Have you done your homework on estate agents?

When it comes to picking the right estate agent, you have 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.

Put in the effort now, and you’ll reap the rewards when your house sale is completed. Don’t do your homework however, and you’ll end up making a decision that is purely based on you being swayed by those who are just happy to charge you less commission… but unwilling to do the actual work needed to help you sell your house.

Is a low commission really that bad?

estate agents feesEstate agents are just sales people, at the end of the day – their income is subsidised by what they sell. Your home is a commodity for them and they just want to make some money – whether it’s selling your home or selling house insurance. Low commissions appeal to those on a budget… but before you get swayed to take them up on their offer, do you homework first.

A good estate agent will do everything they can to ensure you get the best price for your home… a bad estate agent will just want to make a commission.

Let’s say they have nothing else to offer you, other than a low commission. After 6 weeks of trying to sell your house, they come to you and ask you to lower your selling price by £10k. That difference in price will have no real effect on their commission – but to you – the loss would be more, for example, it could’ve paid for your grandchild’s education or paid for a car or holiday.

Are they already selling what you have to sell?

Take a look at what they currently have on their books. What size properties do they currently sell? Are their prices usually lower or higher than yours? If you home is particularly unusual or expensive, you may be better off looking for a national estate agent who specialises in homes like yours.

What do they have to offer?

estate agentsAre they local to you? A local estate agent will know the area well AND be able to meet with prospective buyers a lot easier than one who isn’t local.

How professional are they? 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?

What about their advertising? Do all their properties have decent photographs and write ups? Do they advertise locally and online? Will they feature your house in their window and where will else will it be advertised? Do they regularly contact their potential buyers when new homes come onto market, or wait for the buyer to do the chasing?

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?

Use the checklist above to help you decide which three agents you will interview on the phone. At this stage you DO NOT want to visit them in person – however much they try to persuade you otherwise!

Images courtesy of hywards & Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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