Choosing a Leading Local Estate Agent

Ashcox&Stone Swindon Estate Agent
Great customer service, will do anything to ensure everything runs smoothly from start to finish. K Lindley

Reliable and easy to work with. Always gets results. A Lane


Ashcox & Stone customers can expect the best possible price, in a timescale to suit you. Our range of specialist property services are designed to make sure we can deliver on these promises.

Click Here to Request a FREE Market Appraisal

Our estate agency service includes:

  • Extensive exposure on the leading property websites – generating over 60 million visits every month
  • A database of proceedable purchasers
  • High quality property details
  • Professional Floor plans
  • Mortgage Service introduction
  • Home Conveyancing introduction
  • Highly trained staff
  • Energy Performance Certificates
  • Professional photographs
  • Premium Display on Rightmove
  • Access to our legal team and conveyancing
  • Access to financial advice and mortgage advisors

Our sales teams are friendly, approachable, confident, highly motivated and dedicated to achieving results for you.

Click here for a summary of the buying process.

Surveys & Valuations

Should I have a survey or valuation done?

You are about to make one of the most important financial decisions of your life. By obtaining a survey you can ensure you are in the know about your property and there are no surprises after you move in. A survey might appear as additional, unnecessary cost, but it is better to be aware of any matters that might need attention now, rather than discover problems that are time consuming and expensive to resolve, after you move in. It will also give you comfort that the price agreed represents market value.

I am applying for a mortgage – does my lender do a survey/valuation?

No. All the lender needs is a valuation of the property, so they are comfortable that they are not lending you more than the property is worth. Although you may be paying for it, this valuation is carried out for the benefit of the lender only. It is not a detailed inspection, and it will not necessarily alert you to faults or potential issues with the condition of the property, unless it affects the mortgageability. It is often possible to request a detailed survey to be carried out at the same time as the mortgage valuation. Find your local office and speak to one of our team for more information.

What types of survey are available?

Home Condition Report

This is a first level report that can be used for ‘conventional’ properties such as houses, flats or bungalows that are constructed from common building materials and in a reasonable condition. The report focuses purely on the condition of the property and provides:

  • ‘traffic light ratings’ that clearly show the different parts of the building, services, garage and outbuildings, and will show problems that require varying degrees of attention
  • a summary of the risks to the condition of the building
  • coverage of other matters including planning and building control issues and guarantees for your legal advisors

This report is provided on your behalf, rather than your lenders. Please be aware it does not provide either a valuation or insurance reinstatement figure.

Homebuyer’s Report

This report provides more extensive information than the condition report. It is suitable for ‘conventional’ properties such as houses, flats and bungalows that are constructed from common building materials and in a reasonable condition. It will provide all of the information included in the Home Condition Report as well as the following additions:

  • a ‘market valuation’ based on the surveyor’s professional opinion
  • a list of problems the surveyor considers may affect the value of the property
  • advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance
  • an insurance reinstatement figure
  • issues that need to be investigated further to prevent serious damage or dangerous conditions
  • legal issues that need to be addressed before conveyancing is completed
  • information on the location, local environment and, where available, information on the recorded energy efficiency

Building Survey

This is a much more detailed assessment of the property than the Homebuyer’s Report and is often recommended for much older properties, or those of unconventional construction or features (such as a thatched roof). The surveyor will seek to look at all parts that are easily accessible or visible, in order to assess the structure and condition of the property.

You should be warned that this type of report can be very detailed, and will aim to identify every possible defect. The contents of the report should therefore be discussed with your surveyor, and considered in the context of its age and market value – no property is perfect, and the price agreed may well already reflect its condition.

How do I obtain a survey/valuation?

It is often possible to request a detailed survey to be carried out at the same time as the mortgage valuation. Contact Ashcox & Stone to speak to one of our agency Negotiators for more information or complete the contact form on this page.

What are EPC Certificates and do I need one?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rates the energy efficiency of a property and its carbon emissions, and suggests ways to improve its energy efficiency.

Since October 2008, all homes sold or rented out require an EPC, and the energy ratings had to be displayed on any Property Particulars, however the regulations changed on 6th April 2012 to attach the front page of the EPC to any property particulars.

Click here for more detailed information about EPC certificates. Speak to us about arranging one for you by calling 01793 269000.

How to Negotiate Estate Agent Fees

Estate agent fees can pile up quickly, but a little negotiation can actually bring them down quite considerably. While haggling is not generally traditional in Britain, when it comes to the selling fees, with a few pointers on how to negotiate, you would be surprised how much money you can actually save.

A key point to remember when negotiating is realising that estate agents need you a great deal more than you need them. You might actually be surprised how much money you can save on the estate agent fees if you try out some of the tips below.

