HOW TO CHOOSE AN ESTATE AGENT
Top tips for choosing an estate agent, from NAEA Propertymark
Selecting an estate agent to market your home can be a daunting task, especially with so many to choose from. When trusting someone to sell your biggest asset, it’s essential you know what you’re signing up for in order to get it sold quickly, professionally and achieving the best price possible. NAEA Propertymark have outlined a few things to consider before choosing an agent.
Make a shortlist
Start by creating a list of possible agents. Reach out to family, friends and neighbours for any recommendations. It’s important you do some research to see if the estate agent not only marketing but is also actually achieving sales on your type of house in your area, as some estate agents specialise in specific types of properties. Consider looking on online sites such as On The Market, Rightmove, or Zoopla and check that the estate agent has taken attractive pictures of all the important features of the houses they are selling.
Ask questions and get a valuation
Once you have narrowed down a shortlist of possible agents, arrange a visit to their office to meet them face-to-face as this is a good time to determine if they are friendly, professional and knowledgeable. Following this, contact a few different agents to provide a valuation and marketing strategy individually for your property and ask them what their advice is for a successful sale. They should be able to provide some local comparisons and reasons to justify the price they have come up with. Ask lots of questions and make a mental note of the agent’s punctuality, politeness, knowledge of the process and management of your expectations.
What are their fees?
You will then need to look carefully at the nitty-gritty of the contract and the agent’s fees. If you are selling your house using a traditional, high-street estate agent, their fee will be based on a percentage of the price paid by the buyer, but as in any contract check what you are paying for and what is not included. In order to avoid unexpected costs, don’t sign anything that you don’t understand and make sure to ask about anything that is not clear. Avoid tying yourself into a long agency period.
Check industry credentials
Remember the industry is as yet unregulated with little barrier to entry. It’s wise to choose an estate agent that is a member of a trade body, who applies to a strict code of conduct, as this indicates a higher level of professionalism and diligence. NAEA Propertymark Protected agents will give you the assurance that your estate agent follows best practice, meets all requirements of the profession, has voluntarily chosen to be regulated and works to high industry standards. They hold professional indemnity insurance and if they are holding monies are required to be covered by Client Money Protection to give you peace of mind throughout the sale of your house.
See what kind of service is offered
Don’t be afraid of asking lots of questions about the service offered. This includes finding out how easy it will be to get hold of your agent, and how often they will update you on their progress. As a seller, you need to be fully involved and informed at all times. You also need to trust that the agent is batting for you, not the buyer.
Find an agent you can trust
Finally, as a homeowner, having an estate agent that you believe in is a must. Whether through local word of mouth, testimonial or Internet reviews, start off on a good foot with an estate agent that you feel confident in, and with whom you have empathy.
Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark comments: “Choosing the right estate agent is crucial to the successful sale of your property. Working with a professional agent who has an in-depth understanding and appreciation for the local and regional market place will ensure your property is marketed effectively to the right buyers. Contrary to common thinking, not all agents are the same and some will be more effective than others so it’s important that you do your research.
“Picking the right estate agent to market your home can make the whole process run smoother but can also make a difference to the general experience – which should be a very positive one.”
The Selling ProcessThis guide is provided to you from the Royal Institution of Chartered Survors