How to choose the best agent to sell your property
The first step to selling your home is finding the right agent to work with – but choosing an estate agent is easier said than done.
Don’t be bamboozled by a sales pitch – read our guide instead.
If you’ve got friends or neighbours who’ve recently moved locally, ask them about their experience with their agents. They’ll give you their honest, unfiltered opinion – whether that’s a glowing review or a dire warning.
Independent online reviews are another great way to get an idea of a particular agent’s reputation and whether they’ve got a long history of successful sales and happy clients.
To find the best estate agent for you, look for those marketing properties similar to yours in your area.
If their properties are being snapped up and are fetching good prices in line with the market, this suggests they’d be able to do the same for you.
However, always get at least three separate agents to carry out a valuation of your home. Not only will this give you an idea of how much your house is worth, but it’ll also show you what working with each agent will be like and what they’ll charge.
Choosing the best real estate agent to sell your home isn’t the same as the cheapest. Agents charge a percentage fee on the final sale, usually between 1% - 3%. Much depends on the agreed contract terms, for instance:
- Sole vs multi-agency – whether you’re allowing one or more agents the right to market your home for sale. Sole agency fees are the most common choice and come with lower fees.
- No sale, no fee – most high street agents offer this.
- Online vs high street agents – high street agents usually collect their fee on completion. Online agencies like PurpleBricks offer lower fees, but these must be paid upfront.
- Are things like marketing fees (for photography and brochures) included?
Check their valuation
Some agents can over-value properties to incentivise the homeowners to sell with them, but this doesn’t mean your property will go for that price. In fact, inflating the price of your property may lead to it being reduced in price later, which can look unattractive to buyers.
Conversely, some agents may under-value your property to ensure they get a quick sale.
To determine whether an agent is giving you a fair estimate, get several different valuations and back them up with your own research of similar properties in your neighbourhood which have sold in the last six months.
Websites like Zoopla also offer an instant valuation estimate based on properties of a similar spec sold recently in the same postcode. However, be aware this is purely algorithm-based and doesn’t take into account things like extensions, the potential for development or renovated interiors, which will all add to a property’s value.
Call around local agents posing as a buyer of a property like yours. You might feel a bit strange doing this, but going undercover can give you a true picture of how proactive the agents will be at selling your home, as well as testing the temperature of the local market.
Ask how much competition there is for houses like yours – this will tell you whether there’s a large pool of potential buyers waiting for your sale board to go up.
Ask about advertising
A good estate agent should feature your property on Rightmove, Zoopla and other major property websites with an accurate, thorough description which includes all the relevant search terms and keywords.
It’s important that your property is listed on these websites as they get a far bigger reach than the agent’s website alone.
Are they conscientious?
Instead of charming you with promises of a quick and profitable sale, an estate agent should take the time to explain how you can protect yourself and your family both during the sale and in the future.
A good agent will recommend things like critical illness cover and life insurance which ensures your mortgage is paid should you fall seriously ill or pass away, and Home Seller’s Protection Insurance to allow you to reclaim upfront costs should the sale fall through.