Choosing the best estate agent to sell your house can be tricky, with so many different factors to consider. Some will offer you low selling fees or give you an impressively high property valuation – but these can be misleading.
Therefore, it’s important to know how to choose an estate agent so you don’t fall for any of their tricks. According to Which, one in six home movers were dissatisfied with the service they received from their estate agent.
To ensure you pick one of the best estate agents, this guide outlines exactly what you need to do to find a good firm. If you’re thinking of selling your home, go ahead and explore these top tips for how to choose an estate agent, including what an estate agent does, what makes a good estate agent, how to compare estate agents and much more.
Let’s start with the obvious – what does an estate agent do?
In short, estate agents sell and rent out commercial and residential property, acting as negotiators between buyers and sellers.
However, in reality, there’s a lot more to the role of an estate agent. Here are some of the services you can expect to receive from a good estate agent:
Selling your house is a huge step to take, so knowing how to choose an estate agent you can trust to get you the best deal is crucial. So, what makes a good estate agent?
There are three main qualities that make a good estate agent:
A great way of determining which are the best estate agents is to compare them against each other. Here is a list of all the things you should compare when choosing an estate agent:
When choosing an estate agent, it is important that you do your homework, researching each estate agent on your list thoroughly.
One good way to research an estate agent is to look in your local newspaper or online.
You should also speak to friends, family members and neighbours to see if they would recommend any local estate agents.
Once you’ve identified a list of recommended estate agents, be proactive and visit their offices in person. For a true idea of how hard they’d work to sell your property, you could even go undercover and pretend to be a buyer interested in properties like your own. Give each estate agent a rating out of 10 based on how helpful they were.
Some estate agents might over-value your property in order to appear more attractive. However, this is a red flag and something you should definitely watch out for during the house valuation process.
Often when a property is priced too high, they end up being heavily reduced later on. This can result in them being sold for less than if they’d been priced properly in the first place, as well as taking a lot longer to sell.
This is why it is important to look at how close to asking price estate agents tend to get when comparing your options. Don’t just go for the obvious choice of the estate agent who values your house at the highest price.
Online shopping has never been more popular, but while we’re happy to buy our groceries, clothes and even cars online, there is still some reluctance to go virtual when buying houses.
A few years ago, online-only estate agents threatened to make high-street agencies a thing of the past. However, today, online estate agents still only account for 5% of the UK property market.
So, should you use an online estate agent?
On the surface, online estate agents appear to offer great value – they usually offer a fixed fee, paid upfront, rather than the ‘no sale no fee’ percentage commission charged by high-street agencies.
Some online agents even offer basic listings completely free of charge, making their money through add-ons such as hosted viewings, professional photography and promoted adverts, as well as from commission on mortgages, removals and other services.
However, the estate agent fees are just one factor you should consider when weighing up the pros and cons of online estate agents. In addition, you should consider the sales rate, the average time to sell, the percentage of listings that saw price reductions, and the average size of those reductions.
Overall, online estate agents tend to be better for selling cheaper properties, whereas online sales are rare at the top end of the market. So, if you’re selling a property at the lower end of the property market, it might be worth considering an online estate agent.
It may be tempting to think that two (or more) heads are better than one when it comes to selling your house. However, it’s not quite that simple.
So, what are sole, joint and multiple estate agents?
Here are the factors to consider when choosing between sole, joint or multiple estate agents:
Overall, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to which is the best type of estate agent to use. Which is the best estate agent for you will all depend on: the uniqueness of the property, the state of the market, and whether you’re in a hurry to sell or willing to wait for longer for the best offer.
Often, opting for a sole estate agent at the outset is the best option, provided they secure a competitive fee and an exclusivity period that isn’t too long. If an agent is taking a long time to sell your property and has exhausted their contact list, it may be better to start considering multiple agents or a joint agreement.
So, now you know how to choose an estate agent, how should you deal with them when selling your house?
You should ask your estate agent the following questions to ensure they’re the best one for you:
So, if you’re thinking of selling your house, hopefully this guide has given you some more insight into how to choose an estate agent.
This is a crucial decision in the house selling process and could influence how much you sell your house for, how quickly you sell your house and how stressful the process is. Therefore, it is super important that you find the best estate agents to help you get through this hectic period.
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