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How To Choose An Estate Agent (Don’t Choose Before Reading These 7 Tips)

How to choose an estate agent - Don't choose before reading this

How do you choose the best estate agent to sell your home?

Choosing an estate agent is an extremely important decision to make. Get this wrong and it could cost you thousands. If you get it really wrong, you may not sell your house at the best price.

How to choose an estate agent:

  1. Ask for referrals from friends or family.
  2. Look for estate agent sold signs in your area.
  3. Ask 3 estate agents to value your house before you choose.
  4. Ask key questions before you choose.
  5. Secret shop your estate agent beforehand.
  6. Match the agent to your house type.
  7. Review progress even after you’ve chosen.

Let’s now take a look at the above 7 tips in more detail.

How to choose an estate agent – Top tips on choosing the right one

1. Ask for a referral or for recommendations from friends or family for a good estate agent

As with choosing any service, the best way to help this decision is to get a recommendation. Choosing by a referral is usually the best option, which applies if you’re choosing a builder, a plumber or in this case choosing an estate agent.

In the first instance ask your friends and colleagues for a referral of an estate agent they have used. Of perhaps speak to another member of your family.

It’s best to use an estate agent who one of your friends or family have used more recently when they sold their own home.

2. Look for estate agent boards in your area and see which ones have sold signs

Usually the good estate agents will be the ones with the most boards outside houses in your area. Take a drive around to see which ones you see the most of.

This is a good a recommendation as any. Because if many of your neighbours are using a particular estate agent in your area, they must be doing something right.

Focus on looking for the “‘for sale‘ signs, but also count how many ‘sold‘ signs there are too. The ones with the most ‘sold‘ signs will be a useful indicator of how good the agents is at selling houses.

3. Ask three estate agents to value your house before selecting the right one to sell your house

It’s always a good idea to ask at least three estate agents to value your house. When you meet with these three agents, it’s important to compare the values they place on your house.

Is their valuation realistic. Make sure it’s neither too much above or below what you think it is valued at. Don’t always be tempted by the highest value. Remember this could be a ploy to win the business. Plus if you go with a valuation that’s above what it’s truly worth, your house will not sell and it could stagnate.

In fact it might be better to take an average of all three values.

4. Important questions to ask each estate agent you meet before you choose the one who sells your house

Important questions to ask each estate agent you meet

Before you engage the services of an estate agent you must ask the following questions:

How long have the agency been established?

It’s not always the case that a well established agency is better than a new agency. It could be said that a newly set up estate agent may be more eager to impress. However, a long-standing agent may have more experience and have more buyers on their books.

What are their sole agency fees?

A sole agency is where one agent has the exclusive right to sell your property for a set period. I always suggest you haggle them on fees, as there’s always fierce competition between estate agents.

What is the tie-in period?

The tie in period is the time you agree to be locked in with the sole agency. During this lock-in period you are not allowed to go to another agent. This applies even if this sole agent doesn’t sell your house. Typically, a sole agency period runs for around 8 weeks.

What are their multi-agency fees?

If you choose a multi-agency arrangement, this means you have more than one agent to sell your house. Usually a multi-agent fee is higher than a sole agency fee.

Ask to see a copy of their contract

In addition to checking their fees and sole agency period, check the rest of the wording of their contract.

How will your property be advertised?

These days probably one of the most important places for your property to appear is on Rightmove. Make sure this is a minimum for them to advertise your property. Ask them where else it will be advertised in addition to Rightmove.

Who will be doing the viewings?

Not all estate agents do viewings. In some cases you will be expected to show prospective buyers around. Check what they are providing for their fees.

Ask if they do open day viewings

Open day viewings are a great way to create a lot of interest in a property. It can generate competition between buyers, which in turn can push up the price they pay for your property.

5. Secret shop your estate agent before deciding on the right one

You can always visit estate agents in your area as a prospective buyer before you list your property with them. See how they behave with you and how they show other people’s homes to you.

Do they behave professionally and do they show integrity?

6. Match the agent to your house type

The estate agent you choose should match with the type of property you are selling. To illustrate this point, don’t go to a bungalow specialist estate agent if you have a large 5 bed two storey home to sell.

Also, some agents are better at selling up-market expensive properties. Choose carefully.

7. Keep things under review even after you’ve chosen your estate agent

Even after you’ve chosen the estate agency to sell your house from the short list, always keep them under review. This is especially true if you house doesn’t sell in the first 4-6 weeks of being put on the market.

Always ask them for feedback from each of the viewings. Take whatever they say as constructive.

Don’t get upset if people don’t like your home. But pay particular attention where you get feedback about anything you can change about your house. Especially id this is about the decoration or other cosmetic feature you could change for the better to get your house sold.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on how to choose an estate agent

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How To Choose An Estate Agent (Don’t Choose Before Reading These 7 Tips)

Article written by Russell Bowyer who has been investing in property since purchasing his first commercial property in the 1990's for his own Chartered Accountancy business. But his first property investment project was to turn an old dilapidated restaurant into a large 5-bed home, which he purchased for £117,500 and sold for £450,000 (to see an "after" photo of the house before it was sold see here: About). Russell owns a number of investment properties, which includes houses, flats and HMO's. More recently he has turned his creative side to investing in property using lease options. His largest lease option deal to date was to acquire 12 properties worth over £2 million for just £12, which means he paid just £1 to acquire each property!

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