When you choose an estate agent, you first need to know how to spot the good estate agents from the bad. Buying and selling property is a huge deal, and a considerable amount of money is involved in every sale. Choosing the best estate agent to handle the transaction can be daunting as you need your estate agent to work for you and your best interests.
Not all agencies provide the same service, and some will be far more effective marketing and costings wise than others. With this in mind, we have put together a guide on how to choose an estate agent with some top tips for 2020 and beyond. Our guide should help you to find a great agency with whom you can buy or sell your home.
Choose A Better Estate Agent – Ask For Recommendations
It may seem like an all too easy starting point, but ask friends, family members and colleagues who have recently moved house which estate agents they were using and what they think of them.
Take note of all the houses nearby with “for sale” and “sold” signs up. It’s a great way to see which estate agents are more popular in the area and which estate agent is managing to sell more properties than others.
Check The Estate Agents Credentials
Estate agents are obligated to become members of The Property Ombudsman Scheme. This scheme allows independent investigation of any complaints made against them.
There will also be several estate agents being part of trade bodies. Membership means they must abide by a code of ethics that can imply a higher degree of integrity and diligence. Trade groups to watch out for are:
- Guild of Property Professionals
- National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)
- Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
You can check out their credentials without leaving the house. Those who have trade affiliations will usually brag about it on their blogs and websites.
Pretend To Be A House Hunter
Visit your estate agents and get shortlisted as a potential buyer searching for a property like your own. Pay attention to their actions, and ask two questions:
- Would you be happy if they mentioned property was yours?
- Would you buy property from them?
Invite Multiple Estate Agents To Value Your Property
Shortlist the best estate agents and ask at least three of them to come and value your property.
When valuing your property, it’s crucial not to be too impressed by the agent who values your property as high as possible – this could be a trick to win your business
Ideally, you need an agent that will be honest and rational, not one who will overvalue it as you may struggle to sell your property at the price they have valued it at. You need to find the most realistic agent.
5 Questions You Could Ask Your Estate Agent
How Much The Agency Charges For Sole Agency, And How Long You’ll Be Tied In?
A sole agency is where an agent has the exclusive rights to sell your property for a given period. When another buyer is selling the property, you will have to pay a fee to the single seller, as well as to the buyer who originally sold it. In general, payments for a single entity will vary from 1% to 2.5% per cent of the sales price, with a tie-in duration of up to eight weeks.
How Much The Agent Charges For Multi-Agency?
A multi-agency contract means many agencies can have the property on their books, with the fee being paid to the lead agency that you decide to use. This fee would usually be in the range between 2.5% and 3.5% of the total selling cost.
How Long Have They Been Established And How Much Experience Do They Have Selling Similar Properties?
It’s best to have a well-known agent who has experience selling property near your house.
How Will Your Property Be Advertised
Will it end up in the local paper? On a property website like Zoopla? Is the organisation in a position to provide examples of how properties are advertised?
Who Will Take Care Of The Viewings?
Will the estate agent be in attendance at all viewings? Test to see if they’ll be available for evenings and weekends.
Book a viewing on your property and send a friend or family member to make sure your estate agent is looking after your best interests.
Decide Between Sole And Multi-Agency, Then Haggle.
Sole agency is cheaper, but the net is not spread as large, and a fast sale can be unlikely. Multi-agency costs more, which allows more exposure to your brand, which increases the likelihood of a quick sale.
You can decide to start with a single agency at the end of the tie-in time, switching to multi-agency. Or with multi-agency, you can choose to jump straight in.
Now is the time to haggle to get whatever you want. If one estate agent is more expensive than others, then let them know and haggle down.
Read The Terms And Conditions Of The Agreement
Before signing anything – make sure you are comfortable with all of the small print. Don’t be afraid to enquire about anything you don’t understand or agree with, request changes if you feel they are necessary.
Review Your Agent’s Performance
Evaluate the success of your estate agent after a few weeks for multi-agency, or at the end of the tie-in duration for a single agency.
Ask the agent for feedback too. If you didn’t have any viewings or you’ve had viewings, but no deals have been made – the agent should be more than happy to provide you with the stats and feedback.
It could be that the property is priced too high, or maybe that your home could be spruced up a little to increase the chances of a sale going through.
If you need reassurance that you are doing everything properly, then follow the above guide and choose an estate agent that works for you and who can get your property off the market and soon as it goes on!