How do I choose the BEST estate agent for me?
Tue 5 Sep 2017
Selling a home is important business! How can you recognise a good estate agent? Your home is your prized and probably most valuable possession and deserves the best. Your estate agent is there to help you sell your home; the crucial link in the chain. Deciding on a good agent will not only help you sell for the most money, but will also determine the level of support and success you receive throughout the whole process, from the initial valuation, right through to the money landing in your bank.
In short, picking the right agent for you is imperative.
To help you decide on the right man or woman for the job, I have put together some questions that I recommend you ask your agent before you make your decision:
- What will you do to sell my home?
A good agent will be happy to discuss this with you. They should always work proactively, for example, sending out your house details to any potential buyers, and should be able to tell you who they have contacted. Sometimes it’s possible for an agent to sell a house immediately by matching a home with a known buyer. Don’t be satisfied with the standard, “We’ll put in on Rightmove and Zoopla”. There’s much more to selling if you wish to reach the right buyers repeatedly and influence higher offers.
- Have any comparable properties sold recently?
Agents won’t necessarily disclose the sale price (this is not professional and undermines the privacy of the vendors), but they may be able to give you an idea of whether any price reduction was involved, or an idea of how long the house was on the market. Find out how your agent will maximise viewing figures. Make sure they’ve done their homework with regard to valuation and not just pulled a number out of the hat. You should expect to be presented with valuation evidence.
- Will you show me my Rightmove Performance Analysis?
Every agent in the country will probably advertise your property on Rightmove, and as part of the package, the agent can print off your ‘click-through’ rate figures. These figures show how many people view your initial advert and how many then click for ‘more details’. If your agent is not prepared to share these figures with you, or if they don’t use them, I suggest you look elsewhere. A good agent will talk through this report with you and suggest possible plans of action if your house is not receiving the attention it deserves.
- Will you take new pictures to attract new interest?
The main image of your home is the first thing people will see when searching for a house, and for that reason, it needs to be attractive and eye-catching. A ‘middle of the road’ photo could be the reason for a low viewing rate. Your agent should be prepared to revisit your home on a sunny day and take a new front shot, if necessary. Sometimes it’s worth changing it just to test out potential buyer’s reactions, or renew interest.
- Will you continually review the marketing?
Even a great agent cannot see the future. The market can change and a new approach may be needed. A good agent will always be prepared to sit down with you and discuss a plan of action, should your property not get the attention it deserves. Is there anything either you or your agent can do to speed up the sale? Marketing a property is an ‘ongoing’ task, and it may need a ‘tweak’ here and there. Perhaps the brochure needs re-wording, or maybe the online advert needs adjusting. In some cases a price reduction may be required, but ensure all other marketing options and adjustments have been considered first.
- How do you keep in touch with me and how often can I expect to be updated?
Building a good relationship with your estate agent is vital, and vice versa. A good agent will know that most clients appreciate honesty. If you feel that your agent is not communicating with you often enough, or telling you what you want to hear, and not showing you all their cards, it may be worth taking your business elsewhere. Honesty is ALWAYS the best policy, and you deserve nothing less.
- Do you offer weekend and evening accompanied viewings? Can buyers book viewings out of office hours?
Successful property selling is about getting the right buyers through your door. And as many as possible. I can think of so many times we have talked someone into viewing a property that they previously discounted for whatever reason – that they went on to buy. Often, the only way you can get a reluctant but proceedable buyer through your door is to offer a viewing at their convenience, not the agent’s. So there’s two crucial qualities you should look for in your agent. Firstly, check they will attend a viewing on a Saturday, Sunday or an evening if needed. Secondly, buyers must have the ability to book viewings, either online or via the phone well into the evening when most are looking online, 7 days a week. You don’t want your potential buyer to hit a voicemail service (or even worse, a line that just rings out) – they may not ring back!
- Will you provide viewer’s feedback?
It’s always useful to get an idea of any feedback from viewers, just to keep you in the picture and give you an idea of people’s opinions of your house. It’s not always easy to hear, and it needs to be kept in perspective, but it is definitely worth knowing. Some feedback may be useful, for example, if viewers are noticing a smell of dogs, you can have your carpets cleaned and use air fresheners. Some feedback, however, cannot be acted upon, for example, the garden is too small. The most important thing is that your agent gathers feedback at the viewing AND via phone call if possible the next day after the viewer has considered things overnight.
Finally, and this is really the most important tip when choosing an agent. Check their online reviews!
The best places are Facebook, Google and AllAgents.co.uk. Unlike other review sites, its very difficult for a ‘bad’ agent to have ‘bad’ reviews removed so you get a much more balanced, honest and useful rating. Avoid any agent that has disabled the review function on those websites, I leave you to guess why they may have done so…
I hope this list has given you some food for thought. Finding the best estate agent for you is not easy, but so important to get right. Choose wisely!
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In the meantime, all the best!
p.s. Are you curious what your house could be worth? Find out in around 53 seconds. Click here.
p.p.s. If you’ve enjoyed this blog and would like all my tips on selling your home quickly and for the best price, download my latest guide by clicking here.