How do I choose the right Estate Agent to sell my home

News at EastHaus | 26/06/2017

The time has come, you’ve made the decision to part with one of, if not the most, valuable asset you own……your home.

With that decision made, the next big question is which Estate Agent do you choose to help you do that.

Price and fees are usually the first points that come to mind but these are not necessarily the most important things to consider. Does your agent actually know the area? Do they have a good track record? Are they experienced enough? Do they have a genuine passion and interest to sell your home? These are points that can really influence the successful sale of a property.

Results from a property survey by Consumer Association Which showed that while two thirds of sellers were satisfied with the service they received from their Estate Agent, one in six were not. So it is really important to make sure you do your research before choosing an Estate Agent.

At Easthaus, as well as being agents ourselves, we have all had the experience of buying and selling our own homes. So we have put together a list of what influenced us when we chose the right agent to help us sell our properties:

How involved do you want to be in selling your home?

This is the first thing you need to ask yourself. Do you want a hands on role in the selling process? Do you have the time and patience to show people around your house? If this is the case, then you may want to consider using an online agent.

Often people are attracted to online agents due to lower fees, however, it is good to be aware of the pros and cons. With online agencies you can often fall at the first hurdle as it is rare you will get a thorough, quality valuation. Based in national call centres, online agencies may not have the local knowledge of traditional Estate Agents and you will likely be carrying out viewings yourself.

Traditional Estate Agents will carry out viewings, manage your marketing and advertise your property in all the local hotspots as well as online.

There is also the added benefit of location. A local Estate Agent will be nearby and should have in-depth knowledge of where you live, adding colour and life to the bricks and mortar of a property.

Ask questions, lots of them

Before choosing your agent, do your research. Who are the agents in your area? What sorts of properties do they sell? Do they have a successful track record?

Your agent will be representing your biggest asset, so never feel embarrassed of asking how their service differs to others in the area and always question their success rate in selling homes like yours.

Pop into their offices to sound them out and ask questions such as who will conduct viewings or how will they market your home. Ensure you are fully satisfied with the answers to your questions as chances are, if you are not completely confident in the information they have provided, potential buyers won’t be either.

It is important to develop a good rapport with your estate agent as you’ll be dealing with them through a busy and possibly stressful period.

Choose someone you want to talk to and most importantly, trust, not someone you dread picking up the phone to.

What fees should I expect to pay my Estate Agent?

Agent fees can vary anywhere from 0.75% to up to 3% of your sale price.

Depending on the package offered and level of service, it can be difficult to decide on an agent based solely on fee.

Lower fees might attract sellers, but will the agent put the legwork in to get your house sold?

Where a fee is on the upper end of what you want to pay, does the agent have a solid reputation and sound knowledge of the area?

What’s the right answer?

By law, an Estate Agent is required to tell you exactly what is included in the fee. A good agent will be able to explain what your fee pays for and any clauses involved such as charges to withdraw a property from sale. Always ask if the fee covers advertising and marketing costs, as ideally this should be included. No fees should be paid upfront and any potential additional fees (such as perhaps national advertising) should be clearly explained from the beginning.

For more detailed information on Estate Agent fees, visit the Home Owners Alliance who have produced some really informative guides for home owners, including an article on how much you should be paying your estate agent

Would you buy a house from them?

Let’s face it, estate agents have a bad reputation. They are known for talking fast, selling hard and earning huge commissions.

Whilst this may have been true a few years ago, the property market is changing. Sites such as Rightmove and Zoopla give you access to a wealth of knowledge before you even decide to sell.

Estate Agents now have to work harder and smarter to secure their commission. So, if the agent who turns up to value your home does not create the right impression or show enthusiasm for selling your property, what are the chances they will get you the right price?

A good Estate Agent should be excited by your home. They will point out all the great features and hopefully give you some tips on how to maximise your home’s worth.

Valuations are free, get a few of them

Don’t feel tied to the first agent who comes round to value your property. Why should you? Before you commit to one agent get a second, third or fourth opinion.

Prices often vary from agent to agent and its better to have as much information as possible before diving straight in.

Don’t get dazzled by digits

Bigger is not always better, especially when it comes to house prices. Many people make the mistake of choosing agents who offer a high valuation but come unstuck when there are no viewings and the price gets knocked down.

Research is a key. Make sure you check sold prices of homes in your area which are similar in size.

Unfortunately, some agencies have been known to use high valuations to get sellers on their books but, in many cases, rarely deliver. Your property often represents your largest financial asset however, the largest number is not always the right number.

Again, do your research, a similar property may be on the market for a higher price than yours but how long has it been on the market? Could this be a reason why it hasn’t yet sold? The property market may seem like a tricky beast but correct pricing is everything. Inflated valuations can significantly slow down the time it takes to sell a property and make you worse off in the long run.

Big brands or smaller agents?

Just because an agent is part of a national brand, this doesn’t guarantee the best service and certainly does not promise the most competitive fee.

Within the property market you have the luxury of choice.

You may gravitate towards the big name because of recognition and comfort, but often smaller agents will work your property harder and provide a more bespoke service.

Click here to find out more about the way EastHaus works.

Always ensure that your agent is part of a regulating body such as the Guild of Professional Estate Agents or the National Association of Estate Agents. These bodies protect your interests and provide a safety net.

Keep your Estate Agent on their toes

Once you’ve chosen your estate agent, don’t be scared about asking for regular updates. Of course you’ll be aware of how many viewings your property has had, but a good agent will also give you regular feedback. They should be keeping their eyes and ears open when conducting a viewing and listen out for any negative feedback which may affect the sale of your home.

Selling a home is not the easiest of tasks but a good agent will take it on and sell the socks off it. So don’t just settle for an agent, choose the best one for you and your property.

For more detailed information and tips about how to pick the right Estate Agent, have a look at the Which Guide.

Happy selling!