8 things to consider when picking an estate agent

Selling a property can be full of unexpected hurdles, disappointments and setbacks, but finding a good estate agent to walk you through the process is invaluable. Here are our top tips to consider before picking someone to market your property.

It’s more stressful than having a baby, starting a new job or planning a wedding, yet some people do it multiple times during their lifetime. We’re of course talking about selling a property.

According to a 2016 survey by home buying company Vivo, selling up is the most stressful thing you will do in your life; but your choice of estate agent can be pivotal in making the process run as smoothly as possible.

With that in mind, SoGlos has joined forces with Cheltenham estate agent Charles Lear, sharing the eight things you should consider before you pick an agent.

For more information about Charles Lear visit charleslear.co.uk directly.

1. Asking for recommendations

Asking friends for recommendations is always a good place to start. But, bear in mind that they may have sold a very different property to yours. Factors like size, location and the market at the time of sale can have a huge impact on an agent’s perceived performance, so experiences aren’t easily comparable.

Asking neighbours will often provide a more helpful recommendation.

2. Check out the competition

Pour a glass of something nice and spend the night looking through property websites for homes similar to yours in both design and location.

Not only will this give you a rough guide of how much your property could be worth but will also give you some indication of which agents are selling most regularly in your area.

Doing online checks every couple of weeks can also provide an impression of how long properties in your area will stay on the market.

3. Photography

Photos are incredibly important. While researching the competition, take note of agents which have photographs that made you click! Even if the properties aren’t similar to the one you’re hoping to sell, a fantastic image can be the difference between someone viewing your property or scrolling on by.

When you’re speaking with agents, ask them who takes their photos. Do they take photos on their smart phone, or will they send a professional photographer to your home?

Professional quality images taken using a wide-angle lens can transform small rooms, while a knowledge of good lighting tricks can make the most of darker spaces.

3. Industry credentials

Once you have a shortlist of potential agents, it’s important to find out if they’re qualified.

All good estate agencies will be registered with The Property Ombudsman (TPO) which has a handy tool on its website to search for members.

Some estate agents will also be registered with additional bodies such as the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) or the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This isn’t essential but can offer you extra protection.

4. Find out where your home will be advertised

While seeing your home in the estate agent’s window can make the selling process seem quite real, it might not be the best way to get your house seen.

Ensure that the agent you pick is registered with online selling websites such as Rightmove or Zoopla. There is often the option to upgrade your listing online so it appears higher in searches and highlights your property with multiple large images.

Ask your agent how regularly they intend to feature your property in this way, and which platform tends to perform best for properties like yours. Ensure they know their online market, as well as the local one.

5. The rule of three

Invite three estate agents to value your property. By doing this, you’ll have a realistic idea of how much your property is worth.

Each agent may also give you different advice on how to improve your property ahead of sale, using insight from their customers. While criticism can be tough to hear (especially when it’s about your home) estate agents will know which layouts work best for families, or which colours are proving most desirable to young couples. Heed their advice!

6. Price isn’t everything

Some people think that they should always list with the agent who values their property highest, but this can prove to be counter-productive. Remember your research; is the estimate higher than similar properties in the area; are you offering any more than the competition to justify that price? If you’re surprised by the high valuation, potential buyers probably will be, too.

It’s also worth noting that different agents have different fees. The most expensive isn’t always the best, but the cheapest might not be either! Make sure you have a rapport with your agent and ultimately, that you trust them. It’s not worth wasting time listing with a cheaper agent, if you don’t think they’ll do a great job.

7. Can they sell you your own home?

During the valuation process, take note of the positives the agent picks out in your home and ensure that they’re aware of what’s great about living there.

Ask them to tell you about each room’s highlights. If they’re making you remember why you bought the property in the first place, they’ll help new buyers see the potential, too.

8. Sole or multiple agency

Selling a home isn’t like getting married – you can pick more than one person to do it with!

Some agents will require that they have sole agency for a set period of time, but often this is negotiable. After all, if you’re not seeing results quickly, you want to be able to make a change.

Another option is to take a multiple agency agreement. This is where you use a number of agents to market your property. This can be a good idea if there are lots of similar properties on the market with few buyers.

However, if you have an unusual or desirable style of property to sell, where buyers are fighting for a viewing, a sole agent might get better results.

For more information call (01242) 222722 or visit charleslear.co.uk directly.

© SoGlos
Tuesday 26 June 2018

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