Deciding to sell your home is a big decision and you’ll want to choose wisely when it comes to hiring an estate agent to market your home. But with so many estate agents vying for your business, how do you go about choosing? In this article, I’m going to be covering some of the ways to make choosing an agent easier.
Don’t make the mistake of choosing based on which agent offers the cheapest fees. Here are some considerations to think about.
Ask friends and family for their recommendations
Your friends, family and those closest to you will most likely have had to deal with an estate agent in the last couple of years to ask them for a recommendation. You can use social media for this, such as Facebook or Twitter and you’ll find people will happily share their experiences, good and bad.
Play one agent off against the other
Competition is often high among estate agents so use that to your advantage. Go and visit multiple agencies in your area and gather information which will help you make an informed decision. Look at experience, past sales records and of course fees. Don’t be afraid to haggle on fees and bring it that other agents are more competitive on price. (Don’t say cheaper, as they will often come out with why cheaper isn’t always better.
Dig deeper into the experience of the agency staff
A good estate agent will have good knowledge of the local area and should be able to demonstrate that to you with a few simple questions. Ask about catchment areas for schools (they should know that) as well as what they think are the main selling features of a property like yours. Ideally, you want them to be able to show you similar properties to yours that they’ve sold previously.
Where will your property be advertised?
Marketing and advertising properties aren’t just limited to property portals like RightMove or Zoopla but other ways too such as house detail brochures, 360-degree virtual tours, aerial footage and contacting existing prospects. Ask them how they will market your property and let them answer.
Another question to ask is about viewings. You can show prospective buyers around yourself or have the agent do it, but either way, find out upfront about viewings.
Fees aren’t fixed and are up for negotiation – although the agent will most likely never admit that.
Obtain a quote from several agents and use that to get the best deal. Estate agents hate to lose out to the competition so make sure you ask for a fee reduction if an agent really wants your business. However, a word of caution. Don’t drill them down too much else they may not have the motivation to put the effort into marketing your property.
Valuations should be obtained from at least 3 estate agents to give you a good idea of a realistic figure.
Beware of agents that over-value a property in order to inflate their commission. Whilst a higher valuation than you thought might sound good news for you too, remember, your house is only worth what someone is prepared to pay so a realistic price needs to be set.
The opposite of course is also true. An under-valuation can lead to a quick sale but will leave you wondering if you could have achieved more for the property.
There is a regulatory body which you can check to see if an estate agent is a member. The the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has a code of practice that all members are expected to follow.
If you’re looking to rent out your property, then another professional body to check is ARLA – Association of Residential Letting Agents which is a voluntary code of practice.
Terms and Conditions
Signing up with an estate agent is a legal contract so be sure to check the small print hidden in the terms and conditions before signing on the dotted line.
Usually, the contract will last for a number of weeks so make a note of how long that is. This means you won’t be able to have another estate agent market your property during that time period unless, of course, you have agreed to a multi-agent contract, but this usually has a higher commission associated with it.
I hope you found this article useful in choosing an agent to sell your home. All the best with your potential house sale!…