If you want the right estate agent, you will need to do your homework. You want someone who truly understands you, your needs and your property – not someone who is just going to give you lip service.
This means putting in the effort now. You want the very best result from your house sale, both in terms of price and the effort put in from your estate agent. If, however, you want to base your choice of estate agent solely on the one charging you the least commission, you’ll find they’re less likely to do the actual work needed – and you’ll be doing the brunt of the work AND the chasing around, in order to sell your house.
Estate agents are just like other sales people
Estate agents see your home as a commodity, something that will make them money, if they sell it. A good estate agent, like any other good sales person, will appreciate that, in order to make a sale, they have to put in some work. They will do everything they can to ensure you get the best price for your home – after all, if they build up a decent relationship with you and do their best for you and your home, the chances are you’ll use them to buy your next home or at least recommend them to everyone else. A bad estate agent however, will just want to make a commission.
The lure of a low commission can be appealing to you, especially if you’re on a tight budget. However, if after a set period of time your house hasn’t sold and the state agent wants to lower the price by £10K, this decrease won’t really effect their commission – but YOU will notice a difference in your end result – especially if you’re using the money to buy another home or finance your child’s education.
How to do your homework on estate agents
When it comes to finding the best estate agent for you, you’ll want to have an end shortlist of three, so look to use the first two steps to narrow down your options:
#1: Look for estate agents that cover your area and ascertain the following:
- Do they cater for your type of property and price bracket?
- Are they local to you? A local estate agent will know the area well AND be able to meet potential buyers a lot easier than one that isn’t local.
- Where do they advertise? Have you seen them online and offline?
If your home is an unusual or expensive one – is there a national estate agent who specialises in homes like yours?
#2: Make a shortlist of potential estate agents and contact them via telephone, in order to get answers to the following questions:
- How professional do they sound?
- Do they sound interested in helping you or just in getting you off the phone?
- Do they regularly contact their potential buyers when new homes come onto market, or wait for the buyer to do the chasing?
- How often do they contact you?
- What viewing policies do they have? Do they accompany all viewers – or do they expect you to do so? Do they ring to let you know in advance?
- Do they provide references?
- Are you able to contact previous clients? Who are their clients and how does the client experience match to their offer?
Only once you have narrowed your options do to the final three, would I recommend meeting with them face-to-face – no matter how much they push you to do so on the phone!
#3: Arrange to meet them at their offices and ascertain the following:
- How well displayed are their window advertisements? Do all properties have decent photographs and write ups?
- How professional are they in person? The easiest way to find this out is to go in an act interested in one of their properties. Are they competent, respectful and courteous?
- Where do they advertise (locally and online)?
- Will they feature your house in their window and where will else will it be advertised?
- What are their plans to sell your home? How proactive will they be and what examples can they give you?
Use the checklist above to help you select your final choice of estate agent. You can then make a plan together, on the best option to move your home sale toward a speedy conclusion. If you have any questions on interviewing estate agents, why not post them in the comments box below.