When you sell your property, it’s vital that you find the estate agent that is best suited to you and your home.
Firstly, select a shortlist of estate agents…
When it comes to choosing the best estate agent for your circumstances, it helps if you can shortlist your options down to two. If you use my tips below to help you draw up a shortlist of two, you can then organise for the agents to visit and carry out a market appraisal.
- Ask family, friends and neighbours as it is always good to have a personal recommendation.
- Compare local estate agents based on the facts: which estate agent has the majority of properties for sale in your locality? How quickly do they sell property? Which agent has agreed the highest number of sales in the last 12 months? You can use the ‘Find Agent’ button on Rightmove to compare available and under offer stock levels for estate agents in your locality.
- Make sure the agent has experience of selling property like yours. Check there are properties similar to yours on their website.
- Look at the photographs produced by the agent. Are they good quality? After all, a picture is worth a thousand words!
- Look at the estate agent’s website. Which website do you like best and which is easiest to navigate your way around?
- What is their viewing policy? Check they will accompany potential buyers when you are not available.
Once you have your shortlist of two agents from carrying out the above checks; book appointments for them to visit your home and provide a marketing appraisal. When the estate agents visit, it is a good opportunity for you to ask them some further questions to help find the right one to sell your home. You should ask:
- How quickly do they sell homes on their books? How many sales have they agreed within the last 12 months?
- What is their reasoning behind the value they’ve given your property?
- How long were they with you at the appointment? Were they thorough in the information they provided you with?
- Will details of your property be shared with their colleagues? It’s good if more than one person in the office can talk enthusiastically and with knowledge about your property. Will they get the sales negotiators to visit? If the valuer is the only person to see the property, it is not much use as, at the end of the day, they are rarely in the office taking calls and speaking to potential buyers!
- What hours are they contactable? A surprising number of agents are only contactable between 9am and 5pm during the week and until lunchtime on Saturdays, which means they are less accessible to potential buyers.
- What is the full process from point of instruction to sale completion? Do they have dedicated departments to assist along the way?
- Don’t be fooled by the valuations you are given. Agents know that one of the main reasons people pick them is the valuation they give. Estate agents take two general approaches:
- Some agents give deliberately optimistic valuations, to make you think you can get a higher price with them, and then try and talk you down when the level of interest is low.
- Some agents insist they are giving a realistic price and tell you not to be fooled by falsely high valuations.
The agent should come armed with evidence of local sold prices to support their valuation. It’s always advisable to take the advice of the estate agent, but it’s worth noting that, within reason, it is you and not the agent who decides what price to put the property on at.
How will they market your property?
One of the most important factors that will influence which estate agent you choose is how they plan to market your property. You need to understand what their plans are and be comfortable with their approach. Ask them:
- Which portals are they using? It is the big property portals you need to be listed on; the main one being Rightmove.
- Are they able to gain press coverage in local newspapers and magazines? If you are selling a higher end property, will they be able to feature it in any national newspapers or magazines?
- Will your property feature in their high street window?
- How many buyers does the agent have on their database that are looking for your type of property?
- Will your property be listed on social media?
Final thoughts when choosing an estate agent…
Make sure you get along with your estate agent and that you trust them. They will be the first point of contact for any potential buyers, so you need to make sure that they will represent you and your property well.