There is now so much choice when deciding which estate agent to go for; do you go online, high street, independent, corporate…there are many different things to consider.
My method is to create a shortlist of three agents, but with one common theme; make sure they are local and well-established so they know the area well.
If you’re a couple, or own the house with extended family, it is best to try to have both (or all) of you there, to ensure you all take in the information and are happy with the decisions you are making. During the appointment itself, I would try and make sure you ask the following questions so you are fully informed when you do make the decision regarding whether to go with an agent or not:
- Fees – with the competition bigger than ever, estate agents are now very competitive and in some cases are not charging much more than online agents. Typically, the fee will be 0.75% – 3% (plus VAT).
- Additional costs – a low fee may seem attractive at first but double-check to see what is included. Will you be asked to pay extra for a ‘For Sale’ board, EPC, photography, floorplans?
- Photography – for me, this is crucial! It is worth checking to see how good the agents’ own photos are; however, often I would say it is worth getting a professional photographer in. The majority of agents will have someone they use and recommend regularly; check to see if this is included with the fee first, but if it is not then definitely check how much it costs. I personally feel you want to show your home off to the best of its ability. After all, you wouldn’t turn up to a job interview looking scruffy; it is worth applying the same thoughts to selling your home.
- Marketing – the majority of buyers will use portals to search for property. The likes of Rightmove and Zoopla, amongst many, are extremely popular and it is worth checking that the agent is definitely listed on one of these. It is also worth checking if the agent has a social media presence; do they have a Facebook or Twitter account, do they post regularly and are the posts followed? Many buyers of many different ages will check these pages, and as a seller it is worth seeing what kind of reviews they are getting.
- Contract – make sure you read it thoroughly, and check the small print. Is it a sole selling rights contract? How long is the contract for? Is there a withdrawal fee? Will you be charged for selling through another agent at a later date, and if so, how long is this period for?
- Compatibility – this is really important, and isn’t something that is easy to define. Ultimately, you will be speaking to the agent frequently and are relying on them to get you the best offer possible, so you need to get along with each other and feel that you can trust them.
Don’t be afraid to write down a list of questions or points you want to cover in the appointment. A good estate agent will want you to feel happy and at ease, as ultimately the process is much more likely to be a success if you feel you have made an informed decision.