Selling your home can be one of the most nerve-racking things you can do in life and is considered to be more stressful than actually buying one. Statistics state that on average, people typically move house six times before they reach the age of 45.
Buying a house will probably be the biggest financial investment you make, so when it comes time to sell it, it is important you use the right estate agent.
The right estate agent can advise you on the correct market value of your house to enable you to set a realistic selling price, they can also ensure that all legal requirements are met to allow the sale to go through smoothly.
Below are eight important questions you need to ask before you choose an estate agent.
- Are they familiar with selling a property similar to yours?
Regardless of how good the estate agency is, do they have a track record of selling properties similar to yours? Do they have the right approach and strategy? A city centre agency that has only ever sold apartments may not be a suitable choice to sell your sprawling country residence and vice versa. Ask them for details of similar properties to yours that they have on their books or have sold in the past. Do they have a waiting list of clients looking for a home like yours in your area?
- Do they market properties in a professional manner?
Look at the way existing listings are displayed and their marketing material. Are the images of a high quality and show the best aspects of the property and each individual room, are the property descriptions comprehensive and well written?
Does the estate agent make use of modern marketing technologies like LED light panels in the window displays, QR Codes that enable iPhone users to download property details from digital display screens in the agents window, 360 degree HD filming and drone footage? Do they have a good web presence? More potential buyers than ever start their search online now.
- Are they listing on all the main portals?
As stated above, most people now start looking for their new home online, usually by visiting one of the many internet based property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. Does the agency you are planning to use list on these portals thereby giving your property maximum exposure across the web?
- What are their fees?
Estate agents fees can vary greatly, generally they charge anything from 1 to 5 per cent plus VAT. It pays to negotiate on the percentage rate, as even a quarter of a percent can make a big difference on an expensive house.
- How will you communicate with them?
Find out how you will communicate with your estate during the sale process. Will you have one point of contact and how will you contact that person? Are you able to ring them freely or will you only be able to leave messages via email?
Are they registered with any independent regulatory organisations?
Are the estate agents you are thinking of using registered with any organisations that stipulate a code of practice and ethics that agents must follow? Typical examples are the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), the Guild of Professional Estate Agents and The Property Ombudsman.
- What type of contract will you have?
An estate agent may offer you several different types of contract to sell your home, the main two being:
Sole agency – Giving the agent “sole selling rights” and no other agency can market your property.
Multi agency – As the name suggests, you can use several agents and only pay commission to the one who sells your property.
You also need to ask how long the contract will run for and do they have a clear and defined complaints procedure if you are not happy with their service?
- Do they come recommended or have good reviews?
An estate agent may well tick all the boxes above, but do they have a good reputation. What is the general consensus of opinion about them within the towns that they operate? Have you searched for any information about them via online forums and consumer review websites like Trustpilot etc?