Distressed sales: Choose the right agent

Tough economic conditions are pushing consumers with large debt loads to the wall but quick action to deal with mounting debts can save substantial sums of money and even prevent sequestration.

Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group, says homeowners who cannot service their home loans are advised to be proactive and to try to manage the process of getting out of debt rather than to stick their heads in the sand and hope that problems will resolve themselves.

"The first step should be to contact the lending institution to arrange for alternative repayment programmes, such as extending the duration of the bond, say from 20 years to 30 years. Although it will add to the total amount of interest, it will lower the monthly repayments.

"If this is not feasible and you must sell your property, it is - once again - a better plan to manage the process instead of waiting for a bank to sell it on auction. However, you should not try to save money by selecting the agent who charges the lowest commission fees."

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he says sellers should keep in mind that you mostly get what you pay for and that an agent who stands to earn a normal commission is likely to work much harder at selling your property than an agent who stands to earn a discounted commission.

"In distressed circumstances, its is imperative to sell as soon as possible at a realistic price, for the simple reason that debts keep mounting the longer it takes to sell the property.

"And experienced and professional agents will have extensive backup and access to referral systems to help achieve a quicker sale. It is better to pay for professional services and sell quickly than to save commission on a house that may languish in the market for several months while your debts keep growing."


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