How To Choose An Estate Agent To Sell Your Home

almost 2 years ago
How To Choose An Estate Agent To Sell Your Home

If you have taken to take the step of choosing to sell your home, the next step is to select an agent who will be able to market it for you. Easier said than done! It’s likely that within a few miles of your home, there are several agents who will all be vying for your business. 

In this guide, we’ll give you a few pointers to help you select the best agent to sell your property. 

Do your homework! 

Not what most people expect to have to do, but it will put you in good stead and needn’t be as daunting as homework may sound. 

Firstly, go to Rightmove or Zoopla and search for properties that have the same number of bedrooms as yours and also share the build type (detached, semi-detached, terraced, flat, etc) within ¼ to ½ of a mile of your postcode. This will give you an idea of what kind of figure you could list yours for.  

Now you have a broad idea of what you feel your property could be worth, you need to find an agent. Rightmove, Zoopla and Google will be able to help you find agents that are local to you.  

Reputations Matter 

As with any sector or industry, there are rogues who you should stay away from. Thankfully, with the advent of Google and Facebook reviews, you can find out relatively quickly what experiences other customers have had with them.     

Asking friends, family and especially neighbours is a good option.  

Have A Look At Their Listings 

Now you have been able to whittle down your list, have a look at some of the properties the remaining agents on your list are advertising. This is likely to represent the level of marketing that your home will receive. Remember, this is the shop window for your property and the first interaction potential buyers will have with it. 

Pay particular attention to: 

Photos – These are the windows to your home. When people are browsing, they will click on your property if it looks as great as possible. Then continue to scroll through the photos if they look good too.  

Floorplan – Does the agent supply a floorplan? Or do they charge extra for this? The layout of a property is often important to a potential buyer. Whilst the photos can give you an idea of how the rooms are arranged, the floor plan is definitive. It also provides more information; for example, there may not be a photo of a utility room or downstairs washroom, but they will be shown on a floor plan. 

Description – Whilst not as vital as the photos or a floorplan, the description can give information on the property such as room sizes, the general condition of the property, local amenities, transport links and more. A ‘poorly’ written description isn’t the end of the world, as the pictures are the main selling tool, but it is a nice to have. 

Front of house team 

These key individuals should be your focus when choosing an agent, not the valuer pitching for your business. This team will be the first to speak with interested parties, so they need to be able to talk fluently, enthusiastically and knowledgeably about your home. It will mean you will be more likely to secure viewings and gives viewers confidence in the agent.  

Inviting round the agents 

Now you have done a bit of digging, you will have hopefully been left with a few potential agents you’d like to sell your home. This is when you should call at least three and ask them for a market appraisal. They will visit your property at a time convenient for you, look around the property, suggest a sale price and negotiate their fee. 

A few things to bear in mind: 

Valuation – In order to gain your business, some agents will suggest a price that is much higher than they can realistically achieve and will back this up by saying ‘we have people queueing around the block for this type of house!’ 

Remember your homework. You have a general idea of the price so don’t fall for the sales pitch!! 

What often happens with these less than honourable agents is that they will promise you a high sale price, they will get very few (if any!) viewings in the first couple of weeks then call you to drop the price to something more realistic.  

Not only does this waste your time, your listing on the sales portals will become ‘stagnant’ and has less impact on people who are browsing your area. Even a price reduction on a later date won’t have the same impact as listing it at the correct price in the first instance.  

The Fee – According to a July 2018 survey, the average fee paid for selling a property is 1.42% of the final selling price (including VAT). However, this figure can vary on several factors such as whether you are instructing a single agent to act on your behalf or more than one agent which generally incurs a higher fee.  

Gut Feeling – Some things in life aren’t quantifiable. Do you like the person coming around to visit you? If not, then perhaps it may be worth going with another agent. I wouldn’t recommend basing your entire decision on what your instincts tell you, but it could be something to take into consideration.  

Viewings 

Beware of agents who ask you to conduct the majority of viewings. Not only is it lazy-agency, but it is not in your best interests. Showing potential buyers around a house is an art and the most experienced agents will know exactly what the viewers are looking for and will get the best out of them. You the seller, should either make sure you’re not in, or at least are not hovering in the background. If you’re within earshot, then you will not get genuine feedback, which is extremely valuable. If you have taken to take the step of choosing to sell your home, the next step is to select an agent who will be able to market it for you. Easier said than done! It’s likely that within a few miles of your home, there are several agents who will all be vying for your business. 

