Choose an agent who is local, who really knows their area (rather than a national chain with token representation on your High Street). A local agent will know who your potential buyers are, they will know who to talk to and how best to market your property. They have the best change of securing the best price within your timescales without tying you into an excessive sole agency contract. Internet-only agents often struggle to offer local knowledge as they work with reps across the country covering large geographic areas. As you know in your area prices may differ from road-to-road.
Price it Right - Bigger is not always better
Sadly it is often common practice in the world of estate agency to over-value your property in an attempt to impress you. Unfortunately, this may well come back to haunt as you are then likely to be under pressure further down the line to reduce your price should your property not sell. Interestingly, there are also agents who will under-value your property and whilst this is likely to get you a quick sale, you may well be in a much worse state financially than you would’ve been had you chosen an agent with realistic, market-driven valuations.
Obtaining a correct valuation is absolutely vital. Choose an agent that has a thorough working knowledge of current buyer behaviour and one that quotes a figure based on properties that have actually been sold with supporting evidence/comparisons.
You get what you pay for
Most people do not deal with estate agents very often so it’s easy to think that you should simply go with the agent with the lowest commission. This is often a huge mistake. It is a bit like buying a car without looking at anything else but the price. A cheaper car may well turn out to be a false economy if you then waste lots of time sorting out problems with it. The same is true of estate agents. A cheaper estate agency may well be using inexperienced negotiators (who won’t be advising you adequately), they may be short staffed (so you won’t always be kept informed about what’s going on with your sale) and they may have very limited cover at weekends (which may result in you missing out on offers from potential buyers). Also, if an agent will easily reduce their own fees, how much more willing will they be to reduce the price of your house? The amount you end up with in your pocket is surely more important than the percentage fees charged?
Make sure you choose an agent who uses a varied cross-section of media to tell people that your home is for sale. People are today making decisions quicker than ever, it is vital your photographs are impressive and capture your buyers eye, often buyers will only take the time to read the advert once seriously interested.
It’s a good idea to have a plan
Very few estate agents use professional floorplans in their property particulars, yet our research has shown that buyers overwhelmingly prefer them to written information and dimensions. Floorplans allow the potential buyer to get a real sense of layout and scale and can really bring your property to life.
Availability is Key
With buyers most preferable times to view a property in the evenings and at weekends, it makes sense to choose an agent that is open outside of normal office hours and is flexible when it comes to accommodating viewing times.
Many agencies are owned by large financial institutions that make more money from selling mortgages than they do from selling properties. This may not be obvious initially so do some checks before giving an agent your business.
Finding a buyer is a significant stage in the selling process (obviously) but an agent’s job should not stop there. Many sales have fallen through due to poor follow-up or inadequate liaison with surveyors or solicitors. Choose an agent who will be with you throughout the entire process.
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