When looking for the perfect estate agent for you and your property, the borough of Newham has plenty of choices. That's why I created a checklist to help you find the perfect estate agent to help sell your home. As also, please feel free to contact me should you have any qustions or need help. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0203 101 2627
Remember: the agent works for you
When you are selling a property, it’s vital that you find the best estate agent for you.
The first decision you have to make is how many estate agents you should use. Home sellers usually select just one estate agent. This can be simpler to manage and is usually cheaper as agents will charge more for multiple agency arrangements. Using one estate agent also avoids the risk of the seller paying double commission.
If you do end up choosing more than one agent, make sure they are clear with their T&C’s as you could end up paying out commission to multiple estate agents.
Make a shortlist of estate agents
When it comes to choosing the best estate agent, it helps if you can shortlist your options to three.
Here is a list to help you draw up a shortlist, then invite the handful of estate agents round to do a valuation. In drawing up a shortlist you should:
- Ask family, friends and neighbours – it’s always good to have a personal recommendation
- Compare local estate agents based on the facts: how quickly they sell property, how close they come to achieving the asking price and how successful they are.
- Make sure the estate agent has experience of selling property like yours.
- Look at the properties that the agent sells on Zoopla and Rightmove. Are the pictures and videos well taken, and the descriptions clear and relevant?
- Do not feel pressured to hire the estate agent you bought your house from. Obviously, if you were impressed by how they sold your house to you, you might decide to go with them again in which case, add them to your shortlist.
- What is their viewing policy? Check they will accompany potential buyers when you are out, or all the time if you want them to take the lead.
- Find out about their standard terms & conditions, particularly their standard commission rate and typical tie in period.
- Check out their social media pages, are they active on their accounts and do they use them to further promote their properties.
- How many properties do they take on at any one time. Ideally, you want an estate agent that only takes on a handful of properties at any one time. Meaning they have more focus on the marketing and representation of your property.
- How local are they? You want an estate agent that knows your micro-market well. Ask them questions about the local property market and learn how clued on they are to the property market within your area.
Property marketing strategy
In choosing the best estate agent, it’s important to establish how they plan to market your property. You need to understand what their plans are, and be comfortable with their approach. You should ask them:
- Which portals are they are using? You want your home listed on the big property portals namely Zoopla and Rightmove.
- Will they advertise your property in local newspapers or any other marketing outlets? Which ones? If you are selling a more expensive property, will it feature in any national newspapers or magazines?
Questions to ask your estate agent
Choosing an estate agent is important – but how do you separate the good agents from the bad? Here are some questions you can ask to help you find the right estate agent for you and your property.
What are your fees, and are there any other costs?
Estate agents will often charge you a fee as a percentage of the sale price of the property. Note that fees are quoted with and without VAT but you will be advised how much the fee will be if the property is sold at the asking price.
Some estate agents offer their services for a fixed upfront fee, and this is particularly common with online/hybrid estate agents. Upfront fees can work out cheaper but remember these fees are paid before you have sold and you don’t get your money back if the agent doesn’t sell your property. You may end up having to pay two agents if the first one can’t find you the buyer you need and you decide you need help from another agent.
When are your fees due?
It’s important to find out when estate agent fees are due to be paid, to avoid any costs coming at unexpected times.
What type of contracts do you offer?
There are several types of contacts you can enter into with an estate agent when selling your property. The typical ones are:
Am I tied into a contract for a particular amount of time?
- Sole Selling Rights – This type of contract means the estate agent is the only one allowed to sell your property during the period stipulated. If you know someone who may buy your property before you instruct your agent it is important that you get them excluded from the terms of this contract.
- Sole Agency – This means that while the agent is the only agent with the right to sell your property, you can also look to find a buyer yourself. Remember that it must be someone who found out about your property outside any marketing the agent has done e.g. a family friend
- Joint Agency – This means you can ask agents, often two, to work together to look to find a buyer. The fee will be shared between them either 50/50 or with the agent finding the successful buyer getting a slightly larger proportion. Fees for this type of contract are often higher than Sole agencies.
- Multi-Agency – This type of contract means you can use as many agents as you like and pay commission to the one who sells your property. Fees with this type of contract are typically higher, but you also need to consider that the estate agents are in direct competition with each other to find the successful buyer, and faster than the other agents. This means their obligation to provide ‘best advice’ on the buyers is reduced and it will be up to you to decide if you should accept an offer or wait to find someone better.
Estate agent contracts typically include a marketing period. This is the period that the estate agent commits to spending money marketing your property and you commit to working with them to find the right buyer for you.
Before choosing an estate agent, you’ll want to make sure they know the local market well and are active in the area. It could be an advantage to use an agent who has recently sold similar properties to yours in your area, because they may already have a list of potential buyers who would be interested in yours.
How much is my property worth?
It’s wise to ensure your estate agent is using comparable data to give you a guide on the price you should market your property for. There are several factors that will influence the price of your home, such as its size, condition and location, as well as the current market conditions. Buyers will compare your property with what else is available to decide if it is the best they can get. The price you market for is ultimately your decision and you should decide the figure based on how quickly you need to move and so how quickly you need to secure a buyer. If you have no deadlines you can certainly consider marketing at an optimistic price as the perfect buyer will always be tempted to pay a premium for their perfect home. If you need to move very quickly then the price must reflect this fact to ensure you get a high volume of enquiries quickly and a buyer who is able to move quickly can be identified.
How quickly do you sell properties like mine?
You can gauge the performance of an estate agent by asking for information on their success rate of selling properties like yours, but don’t be obsessed with speed. It is an important factor but you should also look to identify the agent that spends the time and energy to get the best prices in the area as well.
Is my property ready to sell, and how can I best dress it for marketing?
Getting your estate agent’s opinion on the condition of your property and how to get it ready for sale is important, as it is likely to have an impact on the number and value of offers you receive.
A good estate will give advice on how to attract more interest in your property, and to make it look as appealing as possible once buyers are viewing your home. This could involve redecorating in a more neutral colour scheme, completing any odd DIY jobs, and generally decluttering.