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What to Consider When Choosing an Estate Agent

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

When selling your home, it’s vital to choose an estate agent that you’re happy to work with. Find an agency you trust to do the best job for you. Your agent will be representing you (and your home) to potential buyers. Here’s our guide to choosing an estate agent and getting the price right.

How should I choose an agent?

Look for someone who is experienced, enthusiastic and helpful. Your agent should be approachable and happy to take the time to guide you through the process with expert advice.

I’d always suggest asking three or four local agents to visit your home before making your decision. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about the current local market conditions. Find out the details (and selling prices) they’ve achieved for similar properties to yours.

Vital questions to ask estate agents

When you speak to each agent, ask lots of questions and gather as much information as you can. Here are some vital questions I would ask each agent:

  • Do you have any ‘hot’ buyers you could contact to arrange to view my house?
  • How long is your average property taking to sell?
  • How many properties like this one have you sold in the past 3 months?
  • Are most of your properties selling for the asking price? If not what is the average discount?
  • Which property websites do you advertise on? (e.g. Rightmove, Zoopla, etc.)
  • Are you a member of a professional body? (e.g. the National Association of Estate Agents)
  • What price do you suggest marketing the property at? How did you decide on that price? Can I see the details of the similar properties you have sold?

Information you need from each agent

For every agent that visits you, ask them to write to you afterwards with details on the following:

  • The price they suggest marketing your home for and the price they expect to achieve (these may not be the same!)
  • Details of their fees and the costs associated with marketing your home
  • Full contract details such as the minimum period you are granting them to sell your home

This information will prove invaluable when it comes to making your decision.

Which estate agent should I choose?

You shouldn’t automatically choose the agent that gives the highest valuation for your home. Gather the market appraisal figures from all agents and assess them together. Are they similar or is one clearly higher than the rest?

What if one agent does value your home notably higher than the others?

If this happens, ask the agent why they feel they could sell your property for more than their competitors.

A little expert advice…

I’d be wary of making a decision based purely on valuation. I see many properties that don’t sell simply because the asking price was too high from the outset. It’s off-putting to buyers. As time goes by, the house doesn’t sell and buyers assume there’s a problem with the property. In these instances, the house is sold for less than if it had been realistically priced in the first place.

Trust your instincts. Ask your friends for advice too. When you do settle on an estate agent, be sure you aren’t tied into an exclusive marketing period for more than 4-6 weeks. Most of all, do your research and be realistic about the value of your property.

Can I use more than one agent?

Choosing more than one agent to sell your home is certainly an option. Having said this, if you choose the right agent, you won’t need to. With an increasing focus on using the internet to market your property, you shouldn’t need a second estate agent working to find the right buyer.

Look at an agency’s marketing ‘reach’. Think about:

  • Their website
  • Which portals they use
  • The size of their mailing list
  • Where they advertise

Choose someone with a good reputation and you should be covered.

 

Moving home? What do you know about your new neighbourhood? A Move iQ report will give you the lowdown on everything from crimes rates to school ratings. Make sure you’re in the know. Get your property report here. 

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