I’m Planning on Selling my House. How do I Choose an Estate Agent?
If you’ve sold property before, you’ll know that there’s a LOT to think about, and that’s before the process has even begun.
One of the most important things to do before putting your property on the market – as well as making all of the physical preparations in order to make your home more appealing – is choosing the right estate agent.
Choosing the right estate agent can well and truly make or break the sale of your home. It can be the difference between getting the right price quickly, and your listing becoming stale and having to compromise on the asking price of the property in question.
But, “how do I choose an estate agent? and make sure they’re the right one?”, we hear you ask. Well, today we’re going to be covering all things that’ll help you to choose the right estate agent for you.
How Can I Make Sure that I’m Choosing the Right Estate Agent? Is there Such Thing?
The answer to the latter of those two questions, is yes, there is absolutely such thing as the right estate agent for each individual estate agent.
They tend to differ, depending on circumstances such as the type of house you’re selling, but there are things you can do to make sure that you pick the right estate agency for your own individual circumstances.
Now, we’re going to share our top tips with you on how to do exactly that.
Ask for Direct Recommendations from Reliable Sources like Friends and Family
One of the ways that many companies acquire the vast majority of their business – or similarly, lose it – is through reputation along. Asking someone you know can go a long way:
- Our first port of call when trying to find the right person for a job is usually to ask around amongst the people that we know.
- This tends to stand for all sorts of things – from electricians to pet sitters – so why not estate agencies too?
- The thing about this method, is that it’s trustworthy. Reading anonymous review online can be risky, because you don’t know how legitimate they really are.
- Many companies actually manufacture many online reviews themselves as a sort of marketing ploy. Although this isn’t always the case, it can be difficult to tell the marketing ploys apart from the genuine reviews.
- Getting recommendations is always a trustworthy way of knowing exactly what the service that you’re getting will be like. In this instance, you get the chance to ask all of the questions you want to, and you know you’ll get an honest and unbiased answer from a customer.
- Reputation can really make or break a company, especially in the property industry. Home owners are some of the most careful customers out there, and it’s no surprise really. Would you really want to risk messing up the sale of your largest asset?
So if you know someone – or has a friend who knows someone – who has recently sold their house, get in touch with them! Information “straight from the horse’s mouth” if you like, tends to be the most reliable source.
Keep an Eye Out for the Most Commonly Used Estate Agencies in Your Area
When something is popular, it’s usually for one of two reasons. Sometimes, trends and the like are over-hyped, sure, but when it comes to services, they tend to become popular because of one thing only – their good reputation:
- As we said above, reputation is everything. The better a reputation the company has, the more business it will acquire, and this stands for estate agents too.
- So if you don’t have someone to ask directly, it’s worth keeping an eye out in your local area so that you can see who the most commonly used estate agents are.
- The first method of doing this, is by going old school. We’re talking driving round the local area, up streets and around cu-de-sacs, where there are houses for sale.
- When doing this, the idea is to look at the “For Sale” boards outside of the said houses. Take a notepad and pen – or use notes in your phone – while doing this, and keep a tally of which estate agents are used through the local area.
- Chances are, you’re likely to find a most commonly reoccurring agency that your neighbours and the people in your area are using. This is a good indicator of their service.
- After all, if they’re lapping up all of the business in the area, the must be doing something well, right?
- If you want to be more technical about things, however, you could acquire some of the same information online.
- The vast majority of estate agencies will put your property listing online nowadays, and that’s because as many as 90% of the population admit to starting their property search on the internet today in 2020.
- Pages such as Right Move and Zoopla are generic listing sites, which means that they will be used by several different estate agencies at one time.
- What you’ll want to do, is type in your postcode, and look at properties for sale in a five mile radius.
- Once you’ve done this, you should be able to click on the property estate agent info. When doing this, make a note of which agent is used over and over again.
- It’s not just about who’s getting the most “For Sale” signs, though. Be sure to look out for “Sold” too, because that speaks volumes.
Remember, any estate agent can put your home up for sale. It’s getting the property sold that’s the real telling point, so don’t ignore these statistics.
Have Your Property Valued by Multiple Estate Agents
One of the most important things your estate agent will do for you in the sales process, is valuing your property and setting up an asking price:
- A lot of home owners think that the higher an estate agent values their property, the better news that is for them. After all, if they value it highly, you’re going to get someone buy it for that price, right? Wrong.
- First things first, remember this one thing: some estate agents work on commission. They literally rely on acquiring more business than their colleagues to get the best pay cheque possible.
- In this scenario, estate agents are likely to tell you exactly what they think that you’ll want to hear in order to ensure your business. Their technique in doing this, tends to be overpricing the property during valuation.
- Furthermore, some estate agents will do this just to make home owners feel good about their houses. But in the long run, they’re really not doing you any favours. The opposite, in fact.
- The issue with your property being overvalued, is that it tends to mean it won’t sell at its asking price. It’s as simple as that.
