must obtain your client’s written permission to do so. You should advise the seller of the size and design and agree the location with the seller.
You should check with the relevant statutory authority to find out whether you will need a consent to erect a ‘For Sale‘ or ‘To Let‘ board and whether there are any local regulations which you will need to consider.

You should agree the approach to viewings with your client when agreeing your marketing strategy. Some clients may like to show potential customers around their property but others prefer you to do this by way of accompanied viewings. Accompanied viewings can be very useful in helping you to ‘qualify’ buyers by finding out details of their personal and financial circumstances. This will be useful when advising your client regarding offers received and may be easier to obtain than in a discussion over the telephone. If you are arranging a viewing of a property occupied by someone other than your client, you must agree the arrangements with the occupier beforehand, wherever possible. You should make sure that all the keys you have are coded and kept secure. You should maintain records of when you issue keys and to whom, and when they are returned. These records must be kept secure and separate from the actual keys and you should only give keys to people providing you with satisfactory identification. You must take care to ensure that after any visit you have made, the property is left secure or at least as secure as it was prior to the visit.
You should keep records of all viewings of a property. You should advise your client of the details of viewings and, in particular, feedback received, within a reasonable time. This would generally be within three working days of the viewing. Once you have followed up on all property viewings you should advise your client of reasons why potential customers did not make offers.

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Responding to Questions from Potential Buyers
When responding to questions from potential buyers you should ensure that you advise them of all relevant issues and do not make any material omissions from the information you provide. You should seek to ensure that only staff with personal knowledge of the property provides information beyond that stated on the written particulars.

Keeping Your Client Informed
You should keep your client informed of any changes whilst a property is on the market, and if you come across any significant information that might reasonably affect your client’s instructions; you must disclose that information promptly to your client.

Property Clearance
Real estate agents, who arrange for property clearance, should have regard to any relevant environmental requirements such as those relating to the disposal or control of waste.

Agreeing the Sale or Lease for Seller

You must take reasonable steps to find out from the prospective buyer, his or her source and availability of the funds for buying or renting the property and other information that may affect his or her ability to buy or lease the property; and pass this information to your client. You should keep appropriate records of all offers you receive.
Communication with your client
You must advice your client of all offers received as soon as reasonably possible. This confirmation should be in writing. The details given should be sufficient to allow your client to make a fully informed judgment of all offers received (with your assistance) and each offer’s respective strengths and weakness. You should bear in mind the seller’s circumstances when providing them with information.

Communication with the buyers
You should confirm to the potential buyers that you have notified your client of their offer as soon as reasonably possible. This should be confirmation of the amount of the offer and any conditions attached. If others are made, you should advice the original potential buyer that an additional offer has been made without disclosing the amount or any other aspects of the offer to do so you should advice buyers who make offers that it is your practice to seek your client’s consent to provide details of offer to others buyers. If you disclose any offer to a prospective buyer then the offer must also be immediately disclosed to all prospective buyers with a current interest in negotiations for the property.

Avoiding Misrepresentation
You must not misrepresent the details or existence of any offer or the status of any potential buyer to your seller client. Any statement made by an estate agent in the course of marketing a property may, if it is false or misleading, result in legal liability for either the agent or the client, or both.

Managing Acceptance of Offers

You should keep your client informed of your negotiations and continuously seek their instructions and submit all amended and additional offers to them.

Binding contracts
The legal system for buying and leasing property should be followed. You should make sure that contracts are drawn up and agreed as appropriate, and the property taken off the market when required.

Accepting an Offer
When your client agrees to accept an offer and any related conditions you must record these details accurately and inform the buyer. This must be confirmed in writing to both parties. You should also advise the legal advisers of the details of the terms of the sale.

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Monitoring Progress
You should maintain regular contact with the buyer throughout the process. This progress should be regularly reported to your client.

Offering Additional Services
If the buyer applies for any additional services from you, you must promptly provide your client with an accurate written list of the services applied for. This must be given at all stages before contracts for the disposal of the interest in the property has been completed.

Estate Agent Acting For the Buyer
You should ensure that you solely represent the interests of the buyer in this situation.
Property Search
You should be mindful of the main reasons why buyers use property search agents. You should make sure that you use your local knowledge and networks to meet your client’s expectations.

Communication with your client
You should provide your client with regular updates of your progress in finding a property for them. This should include reports in reasonable detail delivered with reasonable frequency. When your client wishes you to make an offer on their behalf you must communicate this to the seller or their agent within a reasonable time. You should confirm any offer in writing to the seller and send a copy to your client. The offer must state any conditions that your client wishes to place on the offer. You must confirm any further offers in writing to the seller in the same way with a copy to your client. You should include in the offer evidence that you are acting on behalf of the buyer. You must obtain your client‘s consent before releasing any information regarding their personal or financial circumstances to the seller. You should only recommend that these details are provided to the seller if you feel that this will assist in successful negotiations.

Properties with Physical Problems
You must inform the client of any potential physical problems with a property without undue delay.

Dealing with Conflicts Of Interest
If you are acting for a number of buyers seeking similar properties and have disclosed this and received agreements to continue. You must take all necessary steps to ensure that you are always acting in the best interests of each of your clients and that your actions for one client will not prejudice the actions of or outcomes for the other.
You will need to ensure that you always take timely actions following requests from your clients and take these forward in accordance with the sequence of receipt of the requests.

Progressing Purchases
Once an offer has been accepted you should request that this is confirmed in writing to you and send a copy to your client. Assuming you have your client’s consent to do so, you should then confirm the details of your client and their legal advisers to the seller or their agent. You should then monitor progress, assist where possible and report information that is helpful in concluding the transaction.

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