There isn’t an art or science to choosing an estate agent; most of it boils down to common sense and your own personal preference and priorities when selling your home. However there are some key tips to bear in mind to help make the selection process more streamlined and stress-free for you.
A good estate agent is one you can trust
But what makes an estate agent trustworthy? Sometimes the biggest trust factor is word of mouth. Have any of your friends and family moved recently? (Obviously within your local area, it’s no good asking your friends and family if they’re located on the other side of the country!) Your friends and family may have already done all the hard work for you, weeding out the estate agents who just aren’t worth your time and in the position to recommend an estate agent that they have historically found success with.
But reputation extends far beyond your friends and family. Read online reviews about the different estate agents within your local area and cross off your list any who have repeatedly delivered a terrible service. One or two bad reviews can be forgiven if they comprise a tiny fraction of the overall reviews, but multiple reviews with similar complaints should immediately give off red flags.
Of course another good sign that an estate agent is doing well in your local area is if they generally just have a lot of For Sale and Sold sign boards up in your area. (Get it? “Good sign”?) If an estate agent is doing particularly well in your local area, then they should already have a long list of buyers looking for property within your area and these real life contacts are priceless.
Perhaps the biggest trust factor of them all… Accreditations and awards. Make sure that you know the professional bodies which the estate agents belong to. Any unregulated agencies should be ignored.
Compiling your top 5 estate agents
After a bit of browsing, you should be left with roughly five estate agents who appeal to you. Perhaps they’re the ones that kept popping up everywhere you looked, or they’ve made it to your top 5 due to recommendations from your friends.
You’ll want to visit each of your top 5 estate agents personally. Not only to discuss the details, but you’re going to be trusting these people with what is probably your most valuable asset. You need to be comfortable working with them, and have assurance in knowing that they are working to get you the best deal on your property. So when you meet with them, make note of how you got along with them. Were they polite and professional, or did they come across as rude and impersonal?
Ask your top five estate agents for a free valuation of your property and ask them to justify their valuation. Some may give a higher valuation in attempt to appear as if they can get you the best price out of everybody, but eventually you may end up with the same price as everybody else, so multiple valuations of your property will give you a better idea of how much to expect.
Questions to ask the estate agent
One of the most important deciding factors when choosing an estate agent is their knowledge and experience in marketing a property like yours. Your estate agent may be extremely good at selling city apartment properties, but have no experience with suburban family homes. You should ask to see the other types of property that they are currently trying to sell, and any property that is similar to your own.
You also need to make sure that your property will be marketed adequately and that the estate agent has access to various property marketing opportunities in order to build up interest in your property quickly. So when you meet with an estate agent, you need to ask them for the details on how they will be marketing your property, and whether the commission fee covers all the marketing expenses. You need to ask them which online portals they use to advertise.
Look at examples of existing properties which they already have listed and whether they provide good photography, floor plans, descriptions and details of the properties which they are advertising. The amount of effort that they put into the marketing of your property will play a huge role in how effectively the property generates interest. You will also need to ask the agent how they plan to keep you informed of the progress and the interest in your home and how often they will keep you updated.
Whoever you choose, make sure that you know exactly what you’re getting for the commission fee and that you trust and get along with them!
This article was published on behalf of 1st Call Sales & Lettings in Southend, a multi award winning agency based in Essex, UK.