Putting your property on the market is a big and exciting step to take. However, the process can be daunting, stressful, costly, and not a decision to be taken lightly.
With the amount of money that changes hands, finding the right estate agent is vital to guarantee you are getting the best service, and your house has the greatest chance of selling for its true value.
To help you with your first steps to finding an agent, here are 10 questions to ask when choosing an estate agent.
A big first step into finding the right estate agent is asking them about how long they have been selling properties, what experience they have in selling in the local area, and if they have sold similar properties to yours.
Asking these questions will put into perspective where your property might sit in their portfolio and on the market.
You will find estate agents both new and experienced out there; some who may be newer might specifically deal in the area you are in or have sold a lot of similar properties, or those who have more experience in the overall county and have a wide portfolio.
When thinking about the right time, remember others will be doing the same. You don’t want to be advertising at a busy time of the year, as competition for the best buyer will be higher.
Your estate agent should understand busier selling periods in the year, and what type of buyers are likely to be looking for your type of property. At whatever point you put your property on the market, remember that your purchase needs to tie into the sale. In any economic situation, the environment should be reflected in both the purchase and sale price.
Before committing with an estate agent, always request that they conduct a valuation of your home. A good estate agent will have knowledge of the local market and should be using comparable data to advise.
There will be factors that influence the price of your property, such as location, size, features, and overall condition. Buyers will be comparing these factors your home has to offer with others in the area.
Ultimately the asking price is your decision, but having the full picture with your agent’s knowledge and understanding of the market can help with attracting buyers.
As well as having a valuation on your property, getting your agents' opinion on your property and its condition can help you best dress your home for marketing purposes. While an agent may tell prospective buyers to look past a seller’s personal taste to envision their ideas, some buyers will still reject properties on appearance.
If you can make minor adjustments, a lick of paint or some DIY, it can make all the difference for potential buyers.
Nowadays most buyers look for homes online, so if you are planning on using a traditional estate agent, ask them where and how they will be marketing your home.
Ensure that your agent is utilising as many marketing methods as possible – in the window, a sale board, on social media, website, and property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla.
When it comes to choosing an estate agent to sell your home, there are lots of routes you can take. From traditional high street, to online-only and hybrid services, it’s difficult to know which option is best for you.
For most sellers, the biggest question is, how much are your fees? Most traditional high street estate agents work on a commission basis, whereas online and hybrid agencies typically offer their services for a fixed upfront fee.
Knowing this information will not only ensure you have money available when fees are due but also know far your budget will get you with your future purchase.
Alongside asking an estate agents’ fees, you should also find out if there are any costs which aren’t included in the initial price.
Marketing costs such as floorplans, sale boards and viewings undertaken by the estate agent are usually included, but it is always worth checking to avoid hidden charges.
Before putting your property on the market, check if your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is still valid – an EPC is a legal requirement, so if it is no longer valid, contact your estate agent about arranging one.
There are several types of contracts an estate agent may use:
Sole agency – The estate agent is the only one allowed to sell your property during the agreed period. You can find a buyer yourself, but it must be someone who found your property outside the marketing the agent has done.
Multi-agency – You can have as many agents as you like with your property, and you pay the commission of the agent who sells it.
Sole selling rights – The estate agent is the only one allowed to sell your property – you can’t find a buyer yourself.
Joint agency – You can ask agents if they will work together to find a buyer. The fee may be split between them if your home sells, or the agents who find the buyer might receive a slightly higher proportion of commission.
Most estate agent contracts also include a tie-in period so that your property is on its books for a certain time.
Discuss the flexibility of the contract with the agent as you may feel you need to terminate it if the agent isn’t doing a good job.
Finally always read through the contract before you sign it and ask the agent anything you don’t understand.
If you are working with a high street estate agent, they will very likely conduct viewings themselves. Online estate agents will expect you to conduct viewings yourself, though some offer hosted viewings now as an optional extra. Using an online agent may mean cheaper commission, but you have the responsibility of trying to secure a sale, and then progressing it.
Most buyers will view a property several times before deciding – having an estate agent conduct viewings will allow buyers to ask questions, and you can agree on days and times to conduct viewings at your convenience, making the process less stressful.
Most agents will list your property for a minimum of 6 months, or until sold. In some cases, agents will work to a no sale, no fee agreement, as many won’t get paid until your property sale completes.
Agents who charge an upfront fee will only list your property for a maximum amount of time, so you may need to pay again if your house isn’t sold when your time is up. Make sure that you’re clear on how long your agent will actively market your home, and what happens after the timeframe.
Established more than 21 years ago, you can be assured that we are the experts when it comes to property.
We are always open and honest about the sales process. Whether this is your first house sale or your 10th we are always happy to go through the full sales process with you.
We also work with all types of landlords and will work with you to ensure that renting out your property is as stress-free as possible.
Our dedicated and qualified lettings and property management teams will use their experience and expertise to deliver a first-class service and support you at every step.
This will ensure that you know exactly what to expect. We are also always at the end of the phone or email should you have any questions or queries.
As a leading local estate agent in Didcot, Lambourn & Hungerford, Marlborough, Devizes, Newbury and the surrounding areas we are best placed to help you sell or let your property. We can even help you in finding your next home.
To find out more about how we can support you through your house sale contact us today.