Choosing an estate agent is not something you do every day, so it can seem daunting which agent to choose.
Contrary to what you may think, all agencies are different and some will be more suited to you and more effective. Find a professional and pro-active agency that will be the best experts for you.
How to choose an Estate Agent
- Traditional VS Online Estate Agencies
A traditional full-service estate agency will normally take care of every stage of the selling process in return for a fee when the sale goes through. They operate from a local office you can recognise. Most work on a no sale, no fee basis, so if the property doesn't sell you shouldn't be out of pocket. Some agents do have a withdrawal clause, if you want to leave in that time scale you pay a fee as you haven't given enough time to get a sale agreed for you.
An online agency don't have offices you can visit and usually charge an up front fee to put your property on the market. There can be further charges throughout the process and if a sale takes place. Online agencies don't do a lot of service, you may have to deal with a lot of the selling process yourself, including hosting your own viewings. A lot of vendors find this very overwhelming.
- Make a list of Estate Agents
For traditional agents, we recommend you list the ones local to the property. Your list will want to have at least 5 agents you would consider using. You may want to ask friends and neighbours to advise from there experiences. You will have seen agents' For Sale boards, advertisements in the papers and promotional leaflets through your letterbox. Which did you like? Did any intrigue you more than others? Take a walk around your local areas and check out the offices' display. Does it look smart and appealing? See if they have their regulator signs up with pride. For example an industry body such as NAEA Property Mark (National Association of Estate Agents). All trustworthy and good agents should be operating to codes of conduct that will ensure you are dealt with professionally.
- Take a Closer Look
Find out more. Check their websites out. There should be information about the company, staff, services and prehaps customer reviews. Take a look at their properties they're marketing on their website. Are they well presented? Do you like the style? See if they advertise on at least one major property portal, for example Rightmove and On the Market. After your new findings, you should be able to narrow your list down to 2 of your favourite agents. These remaining agents you will want to call and see if they can come and value your property.
- The Best Agents For You
It is very tempting to just send a valuation enquiry or send an email but the best way to get a feel for an agent is calling them. You can see if you get on with them and trust them. Are they helpful? Are they professional and friendly? Are you comfortable speaking to them? If not, it's best to cross them off your list.
- Valuation Time
When the agent arrives pay attention to their punctuality, politeness, professionalism and knowledge. Good agents will conclude their findings with you and report via email the same day or the following day so you can read over it and decide your next step.
- Help the Agent Help you
A good agent will want to understand your needs and circumstances for selling. Be honest about your circumstances and why you are selling. The agent should tailor their services to deal with them.
Ask your agent what marketing route they will go down, what's the best target audience for your property. Ask if they will accompany all viewings or if they expect you to do them. A good agents service should include accompanying viewings. How often will they be in touch? Ask them how they deal with the progression of their sales so you get an insight of what it may look like when you have a sale agreed.
- Estate Agents Fees and What to Expect
Agents charge a fee to sell your property. Fees are usually a percentage of the selling price. There can be additional charges for floor plans and EPC's. There should never be hidden charges, as a vendor you should have always been made aware of any payment. Regarding fees you shouldn't go for the cheapest as that may mean the worst service. You should decide on the agent with the best value for the fee.
- Time to Decide
So you've met the agents, you know the market value of your property and what their fees are. It's time to make a choice based on all you have seen and heard. Pick up the phone and instruct your favourite agency. Once instructed remember to work together and remember you're on the same side.