How To Choose An Estate Agent – Your Personal Checklist

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choosing estate agent

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When you plan to sell or buy a house, choosing a reliable and effective real estate agent is of utmost importance. With many agents offering their services, it may be complicated to understand what to pay attention to when signing a contract.

Luckily, there are several factors that you can focus on to make this process less stressful. Below, we prepared a short personal checklist you can follow in choosing the best estate agent for you.

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Ask for Recommendations

The initial step in finding a good estate agent is asking for recommendations. You should exploit all the available options at this stage, such as asking your friends and relatives if they know a reliable and trustworthy agent. You should also walk down a high street and see which agent’s window may be appealing to you.

Following this, you should make a shortlist of several estate agents or companies. Browse their websites to find out if they appeal to you and you want to see your property listed on them. Additionally, you may rightfully choose to go and meet your potential agent in person to ask all the questions about them.

Estate Agent Experience

Obviously, experience in the real estate industry is crucial for success. Agents with years of experience behind their backs can market your property effectively and in a shorter time. When you are browsing through proposals from estate agents, there are some clear indications of experience you can look for:

  • Overall time spent working in the real estate industry.
  • Information about sales volumes for the past year.
  • A professional real estate agent license.
  • A number of concurring clients an agent has.
  • Any training or professional courses completed recently.

Needless to say, that even agents that are just starting their real estate career can perform well. If you want to add another layer of precautions, you may ask for the list of houses an agent sold recently to understand their typical sales better.

Market Knowledge

While general experience in the real estate industry is a must, the effective agent should have an intricate understanding of the local market. More specifically, you would want your agent to know the current market situation for your particular neighbourhood.

A competent estate agent should have a deep understanding of your region and its sales history and compare relevant properties. If they have a good record of selling properties similar to yours, this may be a good sign of a solid grasp over the local market.

Marketing Strategy

When choosing an estate agent, it is essential to understand how they will market your house and what channels will be used to do so. You may ask an agent about the following:

  • Will they promote your listing using virtual tours and premium options on services such as Rightmove?
  • Will there be a newspaper advertisement for your property?
  • Will they use social media to share information about your house more quickly?

Decide Between Sole or Multi-Agency

While a sole agency may be cheaper, you may have to wait longer for your sale to get enough market exposure and viewings. Alternatively, multi-agency will increase the chance of a quick sale due to a more significant outreach potential. Of course, a multi-agency tends to be pricier than a sole one.

You may decide to start with a sole agency, and once the tie-in period ends, switch to a multi-agency. However, whatever agency you choose, pay close attention to the contract details at all times.

Things to Consider in the Estate Agent Contract

Estate agents’ contracts may have hidden costs and other caveats that need to be considered and clarified before committing to a deal. You should check several simple things to help sign a fair and beneficial contract with an agent.

  • How much will they charge? Estate agents usually charge a percentage fee based on the selling price of the property. The fee may differ significantly if you choose high street agents but vary in the range between 0.75% and 3.5%. The type of contract you sign will also affect the fee. You should also clarify if the fees were paid upfront or after the sale of a property.
  • How long is the tie-in period? According to general practice, you should not be tied in the contract for more than 12 weeks. Individual estate agents can include other periods, and you may negotiate them. Keep an eye on early withdrawal fees that you may end up paying should you choose to terminate the contract earlier.
  • Future liability fees. Some estate agent’s contracts may include these set of fees to safeguard the agents who introduced the buyers. If the buyer decides to pull out of the deal with their initial agent and choose to proceed with the second agent, they may pay additional fees.
  • Check for additional costs. The law requires estate agents to disclose what is included in their fees. Thus, you should inquire with the agent if they charge for an Energy Performance Certificate, for example, or provide it for free.

Importance of Valuations

One of the main points to be aware of when choosing an estate agent is how they give valuations. After all, this is the reason you are looking for an agent in the first place. In general, estate agents can be either optimistic and reassuring giving you a high initial valuation only to lower the price in a while or try to impress you with a more realistic price.

The wise thing to do would be to invite several agents to give a valuation and see whose approach seems most competent and promising to you.

Moreover, you need to beware of overvaluations, as they may result in an eventual significant price decrease or make your sale take longer than anticipated.

Final thoughts

Though choosing an estate agent may be tricky, having all the necessary information at your disposal will help significantly. Pay attention to fundamental aspects of your partnership, and you will have a successful experience navigating real estate deals.

This article was written by ActivePipe, a leading online marketing platform for estate agents and mortgage brokers. Find out more about them at their website.

If you’re an industry expert, or feel you have some insight to give, get in touch with our editor today!

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photo of Millie Archer

Millie is a perfectionist with a passion for property and writing articles. You’ll find her researching the latest housing trends and the newest up and coming areas worth investing in. Read more about Millie here.

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About Millie Archer 142 Articles
Millie is a perfectionist with a passion for property and writing articles. You'll find her researching the latest housing trends and the newest up and coming areas worth investing in. Read more about Millie here.

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