Usually our blog is reserved for web design articles, however from time I feel there’s something else that needs discussing, and in this instance it’s the Bassets estate agent (www.bassets.co.uk).
I was considering selling my flat and buying a house, and had the difficult task of choosing an estate agent and solicitor. From what I could gather, the estate agent wanted a lot of money for doing not a lot of work, and it was hard to see which agent was best and why they varied in price so much. After all, all they’re going to do is sell my flat, right?
I decided to choose Bassets, not based on their community work or awards, but simply on the fact that I know the Managing Director David through business networking, we have built their website, and I was friendly with one of their managers, Rebecca. It all came down to trust, and I trusted them with my money far more than a national estate agent chain. I felt I’d be a value client rather than a number.
It all started when I asked for a (free) valuation, if I knew how much my flat was worth I could calculate when I could afford to move. Charlie came over on the Wednesday, they looked at my flat, and valued it for more than I thought it was worth. Within two days it was on the market and visible on Right Move, and just four working days later sold, with a cash buyer, for the full asking price. I was ecstatic, looks like I was ready to move.
Looking for a house was a nightmare; I looked at around thirty in a week and couldn’t find anything. A house came up that I dismissed originally, and that was being sold by Bassets. Reluctantly I walked in, but loved the place, my wife was in tears, I made an offer that day and it was accepted the next.
So now, in just two weeks, I’d sold my flat and had an offer on a house. Both were being managed by Bassets, who at this stage, apart from being prompt, hadn’t actually done a lot more than any other agent would have. But this was about to change…
It’s worth mentioning now that this is where my good luck ended, the house I was buying was a new build from a developer and there were no end of issues. The seller’s solicitor, from what I could gather, was absolutely awful, and mine didn’t seem much better.
The first issue was with the mortgage (with Santander who I could thoroughly recommend) where they valued the house far less than my accepted offer. I still believe it’s worth what I offered, so did the seller, and so did Bassets, but I, or any other buyer, couldn’t proceed without a mortgage. Tough negotiations with the developer meant that the purchase almost fell through, but Matthew and Charlie from Bassets pulled out all of the stops to ensure that we renegotiated a price and carried on with the purchase. In all honesty Bassets were ‘getting it’ from both sides and without them it would have definitely fallen through.
The next issue was the seller’s solicitor. They were bad, really bad, and it was taking me months to get essential documents such as the title plans and the NHBC certificate; in fact it wasn’t until several months later, after the driveway was excavated and mains gas installed, was the property actually deemed complete. With my solicitor sending cryptic messages and conflicting updates it was hard to tell why the project was stalling. It got to the point where I had had enough, and the seller felt the same. We both thought the other was being difficult, and the seller was putting a lot of pressure on Bassets to resolve the situation. Once again, this lack of communication between solicitors almost resulted in the purchase falling through, and it was only Bassets that kept it together. I was in constant contact with them, as was the seller, and it got to the point where Matthew, and then Rebecca were constantly speaking to the solicitors and acting as a go-between to ensure that things got done.
It’s hard to put in writing how bad things had become, I was personally sourcing planning applications, s106 documents, tree protection orders and completion certificates as the two solicitors seemed unable or unwilling to do so. If I was putting that much effort in, as a buyer, it may give some indication of what Bassets were doing behind the scenes.
Bassets glued the whole thing together, and without them it wouldn’t have worked. They also liaised directly with the builder and ensured that my snag list and one that they had completed, was complete.
Another indication of how hard Bassets (especially Rebecca) pushed to keep it all together is the solicitors both telling them to step down and let them get on with it. All well and good in principal, but I can honestly say that without Bassets as the estate agents doing this pushying, there would have been no chain and we would have all lost out.
Although I wouldn’t want to name names, it’s worth noting some of the other estate agents tactics had been truly awful in their ethics; with one telling me as a buyer to offer £25,000 under the asking price as the seller (their client) needed it gone for personal reasons in a few days, and others telling me I’d never find what I want in this market and trying to push me in to buying a house that I didn’t want. Truly shocking tactics by some, but Bassets were always honest and upfront, and importantly looked after both their sellers and their buyers.
Bassets went over and above what I had expected, their job didn’t end when offers were accepted and the house was ‘sold’, from what I can gather that’s where it started.
A massive thanks to Bassets, I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them to anyone, and will use them next time.
Well done to David Clayton for building such a team and I can honestly say that their awards are justified.