Should be easy to find an estate agent shouldn’t it, after all there are a dozen on the high street; they are in the property paper and they are always putting flyers through your door telling you they have a buyer for your home… just call this number for a free valuation. So yes, it is easy to find an estate agent, but, the right one for you, that may be a different matter.
I have heard it all, from the potential vendors point of view, ‘‘you all do the same thing, so long as you put it on Rightmove I will be ok’’. ‘‘I chose them because I found one through them’’. ‘‘I bought from them, so just as easy to sell through them’’ – Don’t get me wrong these are all valid reasons. However, I believe people should put a little more effort in before they even invite the ‘valuer’ through their door, after all this is probably your biggest asset.
Not all agents are the same, just as not all clients are the same; it is potentially a very stressful experience selling your home. You need to trust and have faith in your agent so; may I suggest some ground work? Don’t just pick three at random, put the groundwork in then invite round three agents from the firms that seem to most closely match your needs.
- Mystery Shop. Register with all the agents as a buyer, by phone or in person. How are you treated, were you made welcome, did you feel comfortable with the person, did they take your details? Were they knowledgeable? Did they ask if you would like to make a viewing? What are the details like, floorplans, lots of colour pictures? Or, are the details single sided toilet paper, were you bombarded with attempts to get appointments to see the mortgage advisor, book a valuation? Basically, did you feel you were treated as a person or as a target? How you are treated is how your potential buyers will be treated, don’t forget we buy from people we like!
- Email in requesting details. Do you get a response? If you do, how long did it take?
- Check the websites and press. Do you like their ads, good pictures, wording? Try and choose an agent who appears to mainly deal in properties like yours, no point putting a £150,000 property with an agent who mainly deals in manor houses, and vice versa. If you choose a matching agent they are more likely to have existing clients on their books looking for a home like yours.
- Talk to people, ask about their experiences. Would they use an agent again, did they feel they communicated, whilst you are at it ask about solicitors, you pay them a lot to you know.
Now invite your chosen three round…
- If they ask you for your thoughts on value before giving their own, say you invited them round for their opinion, it is ok to discuss it after they have committed.
- Have they brought comparables and evidence, are they relevant to your home? Or, have they just dragged out a big sales file telling you all about their great services and how fabulous they are? It is ok to be proud of your firm and yourself (I am) but I would rather see genuine thank you letters than a pre-printed mission statement.
- Do you feel comfortable with the person, are they knowledgeable, do they ask about you, your reasons for moving, do they listen or is it one big sales pitch! When they leave are you relaxed and more informed or are you just glad to see the back of them?
- Ask about their terms and conditions, including fee, fixed or percentage, agency period, dis-instruction period, how much for an epc. People always seem to worry about the fee, then sign up to a 20 week contract; this can be a much more costly mistake.
- Meet with all three agents before making a decision, don’t forget if they persuade you to sign up on the day you have a 7 day cooling off period (check their T’s & C’s) Make your decision after weighing up all the pro’s and con’s, sometimes the most expensive agent is the one for you, and sometimes the cheapest one may be, or even the one in-between, but, if you have done your homework hopefully you have found one to trust and that is far more important!
Estate Agent Dad
Huge thanks to Mark for taking the time to write this article and share his knowledge and insight. You can follow him daily on Twitter @EstateAgentDad