November 15, 2018
How to choose the right estate agent to sell your home
So you’ve boxed up a whole load of clutter, you’ve fixed that annoying dripping tap and buffed and polished your home. Well done! Now comes what for some sellers feels like a really challenging task: choosing your estate agent.
Most sellers invite three estate agents to give them an expert valuation, and discuss marketing approach. This does have the added advantage of giving you a balanced view of your home’s potential value, as well as to discover the various agency fees and range of services.
But how do you choose which three estate agents should be on your shortlist, and what criteria should you use to decide which agent will be the right one for you?
Broadly speaking, there are three main types of estate agents: the ‘DIY’ or online estate agent, the corporate, nationwide agent and the local independent estate agent, like Kirkwoods. There are pros and cons of each, and asking the right questions in your agent ‘interviews’ will help you make sense of your options.
Questions to ask prospective estate agents
Here are some pointers to help you prioritise your selection criteria, and sort the wheat from the chaff:
“What’s your commission?” – As with many things in life, the cheapest option isn’t always the best way. You may find that choosing an estate agent with a higher commission rate may mean that they are more driven to complete the sale. Whilst some may be prepared to discount their rate, this could also mean that they are underselling your property. After all, you will be putting your trust in them to negotiate on your behalf with a buyer, so you need to know they won’t crumble at the first sign of pressure!
So how do you decide? Our advice would be to choose someone that you can trust and that has a range of support they can offer you: commission rates are only one part of the process.
“What happens if something goes wrong with my sale?” – if something unexpected happens with your home sale, you need to know that you can take the issue up the chain, to the most senior person available. Ask who that would be, and how you can contact them. Do they take any additional proactive steps to help your sale go through? I have been known known to visit the council and chase them for paperwork for my clients when their house sale hit a complicated patch.
“What marketing do you use?” – the photography and online marketing created by the agent for your property all need to be of the highest quality, so they stand out when compared with the competition, and successfully target the right type of buyer for your home. Take a look at their social media profiles: are they doing any additional marketing to help sell your house. It’s not just a case of displaying details in an estate agent window or putting something online. You could also ask if they offer any support or advice on preparing your home for a photographer’s visit.
“Is your fee payable if you don’t sell my house?” – make sure you’re entering into a no-sale, no-fee agreement, so if you don’t sell, you don’t pay. If you do decide to take your home off the market, there may be some incidental out-of-pocket expenses your agent will ask you to reimburse, so make sure you get these listed and in writing.
You may have the answers to your questions, but how do you choose the right estate agent and make sure they will be on your side, from beginning to end? Here are our five tips to help you choose the right agent for you and your plans:
5 tips to help you choose the Estate Agent that fits with you and your home
You will probably have a rough idea of what your home is worth. We suggest you choose an estate agent with a track record. One who regularly sells homes of the same kind of value and type, who can show you some case studies of similar homes they’ve sold, and who can think of several potential buyers who might be interested in viewing your home.
If securing the lowest possible fee is of the highest priority to you, you may be better using a DIY estate agent. They typically charge a low upfront cost, starting at around £850. Be wary of unexpected add-ons, like your for-sale board and floor plan, and be prepared to do your own viewings and deal with any complications along the chain. You might secure a sale with a low commission, but you could find it daunting if you need to problem solve with other buyers in the chain or need to chase their solicitors and estate agents. This can be time consuming and complicated: having an expert working on your behalf can relieve a lot of additional pressure and stress whilst protecting your best interests and ensuring the best sale price for you. You may find that it is better to pay an estate agent who has a higher rate of commission if it gives you the peace of mind that this will be included in their service to you.
Scroll through Rightmove and click on the homes that really stand out – be it photography, written description, anything that catches your eye (in a positive way). Make a note of the agent. This is what buyers do subconsciously, so by thinking like a buyer, you’ll be drawn to the agent with the best property marketing.
Every agent in the country claims to offer ‘good service’! Selling your home can sometimes be a difficult time and you need to know your agent will remain onside. Choose an agent who listens to you and understands the concerns that you have. A good estate agent won’t have hundreds of homes for sale; they know they need to give all their clients the best possible experience, so you don’t just feel like a number. Have a look at testimonials on their website and on social media. What have their previous clients said about working with them?
What do your instincts tell you? Your estate agent needs to be completely on your side. They need to display enthusiasm for your home, and a belief that they can sell it for the price you want. If you trust them, and genuinely like them, you’re starting the relationship in the best possible way.
If you’re selling your home – or thinking of it, we’d love to have a chat with you. You can pop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01628 509 500 or 07981 314 921.
I’m an award-winning local estate agent and pride myself on going the extra mile for my clients and I’m often receiving lovely thank you cards, gifts and testimonials: you can see some of these on my website.
I often share tips about selling your home on the Kirkwood Personal Estate Agent Facebook Page and lots of other useful information about buying a home in Maidenhead. Click here to see the Kirkwood Facebook Page.