Buying or selling a property is not a regular task for most people, but it is one of the largest investments a person will make in their lifetime. For this reason, it might be difficult to find an estate agent to entrust with this important task.
As you may imagine, choosing the right estate agent will improve your chances of finding what you’re looking for in this large market and getting the best possible prices; by the same measure, the opposite is true for the wrong estate agent.
How to Choose an Estate Agent
1. Traditional or online estate agency?
The first important decision to make will be the type of estate agent you need.
First is the traditional setting in which you will visit an office on the high street and they will help you at every stage of the process from preparing your home for the sale, choosing a target audience, and all other tasks and procedures associated with a house sale. They typically work on a no-sale no fee-basis and will take their service fee as a percentage on the sale of the property. This is nice because you’lll be making no out of pocket payments for their services.
Then, there are online agencies to choose from. These will typically charge you a small fee for listing your property on their site and having them find potential buyers. Once the sale goes through you can expect to face further charges for their help in facilitating the deal. You may also receive limited help with the details of the sale process.
For the most part, homeowners will choose to use the traditional estate agency for their house sale because there are many benefits. This is the option we will be examining more closely in this article today.
2. To start with – make a shortlist of estate agents
Start your search with a good set of options. A list of 5 or 6 appealing estate agents will allow you a nice set of rates, numbers, and services, so you can make comparisons on services and offers.
To compile this list, start by looking for trusted word of mouth recommendations. If you have a friend, family member, or colleague that has experience in the house sale process, perhaps they can point you in the direction of an estate agent they have experience with.
You can also look at billboards and advertisements that catch your eye. Many online directories can also provide some decent options and many reviews and comments from previous clients that you can examine.
You can also head over to your local high street and peer into the windows of many estate agencies to see which options appeal to you. Why not step inside and arrange for a brief introduction to their deals and services? Gathering all the information you can is the only way to make informed choices throughout this complex process.
All of the agents on your list should carry certification and licensing from the NAEA, the National Association of Estate Agents, or the RCIS (Royals Institution of Chartered Surveyors). Choosing only those agencies that meet the highest standards of codes of conduct and professionalism will result in the best results.
3. Narrow down the choices – take a closer look
Take your list of estate agencies and see what more you can learn about them. There could be some very important information you could learn about their staff, history, selection of services and other advantages that could make some options more closely aligned to what you need.
Take a closer look at the types of properties that they are selling, are they anything like your own? Would you be happy to have your property exhibited on this website?
After comparing your findings, you should be down to two or three estate agencies that stand out from the rest. These can be called out to your property for their onsite evaluation and their professional perspective on the market value of the property.
Ask them how they would go about finding a buyer for this property. Once again take note of the answers you receive for comparisons later.
4. Find out if they are the estate agents for you – go and see them
You may feel that you have all the logical answers to make an educated selection in your hand at this moment, but refrain from taking action. While some may look better than others on paper, it’s important that you make a good connection with your potential estate agent.
You’re looking for someone to handle the affairs of what may be your most valuable asset. So, make an appointment to meet them in their place of business and see how you feel about their customer services.
Are they eager to receive you? Do they seem knowledgeable and reliable? Do they take the time to make things easy to understand? After this initial appointment if you feel completely comfortable and secure in their professionalism, go ahead and make things serious with a follow up appointment to get the process rolling, otherwise, keep looking.
5. The valuation of your property – what to watch for
When the estate agent arrives at your property for their professional inspection and evaluation, pay close attention to the way they walk through the house, the way they interact with you as well as their overall demeanour and attitude.
The agents that arrive at the house should all provide you with similar amounts, but you may receive one estimate that is considerably higher or lower than the rest. Always inquire further as this “minority report” may contain information of which the others are not aware.
6. Help the agent by telling them what you need
The best way to make the most from your experience with your estate agent is to keep them well informed of all the particulars regarding your sale.
Maybe you need to adhere to certain time tables due to professional or personal reasons; it would help your estate agent to know this.
Everyone’s needs are unique so there is always one option out there that will provide the very best solutions for you.
7. Assess the agent – ask them lots of questions
From your initial research into these agencies, you’ll already know about the ways that these estate agencies go about showcasing properties. Still, you should ask about how they plan to market the property.
Ask them about the “Hot” prospective buyers they have on the line at this moment in time and what they’re looking for. Ask them about how often they’ll be getting in touch with you and ask for them to tell you all about “sales progression”, which is the process after the sale process.
Make sure you fully understand what this entails and feel comfortable with their explanation.
8. The estate agent’s fees – what you can expect
The agent will charge you a fee to sell your property so be sure to ask about this as well. This fee is typically a percentage of the selling price.
You should also ask about other prices typically included in this process as there may be additional costs for publicity packages, etc. A good agent will give you all of this information upfront and very clearly.
Never assume that the cheapest is the best and be sure to carefully evaluate the strongest value of each estate agent.
9. Choosing the agent – it’s time to decide
Now that you have a clear idea of what each candidate brings to the table, it’s time to make your decision.
While sometimes it may facilitate the process to have more than one estate agent marketing your property, it typically works best to only use one. This way they know they will have a better chance of selling your property and will therefore be more committed.
10. You and your agent – working as a team
Now you can call up your agent of choice and give them the good news. From this point on you and your estate agent should work as a tightly knit unit.
The better you share perspectives on processes and decisions, the faster you’ll get the result you’re looking for.