In this guide, we’ll give you a few pointers to help you select the best agent to sell your property. 

Do your homework! 

Not what most people expect to have to do, but it will put you in good stead and needn’t be as daunting as homework may sound. 

Firstly, go to Rightmove or Zoopla and search for properties that have the same number of bedrooms as yours and also share the build type (detached, semi-detached, terraced, flat, etc) within ¼ to ½ of a mile of your postcode. This will give you an idea of what kind of figure you could list yours for.  

Now you have a broad idea of what you feel your property could be worth, you need to find an agent. Rightmove, Zoopla and Google will be able to help you find agents that are local to you.  

Reputations Matter 

As with any sector or industry, there are rogues who you should stay away from. Thankfully, with the advent of Google and Facebook reviews, you can find out relatively quickly what experiences other customers have had with them.     

Asking friends, family and especially neighbours is a good option.  

Have A Look At Their Listings 

Now you have been able to whittle down your list, have a look at some of the properties the remaining agents on your list are advertising. This is likely to represent the level of marketing that your home will receive. Remember, this is the shop window for your property and the first interaction potential buyers will have with it. 

Pay particular attention to: 

Photos – These are the windows to your home. When people are browsing, they will click on your property if it looks as great as possible. Then continue to scroll through the photos if they look good too.  

Floorplan – Does the agent supply a floorplan? Or do they charge extra for this? The layout of a property is often important to a potential buyer. Whilst the photos can give you an idea of how the rooms are arranged, the floor plan is definitive. It also provides more information; for example, there may not be a photo of a utility room or downstairs washroom, but they will be shown on a floor plan. 

Description – Whilst not as vital as the photos or a floorplan, the description can give information on the property such as room sizes, the general condition of the property, local amenities, transport links and more. A ‘poorly’ written description isn’t the end of the world, as the pictures are the main selling tool, but it is a nice to have. 

Front of house team 

These key individuals should be your focus when choosing an agent, not the valuer pitching for your business. This team will be the first to speak with interested parties, so they need to be able to talk fluently, enthusiastically and knowledgeably about your home. It will mean you will be more likely to secure viewings and gives viewers confidence in the agent.  

Inviting round the agents 

Now you have done a bit of digging, you will have hopefully been left with a few potential agents you’d like to sell your home. This is when you should call at least three and ask them for a market appraisal. They will visit your property at a time convenient for you, look around the property, suggest a sale price and negotiate their fee. 

A few things to bear in mind: 

Valuation – In order to gain your business, some agents will suggest a price that is much higher than they can realistically achieve and will back this up by saying ‘we have people queueing around the block for this type of house!’ 

Remember your homework. You have a general idea of the price so don’t fall for the sales pitch!! 

What often happens with these less than honourable agents is that they will promise you a high sale price, they will get very few (if any!) viewings in the first couple of weeks then call you to drop the price to something more realistic.  

Not only does this waste your time, your listing on the sales portals will become ‘stagnant’ and has less impact on people who are browsing your area. Even a price reduction on a later date won’t have the same impact as listing it at the correct price in the first instance.  

The Fee – According to a July 2018 survey, the average fee paid for selling a property is 1.42% of the final selling price (including VAT). However, this figure can vary on several factors such as whether you are instructing a single agent to act on your behalf or more than one agent which generally incurs a higher fee.  

Gut Feeling – Some things in life aren’t quantifiable. Do you like the person coming around to visit you? If not, then perhaps it may be worth going with another agent. I wouldn’t recommend basing your entire decision on what your instincts tell you, but it could be something to take into consideration.  

Viewings 

Beware of agents who ask you to conduct the majority of viewings. Not only is it lazy-agency, but it is not in your best interests. Showing potential buyers around a house is an art and the most experienced agents will know exactly what the viewers are looking for and will get the best out of them. You the seller, should either make sure you’re not in, or at least are not hovering in the background. If you’re within earshot, then you will not get genuine feedback, which is extremely valuable. 

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