Some Exceptions to Negotiating

Estate agency chains that are run corporately are more difficult to negotiate with than small agencies or estate agents who work independently. Corporately run, nation-wide agencies tend to enforce some strict policies surrounding commission levels and their employees have to adhere to these. These chains can get away with this rigidity because they know that there will always be buyers and sellers who will accept the terms of their contracts and the exorbitant charges without doing research into it.

This does not have to concern you, though. The small agencies and independent agents tend toward being of far higher quality, so it is advisable to use them whenever possible. There are a few things to remember when speaking with prospective estate agents when looking to sell your property.

What to Keep in Mind

You will often find that the dominant and most successful estate agents in a particular area may be more difficult to negotiate than those with a smaller market share. Remember, though, that just because an estate agent is established and has a good market share of the properties, this does not necessarily mean that they offer the best service.

Talk with a wide range of estate agents. Interview agents from both nation-wide chains and smaller businesses – and I use the word interview because that is just what you are doing. They will be working for you, though some will try to make you feel as if it is a privilege to have hired them! Don’t get stuck with someone that you are uncomfortable with because you feel obligated to them. You should feel comfortable with the agent that you choose.

Ask about every agent’s terms of business. They should be fair and have no small print that could trip you up and lead to additional costs further into the selling process. No matter how charismatic and charming an estate agent is, judge them by their terms of business.

Prepare Yourself for Negotiations

Keep well in mind that estate agents do not stay in business and make money by turning away clients. Though they might all want to charge a fee of 2 to 2.4% + Value Added Tax (VAT), you should be trying to get the agent as near 1% +Value Added Tax as you possibly can. For a piece of property that costs more than £500,000, you should be trying to get them down even more to 0.75% +VAT, if at all possible.

You can prepare yourself to negotiate quite a significant discount from any estate agent. Present your house well and be realistic when it comes to the selling price. If you make a strong effort to present your house well inside and out to potential buyers, the estate agents whom you speak with will want you all the more as a client. Make sure that you are being realistic when you set the selling price of your house. Sentimental value is often much more than true material value. A house that is priced at the going market value will tell agents right away that you are informed and intelligent when it comes to selling your home. Many estate agents will actually lower their fees just to bring you on as a client, if you show that your home will be an easy sale.

How to Perform Negotiations

Simply asking for a reduced fee does not work. It is necessary to be strong about your position and keep your nerve. Leave discussing estate agent fees near the end of the appointment for valuation. This gives the agent a chance to get his or her mind set on the property and the commission it will yield.

Remember to ask what the agent’s Sole Agency Contract fee is. When they give you a figure, appear shocked. Frown and shake your head in disapproval, saying that you cannot agree to that amount and don’t waver. Tell them that you could not consider choosing them as your agent unless they brought it down to a 1% fee, then watch and see how they react. Whether they give in right away or not, thank them for giving you their time and say goodbye. Allow him or her to know that you have more agents coming to perform valuations and that you will call to let them know if they are your choice. Do the very same thing with each agent that you meet. Keep notes on their fees and reactions, and what your impression of the agent is.

If you find an agent that you like and get along with, but they have not quoted the lowest fee, invite them around again. Inform him or her that you are simply torn between their services and the services of another agent who gave you a lower quote. Explain how you feel that you will receive great service from both of them, that the fee is the only deciding factor, and that you will have to give your business to the other agent if he or she cannot match the amount of the competing fee.

You will likely receive a list of reasons why they cannot or will not reduce the fee that they quoted. Most often, this is simply a bluff. The estate agent will have to make a better offer. After this, it is up to you to come to a decision whether the fee is low enough.

Final Word

Negotiation can save you a great deal of money, if you follow through. Stand your ground and persist when you begin to negotiate and you will succeed in lowering the fee.

(Article written by Andrew Potter – My Online Estate Agent)

Estate Agent Speak

Estate Agent speak – A dictionary

Benefits From: Contains a feature you may expect to be the bare minimum for the extraordinary price you are paying.
 Example: “Benefits from roof, floors, walls”.

Bijou: Would suit contortionist with growth hormone deficiency.

Borders: Loose term signifying that a property is sufficiently close to a desirable area to ensure the burglars who live next door to you will travel to work.
Example: “Fidel Castro’s house is situated in the highly desirable Bahamas Borders area”.

Characterful: A neat disguise for old and falling down.

Charming: Pokey

Compact: See Bijou, then divide by two.

Convenient For: A deceptive term with two possible definitions depending on the object of the phrase:
Eg “Convenient For A40” means your garden doubles as the hard shoulder
Whereas “Convenient For local amenities” means you can run to the shops. If you are Paula Radcliffe.

Four bedrooms: Three bedrooms and a cupboard.

In Need of Modernisation: In need of demolition.

Internal Viewing Recommended: Looks awful on the outside.

Mature Garden: The local AZ marks your garden as Terra Incognita.

Original Features: Water tank still contains cholera bacterium.

Priced to Sell: Please, oh go on please…

Studio: You can wash the dishes, watch the telly, and answer the front door without getting up from the toilet.

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