Estate agents are not typically popular people, but if you want to make your way up the property ladder, chances are you are going to need one.
Choosing an agent can be a complicated task, with more variety than ever before on offer. Whether it is a large national chain, a small local agent or an online seller, there are benefits to each type of agent and it is important to choose the right one, both when it comes to the service they offer and the fees they charge.
Research into different Estate Agents
Many estate agents will do anything they can to attract you to their firm, by providing your property with over inflated valuations or simply by offering their service at a low fee to you. When estate agents do this, they may well be genuine and may provide exactly what you are looking for, but the chances are that you may be right to have some concerns. Although many people are happy with what their estate agents do, others can be left very unhappy, and so conducting extensive research into a variety of agencies is the way to ensure you won’t be left feeling short changed.
You should look at estate agents that have a wealth of experience with your property type and within your area, and this is because they are likely to have built up a bank of potential buyers and will know exactly how to handle your property. Once you have created a shortlist of potential estate agents, you should meet with them and have a discussion with them to get a feel for what approach they might take with your property.
Where to Find the right Estate Agent
There is nothing more valuable than a personal recommendation, so turning to friends and family is a great place to start. There are also websites that will tell you how an estate agent is performing when it comes to how long their properties are on the market and how close they come to the asking price. When it comes to a decision, get at least three to come and value your home for a true test of what they are like.
Online Agents, Sole Agencies and Multiple
The main benefit of an online estate agent is the price. Most tend to offer a much cheaper flat fee which needs to be paid up front. Whilst many people believe cheap is not always good, it does appear that these online agents are much more successful, achieving more than 95% of the asking price. Instructing a single agent is typically cheaper, as everything only has to be done once and fess are usually lower, however, multiple agencies can maximise your chances of selling by reaching a wider number of buyers. Dual agencies mean that both agents share the commission so make sure they are both happy with the arrangement.
Dealing with Agents
Always read the fine print in any contract and make sure you know how long you are tied-in with an agent. Make sure you always speak to your agent about anything you do not understand before signing the contract. Most of the available deals are not set in stone, so don’t be afraid to haggle. Whether it is the tie-in period, notice period or the fee itself, you have the right to negotiate.
Something that is very important to consider is the price that agents may value your property. Estate agents may promise an over exaggerated price for your property as a way to bring you onto their books, and so you need to prepare for this. You should look at prices for similar properties in your area and obtain a professional valuation so that you can be sure of which estate agents are offering you a reasonable target price, as this may reflect how they will be as an agency when working with them. Without reasonable pricing, your property could actually sell for less than it is worth, and so this is a very important part of the process for you to consider.
A good estate agent should be working on your behalf, so if there is something you are not happy with it is vital that you speak them as soon as possible. It is in everyone’s interest to sell your home at a good price and in a timely manner, so don’t be afraid to speak up if something doesn’t seem right.
How do you know you have found the right one?
Essentially the right estate agent is one who sells your home successfully. The marker of success is getting the best price for the lowest fee, but these are not the only things that can influence the decision of a seller.
The cost of selling your home will always be a primary factor when choosing which agent to list it with. However, a good estate agent is also judged by how they present themselves. It appears that many are put off by a flashy fashion sense, and a good phone manner was also listed as being very important, with many women being put off by over familiarity and pet names.
When choosing the best estate agent for you, looking at exactly what they will be providing to you as part of their service is essential. You should know who will be conducting viewings, how the property will be marketed, how big their bank of potential buyers is, as well as many other factors of the process. By understanding exactly what they will be doing as part of their service, you can make comparisons against other agencies, taking the price into consideration, to determine the best choice for you. A complete service at a fair price would define a good estate agent, but it of course depends on what you are looking to get out of the process.