Your home is usually your largest financial asset so it is important to select the Estate Agent who will be able to best look after your interests. We have listed below some key points to help you select the right estate agent when you wish to sell.
Working With You and For You: What to Look For and What to Expect
Estate Agents should be marketing your property for you, which involves lots of communication. It is important to select an estate agent whose staff you find friendly, well informed and positive. You need to feel comfortable with them and find out if they will accompany perspective purchasers on viewing of your home.
Your chosen Estate Agent should offer to produce professional pictures, floor plans and well written concise descriptions, within a few days of you confirming the instruction.
Find out to, if they have national coverage and if they enjoy a good reputation in the local community. Are they making the most of the internet to reach more people? Look at how they market properties on both their website as well as general web property search websites. Estate agents these days should be offering website marketing as well as more traditional local newspaper advertisements and boards (if you want a board).
Will they consider “open days” too? This is a means of marketing properties, which although is fairly new in the UK, has been used successfully for many years in countries such as America and Australia.
Will the Estate Agents offer to check their data base of candidates and contact Property Search Consultants? If not this may limit contact with some potential purchasers.
Valuation: Do They Have the Knowledge to Price Correctly?
The Estate Agent valuing your home needs to be knowledgeable and provide evidence to substantiate the valuation and marketing plan they are proposing on your behalf. Some Estate Agents overvalue houses, to secure the instruction. Unfortunately, properties priced too highly will be over exposed, so the property stagnates and within a few weeks of marketing, the Estate Agent will be suggesting a price reduction. Therefore, we recommend that you ask the Estate Agent to provide some background to quantify their valuation of your property.
Fees: Are Lower Fees Always Value For Money?
The Estate Agent will usually charge a percentage of the price your property sells at, which is agreed at the time of confirming your instruction (sometimes they may charge a fixed rate rather than a percentage). Appointing a sole agency will usually mean you are charged a lower percentage than if you appoint multiple agents.
Estate Agents offering cheaper percentage fees have to take on larger volumes of properties to make a profit. Therefore, they may not be able to provide the personal, dedicated time required to market and sell your home to reach its maximum price from the best buyer.
Do not be afraid to negotiate with the Estate Agent on their fees: Why not try a ‘performance related’ fee scenario? For example, the more they sell your property for, the higher the percentage you pay them.
Contracts: Reading the Small Print
The Estate Agent will ask you to sign a contract to market your home, which usually lasts 28 days but always double check how many weeks’ notice you have to give the Estate Agent should you wish to discontinue using them.
Once marketing has commenced, ensure your Estate Agent gives you honest feedback following viewings. It may be that you will need to de-clutter more or repaint a favourite room so it becomes a neutral colour to increase its appeal.
You also want your Estate Agent to carry out financial checks on potential buyers.
In other words, your Estate Agent should be actively involved in managing the sales process for you, through to the exchange of contracts and should continually be communicating with you.
Ultimately, the decision about which Estate Agent to use may come down to your instinct. Do you believe you can work with the Agent? Were they professional in their approach? Did they give you the confidence that they would look after your best interests throughout the process?
Estate Agents should be looking after the vendors (sellers) interests whilst we as Property Consultants look after our clients’ interests (the purchasers). This should be an exciting process for everyone and the start of a new chapter in your life.