How to choose an estate agent
There are many ways to sell a home, from the current trend of ‘raffling’, to part-exchange, private sale or even by auction. However, most people still opt to appoint an estate agent, as it can speed up the process while removing unnecessary stress that can be associated with moving.
Many people ask how you choose an estate agent though? Here, we have created five areas to consider when looking for the right company to handle the procedure for you.
Unlike many transactions we make on a day-to-day basis, most people don’t frequently buy and sell their homes, so asking family and friends about their recent experience isn’t always relevant.
It’s not enough to just trust the agency down the road; you need to do some research to establish their understanding of the local environment, as potential buyers will have questions they expect answering. “What are the local schools like?” “How are connections to major towns or cities?” Most importantly, “What is the neighbourhood like?”
Another way to check is to use consumer review websites like Google or Trustpilot. Independent feedback is posted by individuals that have used a particular company. All reviews, good and bad, are published so you can get a good feel for what others really have experienced.
Don’t be afraid to ask more about the company’s background. An established agency will have many years of experience and most importantly will have acquired a fountain of industry knowledge. Know-how doesn’t always equate to capability though. You need be assured that the business has moved with the times and is up to date with current proceedings and legislations. Never be afraid to ask awkward questions.
3. Governing bodies
To help you ensure that an estate agent is trustworthy, check that they operate within the strict codes of conduct issued by the National Association of Estate Agents and the Property Ombudsman.
The membership will give you peace of mind that they are professionally governed and follow a strict set of rules.
It is often difficult to gauge whether the value of your property is in line with the market value and is also achievable. Just because one estate agent has suggested top dollar for your home, it doesn’t mean that this is what a buyer will pay for it. Overpricing a house can delay your sale, so it is best to get three different agencies to give their opinion of how much you can expect to get for it. A good estate agent will give you a value based on the condition of your house combined with a good understanding of how properties in the local vicinity are performing.
It is important to ask how the estate agent will be marketing your property. Do they use some (or all) of the major online property portals? Will your house feature on their website? Do they have a database of people that are currently looking for a property like yours in your area?
Remember, you will be paying a fee to your appointed agency, so it is in their best interest to sell your property as quickly and as hassle free for you as possible.