How do I choose the right estate agent?
If you are thinking of selling, then it is likely you have asked yourself this question. On average homeowners tend to invite three estate agents around to value their property when they are looking to put it up for sale. Think about the agents in your area, who springs to mind initially? Usually, three estate agents will come to your mind quite easily. This is down to seeing estate agent’s boards, shops and marketing around and about your community. However, ask yourself – just because these estate agents are more visible does it necessarily mean that they are the best and they are the right agent for you?
It can be easily assumed that because these agents have the lion share of the market in your area, they have to be the best – right? Well, maybe they are or maybe they are not, but often before you figure this out you are tied into a contract that could have a financial or time penalty against it if you try and withdraw. If you want to sell for maximum value in the timescales you require, it is so important to get your sale off to the right start and fundamental to this is choosing the right estate agent.
They say that moving home is one of life’s most stressful events along with marriage and childbirth. When considering marriage, you wouldn’t just choose one of the first three wedding venues that sprung to your mind to hold your wedding, would you? I’m pretty sure most people would shop around. After all, you are spending a heck of a lot of money. It is going to be one of the most memorable days of your life, you wouldn’t just put this in the hands of anyone, would you? The same goes for selling your home – it is advisable to shop around. Here is our guide on how to choose the right estate agent.
Get a recommendation – Friends and family are always a good place to start with when looking for a recommendation. Do you know anyone who has sold recently? Ask them what their experience was like, who they used and if they were happy with the service. If they have had a bad experience, ask them if they have since heard of any estate agents in the area with a really good reputation.
Shortlist and research online – Once you have a shortlist of three agents, do a bit of research on them. Check out their online marketing. Rightmove is an excellent source of information for you to browse through and get a feel of how they market a property. What is their property photography like? What about the description? Do they include a floor plan? Compare the agents online marketing. Who do you think stands out?
Mystery shop – Give the estate agents a ring, ask them to send out a brochure for a property you are interested in (or pretend to be interested in). Pay note to how the agent is on the phone. Are they friendly, do they ask questions and enquire to see if you want to arrange a viewing on the property? Do they ask for your phone number? Just think, these are the people who could be speaking to one of your potential buyers. They should be grasping every opportunity to sell that property to the person on the other end of the phone. Ask yourself, could you deal with this agent? Where they enthusiastic, knowledgeable and helpful?
Assess the printed marketing – When the printed brochure arrives, scrutinise it. Is it the quality you would expect? Did it arrive in good time? Even small things like the condition of the envelope can be little clues into how much care the agent takes. For example, if there is a coffee cup ring on there, you know they have not taken much care at all. All these snippets can give you a good overall picture to how the agent would deal with a potential buyer and how they would present your property.
Face to face – You have whittled your list down and have built up a picture of each agent in your mind, now is the time to invite them into your home for a market appraisal. One of the key things to consider during a market appraisal is how well you think you will get on with the agent. This is vital because when the going gets tough you need someone you can pick up the phone to and can have a one to one, honest conversation with.
As you can imagine a market appraisal is an ideal opportunity for an agent to ‘sell’ themselves to you but with the background digging around and mystery shopping you have done you, should get a good feel for if they are the right agent for you. If everything they are telling you during your meeting goes against your experience when you mystery shopped them, then something will not ring true. However, if they are consistent through and through and you get a good gut feeling for them then I would suggest they are worth considering further.
Sometimes it can be easy to go for the highest, shiniest, price tag that an agent puts on your home. Try not to go for the agent that values your home the highest. It does not necessarily mean that you will get that price. You don’t want to be having a conversation about dropping the price within weeks of it going on the market. Try and weigh up all the advice all the agents give you. A good agent will talk you through why they value the house at a certain price. It is not a finger in the air exercise or some sort of sixth sense, there is a logic behind it and they should be able to explain this to you.
At Austin’s we believe that a major part in selling and letting homes is the relationships we have with our customers, buyers, sellers and landlords. Tending to and caring for such relationships is key to helping along the smooth sale of a home.
Your home is likely to be your most expensive and important asset. It makes sense to put the sale of it in the hands of an agent who cares and is knowledgeable. We would love to talk to you about how we can help you with this. Just drop us a line on 01902 244200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, look forward to hearing from you.