Choosing an estate agent is very important and will have a big impact on how quickly you sell your house, and at what price. Not all agents are the same, some will be more effective than others.
In this article, we give advice on choosing an estate agent to help you find an estate agent who will pro-actively market your property and help you achieve the best possible price.
1. Ask for recommendations
Speak to friends, family members, and neighbours who have estate agents in the past and had a positive experience to help you pull together a shortlist.
Walk or drive around your local area to see which estate agents are marketing houses or flats like yours, this can be a useful indicator of the most successful estate agents in your area.
Reading customer feedback on review websites like TrustPilot or Feefo can also be helpful when searching for reputable companies.
2. Check out their industry credentials
Currently, letting agents in England are unregulated – meaning they can set up in business without joining a recognised industry body. However, it is a good idea to look for voluntary membership of a professional association such as ARLA Propertymark or National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) or the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
3. Invite at least three agents to value your property
Try to get at least three different estate agents to come and value your property.
Don’t be too impressed by the agent that values your property the highest – this could be a ploy to win your business.
Ideally, you need an agent who is going to be honest and fair, not one who is going to overvalue your property and then fail to get a buyer at that price
4. Ask these questions
How much do they charge for sole agency and what is the tie-in period? One agent has the exclusive right to sell your property for a set period. Expect to pay fees between 1% and 2.5% of the sale price for a sole-agency agreement, with a tie-in period of up to eight weeks.
How much do they charge for multi-agency? A multi-agency arrangement means several agents will have your property on their books, with the successful agency being granted the fee. Expect to pay fees in the region of 2.5% and 3.5% of the sale price.
How quickly do they sell homes? What’s their track record of achieving the asking price?
What is their reasoning behind the value they’re proposing to market your property at? What would they do if your property was not selling as quickly or at the price you expected?
How will your property be advertised? Will it appear on the major property websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla? Ask the estate agency to show you of how they advertise properties like yours.
Who will look after viewings? Will the estate agent be present at all viewings? Ask whether they will be available during evenings and weekends. A surprising number of agents only work during the week with a half day on Saturday this means they are less accessible to potential buyers.
How long have they been established? A well-established local estate agent is preferable.
5. Beware of high valuations
It’s an estate agent’s job to find the best price for your house. Many estate agents will give deliberately optimistic valuations to win your business, only to reduce the price a few weeks later following a lack of viewings.
Often properties whose prices are heavily reduced take much longer to sell then similar more realistically priced properties.
Make sure you know roughly what your home should be selling for by looking at the price of similar properties in your area. It is advisable to take the advice of your estate agent, but it is ultimately your decision what price your property is marketed at.
6. Choose between sole or multiple estate agents, then haggle
Decide how many estate agents you want to use. Home sellers usually select just one estate agent because this is simpler to manage and is usually cheaper (as agents will charge more for multiple agency arrangements).
Hiring more than one estate agent can widen your net of potential buyers possibly resulting in a quicker sale or a bidding war giving you a higher selling price.
Whichever you choose, now is the time to haggle. If one agent is more expensive than the others, see if you can get their price down.
7. Read the terms and conditions of the agreement
Remember to read the contract carefully and check your sole agency tie in period and required notice period. Don’t be afraid to question things you don’t understand or don’t agree with. If you are not happy in any way do not sign the contract.
8. Review your agent’s performance
After a few weeks for multi-agency, or towards the end of the tie-in period for sole agency, evaluate your estate agent’s performance.
- How many viewings have you had? Who from? How did they go?
- Consider whether your estate agent has been working as hard as you expect?
- You may also want to talk to your estate agent about ways in which your property could be spruced up to encourage a sale or whether the property is priced too high.
If you’re thinking to sell your home in Wimbledon, Coombe, Roehampton or Kingston, contact us today – we’d be delighted to give you a property valuation and advise you on how to market it effectively in the current climate.