So, you’ve got rid of a whole lot of clutter, you’ve fixed those squeaking doors and dripping tap and given the whole house a bit a spruce up. Now comes what for some sellers feels like a really challenging task: choosing your estate agent.
Most sellers invite three estate agents to give them an expert valuation and discuss the best marketing approach. This does have the added advantage of giving you a balanced view of your home’s potential value, as well as the chance to discover the various agency fees and range of services they offer.
But how do you choose which three estate agents should be on your shortlist, and what criteria should you use to decide which agent will be the right one for you?
Broadly speaking, there are three main types of estate agents: the ‘DIY’ or online estate agent, the corporate, nationwide agent and the local independent estate agent. There are pros and cons of each and asking the right questions in your agent ‘interviews’ will help you make sense of your options.
Questions to ask prospective estate agents
Here are some pointers to help you prioritise your selection criteria:
“What’s your commission?” – and no, this doesn’t mean choosing the agent with the lowest commission rate, or the one that allows his fee to be negotiated to below his proposal. One tactic is to select an agent who values his commission, and this may mean choosing one who charges above the area average, and who doesn’t discount it. After all, you will be putting your trust in him to negotiate on your behalf with a buyer, so you need to know he won’t crumble at the first sign of pressure!
“What happens if something goes wrong with my sale?” – if something unexpected happens with your home sale, you need to know that you can take the issue up the chain, to the most senior person available. Ask who that would be, and how you can contact them.
“What marketing do you use?” – your photography and online marketing created by the agent all need to be of the highest quality, so they stand out when compared with the competition, and successfully target the right type of buyer for your home.
“Is your fee payable if you don’t sell my house?” – make sure you’re entering into a no-sale, no-fee agreement. If you do decide to take your home off the market, there may be some incidental out-of-pocket expenses your agent will ask you to reimburse, so make sure you get these listed and in writing.
You may have the answers to your questions, but how do you choose the right estate agent and make sure they will be on your side, from beginning to end? Here are our five tips to help you choose the right agent for you and your plans:
5 tips to help you choose the Estate Agent that fits with you and your home
- The value of homes they sell
You will probably have a rough idea of what your home is worth. We suggest you choose an estate agent with a track record. One who regularly sells homes of the same kind of value and type, who can show you some case studies of similar homes they’ve sold, and who can think of several potential buyers who might be interested in viewing your home.
If securing the lowest possible fee is of the highest priority to you, you may be better using a DIY estate agent. They typically charge an upfront cost, starting at around £850. Be wary of unexpected add-ons like your for-sale board and floor plan you should also be prepared to do your own viewings.
Scroll through Rightmove and click on the homes that really stand out – be it photography, written description, anything that catches your eye (in a positive way). Make a note of the agent. This is what buyers do subconsciously, so by thinking like a buyer you’ll be drawn to the agent with the best property marketing.
Every agent in the country claims to offer the best service. Selling your home can sometimes be a difficult time and you need to know your agent will remain onside. Choose an agent who listens to you and understands the concerns that you have. A good estate agent won’t have hundreds of homes for sale; they know they need to give all their clients the best possible experience, so you don’t just feel like a number.
- Gut feeling
What do your instincts tell you? Your estate agent needs to be completely on your side. They need to display enthusiasm for your home, and a belief that they can sell it for the price you want. If you trust them, and genuinely like them then you’re starting the relationship in the best possible way.