1. Request recommendations
This might seem an apparent location to begin, however, ask friends, relatives, and associates who have recently moved which estate agents they utilised and what they thought of them.
Also, search in your local area at the “for sale” and “offered” indications; it’s a useful sign of the agents that work well in your location.
2. Inspect market qualifications
Estate agents now have to be members of The Property Ombudsman or The Surveyors Ombudsman Scheme.
Many estate agents will also be members of trade bodies. Membership suggests that they need to abide by a code of conduct, which might indicate a higher level of professionalism and diligence. Trade bodies to watch out for are:
You need to be able to research this without needing to set foot in an estate agent’s branch. Members of these plans will be shouting about it on their websites.
3. Go undercover
Visit your shortlisted estate agents as prospective buyers trying to find a property like your home. Take note of how they behave and ask yourself 2 questions:
- Would you be happy if the property being described was yours?
- Would you purchase a residential or commercial property from them?
4. Invite three agents to value your home
Shortlist your agents and make sure to get at least 3 valuations.
When your home or business is valued it’s important not to be too impressed by the agent that values your home the highest – this might be a tactic to win your company.
Preferably, you need an agent who is going to be truthful and fair, not one who is going to miscalculate your property then fail to get a buyer at that rate.
5. Ask these concerns:
What does it cost? Does the agent charge for sole agency and exactly what is the tie-in duration?
A sole agency is where one agent has the exclusive right to sell your home or business for a set duration. If your home or business is sold by another agent in this time you will still need to pay the sole agent their fee, in addition to the agent who offered it. As a rule, costs for sole agency can vary between 1% and 2% of the list price, with a tie-in duration of approximately eight weeks.
What does it cost? Does the agent charge for multi-agency?
A multi-agency plan implies numerous agents will have your property on their books, with the successful agency being given the cost. Usually speaking, this charge will be in the region of 1.5% to 2.5% of the sale price.
How long has the agent been established and exactly what is their experience?
A reputable agent that has experience selling residential or commercial properties in the immediate vicinity of your home is preferable.
How will your house be advertised? Will it appear in the regional paper? On a residential or commercial property site such as Rightmove? Is the agency able to reveal examples of how they market properties?
Who will look after viewings? Will the estate agent be present at all viewings?
Examine as to whether they will be available throughout evenings and weekends.
6. Choose in between sole and multi-agency, then haggle
Sole agency is more affordable, however, the net isn’t really cast as wide and there may be less possibility of a quick sale. Multi-agency costs more, however, indicates that your home or business will get more exposure, which increases the prospect of a fast sale.
You may decide to begin with a sole agency, transferring to a multi-agency at the end of the tie-in period. Or you might choose to jump directly in with multi-agency.
Whichever you select, now is the time to bargain. If one agent is more pricey than the others, see if you can get their rate down.
7. Check out the terms of the contract
Ensure you’re pleased with all the fine print prior to signing anything. Do not be afraid to question things you don’t comprehend or do not agree with.
8. Evaluation of your agent’s efficiency
After a few weeks for multi-agency, or towards the end of the tie-in period for sole agency, evaluate your estate agent’s efficiency.
How many viewings have you had? Who from? How did they go?
Has the agent been marketing the home and working as hard as you expected?
Likewise, ask for feedback from the agent. If you’ve not had viewings, or have had watchings but no deals, the agent can give insight. It might be you’re priced expensive, or that there’s a location of the residential or commercial property that might be spruced up to encourage a sale.