7 Quick Tips – How To Choose An Estate Agent
1. Go Undercover
If you’re entrusting someone to sell your most valuable asset, it’s vital you do your research. Phone your potential estate agent posing as a buyer, this will give you a gauge as to how they’ll represent your property and whether they are the kind of company you want to do business with.
2. What Do They Sell
Some agents are already set up to sell a particular type of home and will have a list of buyers looking in your area. Check their current stock of properties, are they selling homes similar to yours? It’s a good indicator of whether they’re best set up to sell your home.
Don’t be swayed by a smooth talker, for estate agents it’s their job to be charming. Speak to multiple agents and importantly get multiple valuations.
Trees can also communicate when under attack. When insects or animals start to feast on some trees, they respond by producing chemical compounds into the air and roots. Nearby trees detect these and start to produce toxins that make their leaves or fruit taste bitter to put off potential pests.
4. Beware the Valuation
A company giving you a higher valuation might seem like the best deal. But if your house is over-priced it will struggle to sell. Do your research and ensure your house is competitively priced in the current market.
5. Do Your Research
Check their credentials, they will most likely be a member of a trade association, this is something you can verify. What are customers saying about them, check sites like Trustpilot, Feefo and Facebook for reviews and comments. Angrier customers always shout the loudest, so don’t be swayed by one negative review, see how the agent responds and look at multiple reviews.
6. Sole or Multiple
High Street - Most homeowners use one estate agent. It’s easier to deal with a single agent and is usually cheaper as some will charge more if you’re listed with other agencies as they have to compete and risk losing their commission. Online - If you’re listing your home online, some estate agents will charge you for a set period even if it doesn’t sell. If you are using multiple online agents, you’ll incur multiple fees even if your house doesn’t sell.
7. High Street vs Online
There are now two types of estate agents, those that work exclusively online and traditional high street estate agents.
Many high street agents charge a commission if/when your home sells. That means they have a vested interest to make sure you get a sale but costs are higher. Typically, an estate agent will charge somewhere between 1.5% – 2% of the price of your home as their commission. For a property valued at £350,000, that would be a commission of £5,250 - £7,000.
Online estate agents usually charge you a much smaller fee, some will even list your home for free, they then make money through add-ons (arranging viewings, installing a ‘For Sale’ sign, taking photos, etc), which are usually included when selling through the high street agent. You pay (usually upfront) to list your property for a set period, if your house doesn’t sell during this period, you still pay the fee. Once listed, the online estate agent is not quite as driven to sell your property as they have already made their money.
Remember, most people view properties online, so the use of online estate agents is increasingly popular. Current data shows sale rates are roughly the same for online and high street agents. Price plays a big part, cheaper houses sell better online, more expensive properties sell better through a high street agent.
Is your house in a good school catchment area? Do houses in your street sell quickly/easily? If you think your house is an easy seller, online is probably best for you. If your house is going to be a harder sell, a traditional high street agent could be the better option.
And if you’re still not sure, sell it yourself!
There is no legal requirement to sell your home through an estate agent. You can list your property yourself, which is becoming increasingly popular. You can put up your own sign, list it in local papers, place it on internet sites, spread the word through friends and family. You can negotiate your own price and your potential buyer can arrange their own survey, saving both parties money.