How to choose the ‘right’ estate agent to sell your home

choosing an estate agent

Choosing the best estate agent to sell your property
Before choosing an estate agent to sell your property, it’s really important to do some homework beforehand. Choosing the wrong agent may not only force you into accepting less than your property is worth, but could result in a stressful and lengthy drawn out selling experience.

Finding an estate agent to sell your home is easy, but finding the ‘right’ estate agent to sell your property will take a little research. Ideally, try narrow your search down to three local agents you feel will work hard for you and make sure they are based locally as they will have good local knowledge of the area. Speak to family and friends to see if they can recommend an agent they have used before.

Don’t assume brand name high street estate agents with lots of properties advertised will sell you property any quicker or for the best price. Having to get numerous properties on the books to meet monthly targets may not offer you the best value or the undivided attention needed in selling your home.

There are independent and online estate agents which focus on successfully selling a smaller number of properties which can often offer a far better service and value for your money. Over 90% of all property searches now start online, so check your estate agent will list your property on the major portal sites such as Rightmove and Zoopla.

Once you have selected your choice of agents, give them a call and enquire as a ‘buyer’ looking for property similar to your own and ask them to call back with some details. This will be an ideal opportunity to gauge how quick they respond and their overall service as an estate agent. Remember, if they do not bother to return your call or call you back promptly, how will any potential buyer you may have, ever get to view or buy your property?

You need an estate agent you are confident will handle all aspects of your sale through to completion, professionally and efficiently. Consider an agent whose income personally depends on the success of your sale, the incentive to work hard for you and sell your property will be greater.

Once you’ve compared and decided on your agent, make sure you trust and actually like your chosen agent, it will not only ensure you can work together, but will help make your sale stress free.

Valuation of your property

Aim to get three valuations of your property, this will give you an idea of how much your property is worth, what price to market at and how each estate agent compares. Also check what price to sell for should you need a quick sale. Don’t automatically go for the highest valuation, they may well be overvaluing your property just to get your business and this could ultimately lead to your property going stale on the market. Even if you do eventually find a buyer, the sale will likely fall through if the mortgage valuation is lower, as the lender will refuse to lend on the price sold for and the buyer will not pleased to find they’ve paid more than the property is worth. Don’t be afraid to challenge a valuation and ask to see some evidence to support it.

Estate agents fees

The most common form of contracts in the residential sale of property are sole agency, joint agency and multi-agency agreements.

Estate agent fees for selling a property on a ‘sole agency’ basis, where a single agency will be instructed to sell a property can range from as low as 0.5% up to 3% of the property sale price.

Some sellers found that after instructing an estate agent on a ‘sole agency’ basis and signing a contract which most will tie you in anywhere from 6 weeks even up to 6 months, their agent did very little to try sell their property.  You should therefore try negotiate with your agent for a shorter or a no tie in period before giving them your instruction, that way they’ll have work hard if they want to keep your business and you’ll be able to switch agents if they don’t. Always ask to have a copy of their sale agreement before signing any contract.

For joint and multi-agency agreements, where more than one agency is instructed to sell a property, the fees can range from 1.5% up to 3.5% of the property sale price. Most prices quoted are exclusive of VAT.

Joint agency agreements can be useful if you live on the border of two areas, but only have an agency in each area, so you could benefit from each agency bringing buyers from both areas.

Multi agency agreements although could make the agents work harder to sell your property due to competition and a higher commission, getting the best price for your property may not necessarily be as important. There is also the viewpoint from any prospective buyer that the seller appears desperate to sell, which can be a negative and an opportunity to offer less for your property.

I would always recommend to sell on a sole agency basis with a good estate agent on side to start with, if you feel not enough interest has been generated by your agent or need of a quick sale, then consider a joint or multi agency.

Despite the general view that estate agents do little for their fees , a good estate agent will put in a great deal of time and effort to market and successfully sell your property for the best price and actively progress the sale through to completion, much of which takes place behind the scenes. It is also expensive to market property and advertise on the large property portals and local papers, so dont necessarily choose your agent based the lowest fee if you want value for your money.

Estate agents marketing and services

Your estate agent should prepare fully detailed high quality property particulars to showcase your property at its best and to ensure any potential buyer who comes to view your property will have all the relevant facts and that the property meets their requirements.

Here’s a checklist of questions to ask your estate agent:

What training do they have and which qualifications do they hold?

Do they provide floor plans and high quality wide angle photography when preparing property particulars?

Do they offer video tours?

Where will they advertise your property? How long will they advertise for?

Will your property be advertised online and on the property websites? if so, which ones?

Will you have to pay extra to advertise in the local newspaper or for a premium listing online?

Are there any other charges you can expect to pay that have not been mentioned?

Are they flexible to conduct viewings in the evenings and at weekends? If so, up to what time?

Do they have an extensive mailing list of potential and suitable buyers?

How many members of staff will you have to deal with throughout the sale of your property?

Will they provide a ‘for sale’ board?

It’s also worth checking how many viewings they had on their last similar property sold, how many offers were made, how quick did it sell, for what price did it sell for and how long was it on the market before the property was sold. These are all indicators of how proactive your estate agent is and how well they market their properties.

Estate agents must belong to one of these Office of Fair Trading approved redress schemes: Property Ombudsman or Ombudsman Services, Property to ensure they operate to a strict code of practice. You can check on the schemes websites to confirm whether an agent is a member.

If you would like to find out more on selling your home or wish to take advantage of our exceptional service,contact Paul Barker at HomeXperts Sutton & Cheam on  T 020 8626 7862 07432 288171 E sutton@hxea.co.uksuttonestateagents.co.uk