Choosing the Right Estate Agent
When it comes to selling your property, there are so many estate agents and methods of marketing to choose from, that it can seem daunting. Here are some pointers to help you make an informed decision as to which agent will be the right one for you.
Do your Homework
Take a look around your local area to see which agents are selling properties similar to your own.
Ask family or friends for a recommendation if they’ve recently used an estate agent.
Look at the websites for each agent and how they display the properties they are marketing.
Check if the agent is registered with any professional bodies such as the National Association of Estate Agents or an Ombudsman so you can be sure that you are dealing with a reputable company.
Get More Than One Opinion
Always get several valuations of your property, this gives you a broader view of what price you can look to achieve.
Whilst it is easy to find an online estimate of your property’s value, they are rarely accurate. It is always better to rely on the advice of a local estate agent with knowledge and experience of the current market.
What does the Service Include?
You should expect an agent to offer you a comprehensive service which should include a For Sale board and advertising on property websites such as rightmove or zoopla, or if you can have both, even better!
Do the agent use social media? Is there a visible high street presence? You want your property to be seen by as many buyers as possible so make sure your agent is well equipped to do this.
Be Clear on Costs
Once your property is on the market, you should be confident that the agent you choose will be there to see you through the whole process. Check exactly what is included in the fee you’ve been quoted, you may find that basics such as a For Sale board, internet advertising or seeing your sale through to completion will cost extra.
Also be sure you check whether the price you have been quoted is inclusive of VAT.
When to Pay
You’ll probably be offered a choice of either paying up front, paying later or on completion of the sale.
Paying up front or paying later could potentially save you money but there is often a time limit on how long your property will be advertised…and once you’ve handed over your money, can you be sure that the agent will work as hard to get you a sale compared to one who is paid on results?
And what if your circumstances change unexpectedly and you are no longer in a position to sell? You will lose the money that you have committed to pay.
Paying on completion of the sale will be slightly more expensive, but you won’t have to put any money down straight away and you have flexibility to change agent if you wish. But do check whether an agent charges a withdrawal fee if you take your property off the market with them.
Don’t Always Trust the Highest Valuation
You may find some agents will suggest a much higher asking price than others. This is a tactic that some agents use to get you to market your property with them, only for your property to be sitting on the market and it won’t be long before you are being pressured into making a large price reduction.
You’ll find your house being sold at the figure originally quoted by the other agents, but you’ll be weeks if not months down the line…and possibly out of pocket too!
And Most Importantly - Choose Someone you are Comfortable with
Selling a property doesn’t happen overnight and you’ll be dealing with the agent regularly so you will want someone who is approachable and who you feel is going to work hard to get a sale for your property, by giving you the right advice and a great service.