- It’s a common occurrence that in this situation, property listings become stale. This means they have been on the market for a number of months, with little to no interest. This gives off a bad message to potential buyers, because they automatically assume that there’s something wrong with the said property, and that’s why it’s not selling.
- The only way of therefore getting a property to sell in this circumstance, is by dropping the price.
- However, you also don’t want an estate agent to undervalue your property, for obvious reasons. Nobody wants to lose money through this expensive process, do they?
- This is why it’s so important to get multiple valuations from different estate agents.
- If you do feel your property is being valued unfairly, there’s a tool on Zoopla that lets you see what other similar properties in the area have sold for, so look for the most recent of these.
- This isn’t an exact science, but it’s well worth a luck. Just be sure to get a professional opinion too.
By asking for several valuations from multiple estate agencies, you’ll be able to figure out the average price your property should be going for.
When Choosing Your Estate Agent, Be Sure to Ask Multiple Questions
When trying to decipher which estate agency is the right one for you, it’s important to ask them multiple questions.
These include, but aren’t limited to:
- Checking how long the agency has been established. It’s not always necessarily the case that new agencies are worse than those who are well established, however. Some new agents are eager to impress; however a more well established agent may have more clients on their books. Weigh up both of these.
- What their basic fees are. Estate agency fees can be expensive, so make sure you’re looking at affordably options when choosing. Remember, there’s other expenses on top of that such as legal fees etc.
- If they have a tie-in period. You’ll want to double check with estate agents if they have a tie-in period or not, and if so, how long it is. Remember for this lock-in period you’ll be legally bound to just this estate agent, so look at these terms carefully before choosing.
- Whether or not they have multi-agent fees. If you’re intending on going with several agencies to increase the chance of selling your home quickly, you’ll want to check the cost of multi-agent fees first.
- To see their contract. This is for obvious reasons!
- How they’ll advertise your property. As we mentioned earlier, as many as 90% of potential buyers begin their search online, so you’ll want to ensure your agent is advertising on several platforms.
- Who will be conducting the viewings. You’ll want to k now whether or not you’ll be expected to conduct viewings, or whether this is included in their fees.
- Whether open house viewings are an option. If you’re interested in creating hype about your property by having an open house, ask whether or not this particular agent offers these as part of their package. It can be a great way to get a bidding war going, and ultimately get a good price on the property.
Sit down and talk to estate agents thoroughly before making a decision for definite, and be sure to ask any of these questions that may be applicable to you.
Remember not to feel sheepish about asking too many questions – you are well within your rights to! Selling your biggest asset should not be taken lightly, so ask away.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, after all.
Try Secret Shopping at an Estate Agency
Heard of “mystery shoppers”? Why not give it a go yourself:
- In case you didn’t already know, mystery shoppers are people who are employed to go into organisations like pubs and restaurants pretending to be a customer, and making notes on their personal experience.
- Many large companies use this to check up on health regulations, whether pubs are adhering to ID laws and so on. It’s easy to get caught out if you’re not doing your job right, because you’re none the wiser that they’re mystery shopping.
- Why not apply the same thought process to estate agencies?
- Of course, we’re not suggesting that you hire someone to do this for you. That would be an expensive and wasteful cost.
- However, there’s nothing at all stopping you from doing it yourself!
- It’s completely free to go into estate agencies, and to call them up and enquire about properties they have for sale, so why not go in as a potential customer with this as your “aim”?
- This gives you a chance to see how they work, without them trying to sell you on how they’ll handle your sale. You’ll get to see whether they work with integrity, how professional they are, and how pro-active they are in matching the right property to the right buyer.
- If you don’t get the impression that they’re too bothered about selling the properties in their portfolio, then you’ll know not to bother using them to sell your own property. The last thing you need is an inactive agent selling your property – or should we say, not selling your property!
It’s a bit of an eccentric approach to the situation, but it has been known to work. If you’re interested in getting your acting skills into gear and doing some private investigating, then it can’t hurt!
Even After Committing to an Estate Agent, Keep a Close Eye on Things
Finally, you’ve followed all of the above advice, and have chosen your estate agent, hurrah! But the work doesn’t stop there. You’ll want to keep a close eye on the process of the sale:
- Before doing this, of course, you’ll have shortlisted a few agents in the area and chosen the one that comes out best for you.
- However, remember that after the tie-in period, you don’t actually owe them anything.
- This means that even if you’ve signed with an agency, in four to six weeks if your property hasn’t sold and isn’t getting many viewings, you should pull them up on it.
- Be active in your sale, and ask for honest feedback from any viewings they’ve conducted. Don’t take it personally, but constructively.
- If people don’t like your property, remember that it’s nothing personal – everyone has different tastes. But do pay attention to feedback that you could act upon.
- For example, if your kitchen needed renewing, you could consider either having this done, or dropping the price to reflect what the buyer may have to splash out on it.
Remember that above all else, you want to sell your home. If you’re going to listen to anyone, it should be the potential buyer.
We hope we’ve helped you in the tough decision of choosing your estate agent today.