How to choose an estate agent to sell with
Choosing the right estate agent to sell your home is a significant decision, and there are several factors to consider when making this choice. This guide provides an overview of the key points to consider.
What makes a good estate agent?
- Marketing: A good estate agent should have a strong marketing strategy that includes professional photography, floor plans, and online listings on major property portals. They should also have a good network of potential buyers and be able to target the right audience for your property.
- Proactivity: A proactive estate agent will actively seek out potential buyers for your property, rather than waiting for them to come to them. They should have a plan for how to market your property and be willing to take the initiative to get it sold.
- Availability: It’s important that your estate agent is available when you need them. They should be responsive to your calls and emails and be willing to work around your schedule.
- Customer service: A good estate agent should provide excellent customer service throughout the entire process of selling your home. They should be friendly, professional, and helpful, and be willing to go the extra mile to get your property sold.
- Communication: Clear and regular communication is key to a successful sale. Your estate agent should keep you informed about the progress of your sale, provide feedback from viewings, and be available to answer any questions you have along the way.
How do I narrow down my choice?
Here are some additional tips to help you narrow down your choices:
- Research: Look for estate agents who specialise in your area and have a good track record of selling similar properties. Check their website and social media pages to see how they present their properties and how active they are in promoting their listings.
- Referrals and Recommendations: Ask friends, family members, and neighbours for their recommendations. Word-of-mouth referrals can be valuable in helping you find an estate agent who has a good reputation and has provided excellent service to someone you know.
- Meet with several estate agents: It’s a good idea to meet with several estate agents before making a decision. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions, compare services and fees, and get a sense of their level of professionalism and expertise.
- Commission: Estate agent fees can vary, so make sure you understand the commission structure and any additional costs upfront. Some agents charge a flat fee while others charge a percentage of the sale price.
- Terms of the Contract: Carefully read and understand the terms of the contract before signing. Look out for any clauses that might tie you in or prevent you from working with other agents.
- Communication and Availability: Good communication is key when working with an estate agent. Look for an agent who is responsive and available to answer your questions and provide updates on your property.
- Viewings: Find out if the estate agent will conduct the viewings or if you’ll be responsible for doing them yourself. Some agents charge extra for conducting viewings, while others include this service in their fees.
- Fee Structure: When choosing an estate agent, it’s important to consider the fee structure they offer. Some agents may require you to pay an upfront fee for their services, while others may work on a commission basis and only charge you when your property is sold.
- Additional fees: It’s also worth asking about any additional fees that may apply, such as fees for professional photography or marketing materials. Make sure you understand all the costs associated with the service before making a decision.
Should I use an online agent?
- Price: Online agents may be cheaper compared to traditional agents.
- Location: They may not be local, which can result in a lack of knowledge about the area and its property market
- Viewings: With an online agent, you may have to do your own viewings.
- Fee structure: If you pay upfront, the online agent may not have as much incentive to sell your property as they have already been paid
- No high street presence: Online agents don’t have a physical high street presence which could limit exposure to potential buyers who walk in.
- Compare sales performance: It’s important to check the sales performance of online agents against traditional agents before making a decision.
What do the statistics say about selling with an online agent?
There have been studies and reports that compare the performance of online agents versus traditional high street agents, and the results vary depending on the specific study and location.
One study by consumer group Which? in 2019 found that online agents were generally cheaper than high street agents, but that they tended to achieve lower sale prices and took longer to sell properties.
Ultimately, the decision of whether the cost outweighs the benefit depends on the individual’s circumstances and priorities. Online agents may be more cost-effective, but they may not provide the same level of personal service and local knowledge as a high street agent. It’s important to do research, compare different agents, and consider all factors before making a decision.
Should I use sole or multiple estate agents?
Using multiple agents to sell your property can have advantages and disadvantages. The main benefit is increased exposure and having multiple agents working to sell your property.
However, it may look desperate to potential buyers if they see your property listed with multiple agents. Additionally, some agents may charge you more for a multi-agency contract. It’s important to carefully consider the pros and cons before deciding to use multiple agents.
How much should estate agents charge, and how do I negotiate?
Estate agent fees can vary depending on the service offered. Traditional high street agents typically charge around 1% of the sale price, which can sometimes be negotiated lower or higher (up to 1.5%, especially in London). On the other hand, some agents, particularly online agents, charge a fixed fee, which can be around £1,000 to £1,500. However, you may have to pay upfront or conduct your own viewings.
When should I change agents?
It’s not uncommon for properties to not sell as quickly as expected or for the expected price. Reasons to switch after a reasonable period of time would be bad communication, lack of viewings, or lack of knowledge about the area or the property.
Sometimes it can be out of the agent’s hands if the market shifts negatively, and it may be worth sticking with them if they are clearly adapting and trying in the situation. However, if they are not proactive or adapting to the market, it may be worth switching.
Check your contract
It’s important to check your contract with the estate agent to ensure that you are not tied in for a certain period of time. If you are, you may need to wait until that period has ended or negotiate an early release with the agent. It’s also worth considering giving feedback to the agent and addressing any issues you may have before deciding to switch, as this may give them a chance to rectify any problems and improve their service.