How to choose the right estate agent
Selecting an estate agent to market your home can be a daunting task, especially with so many to choose from. Here are a few points to help in the process.
When trusting someone to sell your biggest asset, it’s essential you know what you’re signing up for in order to get it sold quickly, professionally and to achieve the best price possible. NAEA Propertymark has outlined a few things to consider before choosing an agent:
Make a shortlist
Start by creating a list of possible agents. Reach out to family, friends and neighbours for any recommendations. It’s important you do some research to see if the estate agent is not only marketing, but also achieving sales on your type of house in your area, as some estate agents specialise in specific types of properties.
Consider looking on online sites such as On The Market, Rightmove, or Zoopla and check that the estate agent has taken attractive pictures of all the important features of the houses they are selling.
Ask questions and get a valuation
Once you have narrowed down a shortlist of possible agents, arrange a visit to the office to meet them face-to-face as this is a good time to determine if they are friendly, professional and knowledgeable. Following this, contact a few different agents to provide a valuation and marketing strategy individually for your property and ask them what their advice is for a successful sale.
They should be able to provide some local comparisons and reasons to justify the price they have come up with. Ask lots of questions and make a mental note of the agent’s punctuality, politeness, knowledge of the process and management of your expectations.
What are their fees?
You will then need to look carefully at the nitty-gritty of the contract and the agent’s fees. If you are selling your house using a traditional, high-street estate agent, their fee will be based on a percentage of the price paid by the buyer, but as in any contract, check what you are paying for and what is not included.
In order to avoid unexpected costs, don’t sign anything you don’t understand and make sure to ask about anything that is not clear. Avoid tying yourself into a long agency period.
Also don’t be afraid to haggle on the commission fees.
Check industry credentials
Remember the industry is as yet unregulated with little barrier to entry. It’s wise to choose an estate agent that is a member of a trade body, which applies a strict code of conduct, as this indicates a higher level of professionalism and diligence. You can check the NAEA Propertymark Protected agents to see if your estate agent follows best practice, meets all requirements of the profession, has voluntarily chosen to be regulated and works to high industry standards.
Members also hold professional indemnity insurance, and if they are holding money, they’re required to be covered by Client Money Protection to give you peace of mind throughout the sale of your house.
See what kind of service is offered
Don’t be afraid of asking lots of questions about the service offered, including how easy it will be to get hold of your agent, and how often they will update you on their progress. As a seller, you need to be fully involved and informed at all times. You also need to trust that the agent is batting for you, not the buyer.
Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: “Choosing the right estate agent is crucial to the successful sale of your property. Working with a professional agent who has an in-depth understanding and appreciation for the local and regional market place will ensure your property is marketed effectively to the right buyers. Contrary to common thinking, not all agents are the same and some will be more effective than others so it’s important to do your research.
“Picking the right estate agent to market your home can make the whole process run smoother but can also make a difference to the general experience – which should be a very positive one.”