How to choose the right estate agent to sell your home

For many of us, buying or selling a property can be a daunting and stressful process that if not managed correctly, can be a little scary at times. Therefore, it’s essential you choose the right estate agent.

It’s so important to partner with people you trust, that have the knowledge to manage the process and care about providing the best possible service to their clients.

Whilst there are many estate agents to choose from, not all agencies are the same. Some will be more suitable for your needs than others and some operate with the property transaction market in different ways.

OnTheMarket agent Goldschmidt and Howland has provided their top tips for choosing the right estate agent when you’re looking to sell your property:

How do you choose your estate agent?

The estate agency landscape has changed so much over the years. We have traditional agents, online agents, and those that operate in between. How do you choose which one is right for you? And do they do the same thing? It’s important to make your decision based on what’s right for you.

Often, online estate agents will ask the owner to show the property to potential buyers directly. Whereas traditional agents will have their own sales negotiators show the property. These sales negotiators may already have a good working relationship with the buyer having shown them other properties and will have informed the potential buyer of all the key details before the viewing.

Create a shortlist:

Ask people you know and trust for recommendations. Have they recently sold, or do they know someone that has had a recent good experience with a local agent? Are you regularly seeing the same For Sale or Sold boards in the area?

When walking down your local high street make sure to look in the agent windows. Who operates in your sector of the market and has similar properties for sale? This is hugely important, not only because the agent is therefore likely to understand how best to sell that type of property, but also, the marketing of those properties will have generated a database of buyers that might also be transferrable for you.

Take a closer look:

Now it’s time to find out more information about the companies on your shortlist. Reputation, performance, and credibility should be high on your checklist. Be thorough with your research. Review their websites and look at their company information. Make sure you look at the properties they’re listing for sale. All this information should help to provide you with a good idea of the stronger agents in your area.

You should then ask these agents to visit your property, give you their opinion on the value, and explain how they’ll help you achieve the best possible price from a reliable buyer.

Making contact:

While it’s a far simpler process to email or call the agents, the best way to get a feel for how they deal with their clients and customers is to visit their offices. This will help you to get a good sense of who they are and how they operate. You’re about to ask them to deal with your most valuable asset, so it’s worth investing the time to better understand whether they’re people you can trust and work with.

The valuation:

The agents will provide you with a view on their suggested asking price, their marketing methods and how best to achieve the price. Make sure you ask the agents to justify their value of your property by showing you examples of similar ones that are on the market and those that they have recently sold.

Help the agent to help you:

To ensure you achieve the best possible outcome, take the time to fully explain the circumstances behind the sale and your needs. Perhaps you need to achieve a sale by a certain date for a specific reason. A good agent will tailor their approach to your requirements and work within the parameters that work for you.

Ask a lot of questions:

You’ll already have a good idea of how these agents showcase their clients’ properties from your earlier fact-finding process but ask how they’ll go about marketing your property. Have they recently sold a similar property which has generated current and relevant “hot” perspective buyers already on their books? How often will they keep in touch with you? How do they qualify an offer? A good agent will take the time to explain the process properly and in a language that makes sense.

You should ask what their due diligence process is and whether it’s reliable. We’d recommend asking what their fall through rate is. This can be very expensive for you as a client and it’s very important to make sure the sale completes.

What you can expect to pay:

The agent will charge a fee which is usually a percentage of the achieved sales price. Whilst the fee is an important factor, it shouldn’t be the drive. Low fees can equal low service standards in some cases, which could cost you more in the long run with poor negotiation fees and aborted legal fees.

There may also be additional costs for things like advertising or a photographer, and there might also be a fee if you withdraw the property from sale.

It’s important that you run through this with your agent and ask them to explain to ensure you understand all the associated costs.

The amount you pay will depend on the basis of instruction and the services the agent is providing.

Make a value judgement based on performance and don’t assume the cheapest is best.

The chosen one:

You’ve now met the agents, had their opinions on value and found out what they’ll do for you. It’s likely that you’ll gravitate to some individuals more than others.

Make sure your choice is based on all the facts and whether you appoint just the one agency, or several, make sure that the agents fully understand your expectations.

In practice, it’s often better to choose one good agent as your “sole agent”. They’ll maximise the marketing message and overall, you’ll pay lower fees. Recommendations and referrals are fundamental to the growth and success of all businesses, especially in a village environment where people talk and especially where property is concerned.

Working together:

Now you’ve made your choice, it’s time to reach out to your chosen agent. They’ll finalise the details, issue a contract, and when signed, they can start the process of putting your property on the market. They’ll produce professional photography and creating property details worthy of your home.