Which estate agent to choose?
If you’re buying then look at all the estate agents!
If you’re selling then you need to decide which one to use.
Look at several things firstly – are they on Rightmove being the most important thing.
Ask friends and family which they have used and which they liked.
Ring round a few making enquiries about buying a property. You’ll get a general idea about which handle your call well and are on the ball. If they can’t handle your enquiry very well as a buyer, then how will they handle the buyer of your house?
Have a look at the local property paper if there is one in your area. Is there one estate agent that has a huge number of pages? Which ads attract your attention? Does one agent stand out?
Make a shortlist. Make appointments with them to come and let them do their sales pitch. Get details in writing about what they offer you, what fees they charge, whether they recommend you do viewings,
You want the estate agents to value your property. Do not tell them what other agents have valued it at. Just because an agent values it higher than other ones doesn’t mean it’ll achieve that.
Fees are negotiable. Ask for fee of 1% with no lock in so if they don’t perform well you can easily leave them and find another agent. Giving notice to the agent can be one way they try and keep you with them – ask for 1 week after written notice. If they refuse then make a note of this. You’re after the best deal for you and the best agent for selling your house.
Look to see whether the estate agents are members of a professional body.
If you’ve been watching the property market locally for a while then you may well have noticed sale boards that have turned to sold. An agent that achieves sales locally might be able to do the same for you.
Once you have almost got ready to make a decision, ring up the offices again and make more buyer enquiries. Sometimes a second call can reveal something interesting that might change your mind.
If once you’ve agreed with an agent that they can sell, you feel they’re not doing a good job then ask them what they can do to help sell the house. If the photos aren’t right then ask to change them.
If you have no enquires after a week then ring up and ask why they think that is. If they say price, then remember they valued the house, not you!
They should be able to tell you how many people have looked at your property on Rightmove too.
If after a few weeks you’ve still got no enquiries then you have to work out why and do something about it. Sometimes changing agent can help, but it can be down to price or location, or a downward trend in the housing market.
I know some houses that were on the market a long time and only sold when they accepted a much lower offer. If the properties had been valued lower to start then they would have almost certainly sold quicker.
Changing agents should be a last resort – especially if you researched properly to start with. Don’t add agents, change them! A house on with multiple agents shows desperation. Sometimes you have to lower the price to attract interest. This can work well if you get several people interested and they are prepared to bid on the property in order to buy it. Sometimes seeing someone else interested in a property can make you want it more.
Ask friends to test out your agent. Give them the approximate location and type of house and see if your house is suggested to them. If it’s not, then you should ask your agent whether they can push your house more.
If you are sensible vetting agents and negotiating the fees and contract, as well as being realistic about price you should sell your house quickly, which then means you can get on with the buying and moving process.